In Part 1 of our review of the FSCB’s 2020 data set on culture in a crisis, we looked at how perceptions of culture vary between employees in different workplace arrangements. Here we consider how perceptions of how organisations responded to the covid crisis varied between demographic groups.
How did employee perceptions of the way in which organisations responded to the covid crisis vary between different demographic groups?
A large majority of respondents were positive
Overall, respondents to the 2020 Survey were positive about their firms’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic. 91% agreed that their organisations had treated employees fairly; 90% agreed that their senior leaders had managed the impact of coronavirus crisis on their business well; 91% agreed that their line managers had supported them throughout the crisis; 92% felt proud of how their organisation had helped customers, clients or members throughout the crisis; and 87% agreed that their health and wellbeing had been appropriately supported during the crisis.
Disabled employees tended to be more negative and senior employees more positive
Controlling for other factors, our regression analysis showed that disabled respondents were considerably more negative than non-disabled respondents, about all elements of their organisations’ crisis response (line management support, health and wellbeing support, management of their senior leadership and fairness in the treatment of employees). A more detailed analysis of disabled respondents’ perceptions on culture across all of the 2020 Survey questions will be published in the near future.
We use three demographic factors as indicators of seniority: length of tenure in the firm; line-managerial status and whether a respondent is part of the Senior Manager’s Regime. Controlling for other factors, the scores of more senior colleagues were considerably more positive across all elements of their organisations’ crisis response.
Women perceived pandemic responses more positively than men but there were no consistent effects of ethnicity on perceptions
After controlling for other factors, women were more positive than men in their perceptions of how senior leaders had managed the impact of the crisis on their business and how customers had been helped during the crisis. On other questions about pandemic responses the perceptions of men and women did not differ in very large ways.
There were some small differences whereby the perceptions of White British people were more favourable than those of people from some other ethnic groups but the patterns were not consistent either across specific questions or across specific ethnic groups. For example, Arab, Asian and Black employees all felt less positive that their line manager had supported them during the crisis than White British respondents. However, while Asian employees were less positive than White British colleagues in believing that their organisation had treated employees fairly during the crisis (a question where Arab employees were even more negative in their views), Black employees had similar perceptions to White British employees on this question, controlling for other factors.
Investment Banking employees were less positive than those in all other business areas
A clearer picture emerges for Investment Banking employees, whose responses were considerably more negative than those of Retail, Commercial Banking and Functions employees. Scores across these latter three business areas showed no significant differences on any of the questions relating to their organisation’s response to the crisis.
This analysis of some of our 2021 Survey responses by demographic characteristic – findings that are broadly consistent with those of previous Surveys – underlines the importance of firms considering how they engage with and listen to all of their workforce, in order to understand and address the differences in perception and experience between different parts of it. Gender, and more recently ethnicity, have been particular areas of focus. Disability, on this evidence, would also merit concentrated attention, especially in the context of new workplace models such as hybrid working.
If you’d like to contact us and get involved in our Future of Workplaces project or our work relating to the experiences of disabled people in financial services, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.