|Why Mutual Works >||Culture >||Equality >||Volunteering >||Wellbeing >|
Economically speaking, building societies are an important part of the UK’s financial landscape. For us, that landscape is as much geographic as it is economic.
Ipswich Building Society operates primarily in Suffolk and East Anglia, and the majority of our members live here.
We have strong connections to the area based partly on membership, but also on the location of our branches, our support for communities, and being a local employer.
For most employees, those connections influence their decision to work for the Society. It’s a lot easier to feel part of something when it is all within your reach, than if it has 250 offices in 60 countries. It’s rather more personal.
WHY MUTUAL WORKS
People like businesses that act in the interests of the many, rather than the few.
As a mutual organisation, Ipswich Building Society is owned by, and run for, the benefit of its members – customers and owners are one and the same thing. Our members, our employees, and the communities we serve are actively and directly involved in the business – unlike being owned and controlled by outside investors seeking only a profit for themselves.
People choose mutual building societies because many find them more personal, approachable and more trustworthy than banks. The combination of personal service, community presence and action, and the mutual model of the business, contribute to creating our reputation for value and responsibility.
Our employees choose to work here because our ownership model implies that we have different motives to privately-owned or shareholder-owned businesses and we act differently too. Employee involvement and participation in the running of the Society is an important component of how we operate, and it is a key reason people choose to work here.
CULTURE IS THE COMPANY WE KEEP
Although we have a formal business model, we are a values-driven business.
We have to make a margin on our business to ensure the business is sustainable, but our objectives are primarily social - to help people to buy a home and save for the future.
The ethos of the Society is relatively simple - we firmly believe that stronger communities are built on individual financial security, and that businesses have a responsibility to the communities they serve: customers, employees, society.
It is our vision to be the UK's most socially responsible building society.
That ethos is underpinned by a set of corporate values which guide our decision-making, and inform the attitudes and behaviours that make up our corporate culture.
Diversity and inclusion
We encourage diversity in our workforce, and we have a zero tolerance policy on discrimination.
We are committed to developing a diverse workforce, and fostering an environment that celebrates different backgrounds and offers equal opportunities for everyone.
We value the differences in our workforce and in society. In our organisation that means having the freedom to contribute to our success in a variety of ways, and to your full potential.
A culture of respect and appreciation underpins our policy, making it possible for everyone to progress and to contribute fully to our goals.
There are many illustrations of our policies in action, including our support for staff welfare and a healthy workplace, our action on homelessness, and our volunteering days to enable staff to extend our help to those who need it most.
Everyone at Ipswich Building Society is encouraged to give some time to voluntary projects. We offer half a day per month paid time to every staff member, specifically to support more or less any cause you wish.
In the last year we donated 616 hours supporting Girl Guiding UK, Ipswich Building Preservation Trust, Suffolk Family Carers, Diabetes UK, East Anglia’s Childrens Hospices, Emmaus Ipswich, and the New Wolsey Theatre among many others.
Not strictly voluntary, but as part of our campaign to raise awareness and understanding of financial products, we support a schools programme of financial education classes.
Roughly 20 employees spend some of their time going to schools to run the classes, helping children of all ages get to grips with a crucial life skill. In the last year we delivered 231 hours of financial education in schools.
Most of us spend a large part of our lives working, in many cases in offices, sat at desks, under pressure. It’s not what humans have evolved to do best, but it is what we have become.
We believe that the workplace should be a healthier environment for all. We invest in our offices and branch design to improve the welfare of our employees, and we also encourage healthier lives through being more active and living better.
We support classes in yoga, fitness, and relaxation. We encourage employees to take on physical challenges of all kinds. Many employees choose to get fitter while raising money for causes close to their hearts.