|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.
We operate primarily in the East of England, 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 their customers rather than shareholders
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 a strong, growing, fiercely independent 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.
Whether a member has savings or a mortgage with us, large or small, they each receive the same care and attention, the same open and honest service, and a vote.
We’re owned by our members, who form a community. We act in the interests of our membership and community by being accountable, transparent and honest.
Having a strong local presence is important to us. We’re actively engaged through volunteering, events, fundraising and financial education, helping to create growing and vibrant communities.
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, financial education activities in local schools, colleges and prisions 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 to be able to go out and volunteer for a cause close to their heart.
Last year we donated more than 1,000 hours supporting both regional and national initiatives.
As part of our campaign to raise awareness and understanding of financial products, we support local schools, colleges and prisions by offering free financial education sessions through our bespoke Money Metrics and Money Management programmes. Our staff also regularly take part in careers fairs and mock interview sesisons at local schools. In the last year we delivered financial education to more than 4,500 students in schools across Suffolk and Essex.
Most of us spend a large part of our lives working, in many cases in offices and sat at desks. 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.