Our staff consistently say they would recommend working here to family and friends and, despite the phenomenon of the ‘Great Resignation’ following the pandemic, our turnover has remained low to date.

We have a strong culture and are proud that we’re attracting people who are motivated to make an impact in the world. 98 per cent of our people feel we make a positive difference and 88 per cent say they and their teams regularly discuss how to improve our service and performance.

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Hybrid working

As we reach the end the three-year strategic plan period, we find ourselves working in radically different ways than we did at the start. We’ve always promoted flexible working, but in 2019 this meant encouraging managers to allow people to work from home one day a week. Three years on, almost everyone can work from home for up to 60 per cent of their time.

Like most organisations, we’re not going back to the way we worked before, but we know that the new hybrid working model may take some time to get right. There are still huge benefits to teams working in the same physical space and our view is that everyone must adapt hybrid working to suit the nature of their work and their team. We intend to put in place a formal review of this, on a biannual or quarterly basis, to understand how it’s working in practice for the organisation.

Accountability for Senior Managers

Publishing and implementing our version of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime is an important part of this. This is the system that regulated financial organisations use to define their managerial responsibilities and hold people accountable. We first published it in 2019 and it’s now become an integral part of our organisation and how we conduct ourselves. It has helped shine a light on exactly who and what senior managers are accountable for, so it’s easy to find that information and work effectively on processes across the organisation.

Following an external audit of our approach, we’re pleased to have received a very positive report on our progress. The auditors were satisfied with how we’re implementing the regime, in a way that’s reasonable for us as an unregulated organisation, and how our senior managers are overseeing their responsibilities
appropriately.

We also rolled out a comprehensive training programme on the conduct rules that were specific to different parts of the business. Each directorate was responsible for organising and tailoring in-person training most relevant to their areas of responsibility.

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Industry-leading diversity

We’re actively building a diverse and inclusive workplace, where everyone can feel able to be themselves and are valued for their differences.

“The PPF should be proud of what it has achieved in the D&I space. It is clear that the ambitions are not just words on a page but feed through to the decision making in the organisation.”

Over the past three years of the strategic plan period, we’ve done a lot of work to make our structural processes more inclusive. Rather than assume our recruitment processes aren’t disadvantageous to anyone, we’ve thoroughly reviewed them to check for and prevent any unconscious or inadvertent barriers and bias.

We’ve continued to nurture, develop and promote internal talent, investing in future leaders, specialist training and flexible working in order for all groups, regardless of background, to be fully represented at all levels of our organisation.

We’re confident that we’re doing all we can to support and increase diversity, but we’re aware that this work takes time to come to fruition, particularly as we have low levels of turnover. That this change isn’t coming fast enough is reflected in our staff survey, where only 68 per cent of our employees report that they can see
the difference we’re starting to make in diversity and inclusion.
However, more positively, 79 per cent of employees agree with the statement that, ‘the culture at the PPF allows people like me to be myself’ and 86 per cent agree that we actively encourage diversity in all its aspects, with strong agreement in certain underrepresented groups.

Increasing female representation

We’ve made good progress in increasing female representation at senior levels and we’re proud to have an equal number of men and women at the Executive Committee and Board level. We also achieved the Women in Finance Charter target we set in 2018, with over 40 per cent of women in senior positions by December 2021. As a result, we’ve set a new goal to hit 45 per cent by 2023, with the ultimate goal of
gender parity.
As outlined in our D&I Strategy, we’re nurturing our future female leaders through mentoring, coaching and internal development programmes. We continue to hire more women at junior levels to build our talent pipeline for the future.

Whizz-Kidz

In 2021 we partnered with Whizz-Kidz, a charity for young wheelchair users. We were asked to help young people with career support and coaching.

Members of our HR team took part in Whizz-Kidz’s employability skills course, supporting school leavers with CV writing and application forms.

Our Chief Technology Officer, Simon Liste, mentored a young man who wants to start his career in technology:

“We met virtually every three weeks to discuss IT challenges and opportunities, and I provided him with guidance and support. I’m hoping to see his transition from high school to college, doing something technology based and then working for an employer that will appreciate and nurture his capabilities. Being part of his journey has been a huge privilege and extremely fulfilling.”

I think the PPF is doing everything it can to promote D&I. Ultimately, staff need to adopt and embrace the cultural change and this is not fully within PPF control and may take time to embed.

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Increasing ethnicity representation

Our ambition is to increase ethnic minority representation at all levels of the organisation. As we shared in our Diversity Pay Gap report, we also have specific targets to increase the number of black people who we hire as new joiners and in senior roles, to reflect the ethnic diversity of Croydon where we’re based.

While we’ve increased ethnic minority representation at Board and Executive Committee level, our overall low staff turnover hasn’t allowed us to drive change as fast as we would like. To address this, we continue to run apprenticeship programmes, build our talent pipeline and nurture, develop and promote people internally.

Transparency around pay gaps

An important part of our commitment to diversity is monitoring and being transparent about our pay gap, to help make sure that colleagues are paid and rewarded fairly.

This year we published our Diversity Pay Gap report, reporting on our gender pay gap for the fifth year in a row and, for the second year running, we’ve gone beyond statutory requirements to report our ethnicity pay gap too. We’ve also begun gathering data so that in next year’s report we can also start reporting on disability.

Our apprenticeship programmes

Our first apprentice joined us in September 2018. Since then we’ve had 16 people complete an apprenticeship and gain professional qualifications. Initially, we launched our apprenticeship programme to support the Government’s initiative to get more apprenticeships in business, but for us, it’s also about harnessing and developing skills for the future, as well as attracting people to a career that they may not have previously considered.

We have seven active apprenticeship programmes ranging from level 2 to the highest level 7, in roles including pensions administration, customer service, procurement, project management, compliance, cyber security and HR.

Recruiting good pensions administrators can be challenging, so in 2019 we worked with Croydon College to create one of the UK’s first open apprenticeship programmes in pensions administration. So far we’ve supported six people through this apprenticeship over the last three years.

This year’s cohort is comprised three people from the PPF and apprentices from other companies, so we’re really pleased to see that the scheme has gone on to benefit the wider pensions industry as well as supporting careers in the local area.

We are very proud of our apprenticeship programmes and our apprentices. In 2019 we were awarded the Best Apprenticeship Employers

Making a difference in our community

Our Corporate Social Responsibility programme continued to run successfully in 2021/22, despite further Covid-19 restrictions, supporting The Alzheimer’s Society and our local community. We surpassed our fundraising target, with £1,600 going to support people living with dementia and their families Through our internal communications we’ve given our people the opportunity to learn more about our chosen
charity and the work it does.

Our Dementia Friends sessions have been popular and are now offered to all employees, not just member facing staff. These sessions give an insight into the small things each of us can do to help a person living with dementia or caring for someone.

Our employees undertook 466 hours of volunteering in the community, using their volunteering leave in a wide range of ways including telephone befriending, helping at vaccination centres, employability workshops and gardening. We’ve also provided IT equipment to local schools and community groups, and ran a Christmas grotto for children in Croydon.

Awards and recognition 2021/22

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Strategic priority

Clear value for money

Clear value for money