EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Managing large-scale restructuring: Barclays

Increasing competition in the financial services sector means that many banks are at risk of closure or are being forced to merge with other financial institutions. One of the leading financial services companies in the world, Barclays has managed to stay competitive in a difficult market, due to the development of the organisation's global strategy and operating model. For Barclays, this strategy involves minimising costs and improving customer services, which has led the company, since 2003, to offshore many of its back-office posts to lower-cost countries, such as India. This case study describes the driving forces to offshore in a corporate and socially responsible way, as well as the implementation of the offshoring agreement in Barclays.

EMCC: Contents

Barclays is a UK-based financial services group with a large international presence in Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. Its areas of expertise are primarily banking, investment banking, and investment management. In terms of market capitalisation, Barclays is one of the largest financial services companies in the world, operating in the financial services sector for over 300 years, in over 60 countries. As of 2005, the company employs about 113,300 permanent workers, including 33,500 employees at its South African group branch, ABSA (Amalgamated Banks of South Africa Limited).

The Barclays Group has been pursuing a strategy aimed at developing its global operating model. Today, some 40% of staff, including those at ABSA, and 40% of company branches are located outside of the United Kingdom.

Already in 2003, the Barclays Group was examining opportunities for outsourcing parts of the business to lower-cost countries, such as India. The group was, in addition to reducing costs, aiming to improve its customer relations and satisfaction through increased flexibility and by offering a 24-hour service, guaranteeing a better quality of service overall.

Case study topics

The Barclays case study sets out the driving forces to offshore in a corporate and socially responsible way, as well as the implementation of the offshoring agreement with the trade union, Amicus, throughout the group. It examines:

  • the company profile and the factors leading to the organisation's decision to downsize in the UK, such as the need to reduce costs and maintain a consistent quality of service;
  • the key elements of a socially responsible offshoring initiative, underlining the trade union's involvement and the successful implementation of a framework agreement at business unit level;
  • details of the agreement negotiations, and the principles and objectives of the agreement reached;
  • actions taken at company and union levels to provide and promote opportunities for successful redeployment of affected employees;
  • the assistance of the company's external partner, RightCoutts;
  • the success factors of the entire process, with the offshoring agreement being considered a blueprint for other companies and unions in the future.

EMCC: Access Information

The case study can be downloaded free of charge as a PDF file by clicking on the link below.

EMCC: Assessment

This case study highlights the achievements of an offshoring process managed in a corporate and socially responsible way. The close cooperation and good partnership relations between Barclays and the union were key factors leading to the successful implementation of the global offshore framework agreement in the group. The case study also illustrates how a company dedicated to maintaining a positive company profile has resulted in best practice strategies being used to benefit the company and especially its employees, providing them with further education and training to enhance their employability.

EMCC: Access URL

Managing large-scale restructuring: Barclays (263 Kb) pdf

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