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Yorkshire Building Society

A culture-first company

Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) has been providing mortgages and savings for over 150 years. With over 3 million customers, YBS is an organisation that has found success by focusing on their culture and the employee experience. In 2017 YBS was ranked the 28th best large UK business by Great Place to Work.


“If you invest in your employees, they will invest in your customers. I think by trying to improve the customer experience, you've really got to try and get it right with the colleagues because the colleagues are the ones that are ultimately going to deliver that experience.” – LLOYD LATIBEAUDIERE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE CONSULTANT AT YBS


The problem

Although recognising great work was always a part of the culture at YBS, they found that their previous program wasn’t stretching across all supporting functions. The program only focused on recognising customer-facing colleagues and didn’t recognise internal colleagues, such as HR, finance, and all the other important supporting roles.

The solution

This problem caused Michelle Elsworth, the Recognition Lead at YBS, to look into possible solutions that would make everyone throughout the organisation feel valued and appreciated. That’s when she decided to implement a program that celebrated the great work of each employee by celebrating their career anniversary.

By teaming up with O.C. Tanner they changed their program from celebrating an employee’s 25th year anniversary with the company to celebrating employees starting on their third career anniversary. The program continues to celebrate an employee every 5, 10, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years by giving them a personalised Yearbook.


“We wanted something that was personal to each individual. Something that would make them feel valued. The Yearbooks that O.C. Tanner provided were just absolutely the right thing for us.”



The introduction of the Yearbook, which includes personalised congratulations, photos, and messages from leaders and peers, is a key addition to the new culture of appreciation and has been embraced across the organisation. The Yearbook software from O.C. Tanner has made it simple and easy for YBS to celebrate each service anniversary with year-specific messaging, notes, and photos. Within in the first six months, a phenomenal 3,700 comments and 1,100 photos were added to over 600 yearbooks.

Along with a personalised Yearbook, YBS also implemented a personalised pin that sports the Society’s logo and the amount of time each employee has been with YBS.


“People wear the pins proudly. Especially in the branches. When a customer sees how long someone has been with the Society it builds instant trust. The branch colleagues really love them.” – MICHELLE ELSWORTH


Overall, by implementing a genuine way to not only recognise everyone at YBS for their great work, but for just being them, YBS created a culture of inclusiveness, trust, and overall appreciation.


“It really does make you proud to see what happens day to day and have the opportunity to share that in the Yearbooks. It truly is a rich part of the culture. As for a return on investment, it's priceless. It doesn't cost a huge amount to do something like this and the benefits you see day to day, and how people respond to the feedback they get, the thanks they get, it's just fantastic.”


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