Shaping the future of work

WMPeople.co.uk speaks to Natalie McClean from Partners& about Nexus which brings together Chief People Officers to talk about how they can leave a lasting legacy on their sector and shape the future of work in a responsible way. 

 

In late 2023, a new HR think tank for senior HR directors, Nexus, was set up after a dinner brought together 20 Chief People Officers to talk about how they can leave a lasting legacy on their sector and shape the future of work in a responsible way. 

Since then, it has brought out a report based on the insights shared at that dinner. Titled ‘Aligning HR strategies with business responsibility goals’, it builds on conversations around key areas such as employee empowerment for business responsibility contributions and focused on how governance in business responsibility can be seamlessly integrated into HR strategies. The aim is to embed responsible business practices at every level. In so doing, it links the work of bodies such as the Modernising Employment All-Party Parliamentary Group [APPG], whose secretariat will be speaking to the group soon, and the APPG on Environmental, Social, and Governance. 

Natalie McClean is the driving force behind Nexus. She has worked for a number of years in HR across the financial services sector, and has experience of working abroad namely Asia, North America and Europe in manufacturing, commodities and the NGO sector.

In 2020, she returned to the UK to take up the role of Chief People Officer for Partners&, a national risk advisory business whose key objective is to change the focus of the insurance industry away from shareholder return to finding the optimum solutions for its clients.

Since its launch in 2020, Partners& has been recognised across the insurance sector winning a number of national awards, including Best Diversity & Inclusion Programme at the UK Broker Awards in 2021 and UK Broker of the Year at the British Insurance Awards in 2023.

The company’s strategy for the next two years will have a significant people agenda which will focus on sustainability and social mobility with the aim of building a sustainable talent pipeline and creating career opportunities for individuals wanting to return or enter the workplace.

Social mobility

At the first meeting of Nexus, members found that many other employers were struggling with the same business responsibility and sustainability issues, with social mobility front and centre.

According to Natalie: “Our HR community is impact-focused. We share experiences and learn from one another. Our discussions will be used as a reference point to shape the human capital strategy of organisations across the UK and beyond, influence policy, and provide independent thought-leadership on the emerging issues, risks and challenges we face as Human Resources leaders.”

Partners& already bases its recruitment strategy on potential, bearing in mind that a lot of insurance is about the soft skills involved in communicating with clients sensitively and clearly, and that insurance also has lots of other roles, such as marketing and communications. Partners& is keen to target returning carers and parents in particular and extend their apprenticeship programme for all ages and experiences. Natalie explains: “It is important that we give people the confidence to come back to the workplace.” Partners& won a national training award in 2023 for its Academy which runs accredited programmes for both leaders, client services and central functions.

Natalie says that initially Nexus membership has been kept relatively small, but they have big ambitions with a view to launching their first Chief People Officer summit towards the end of 2024.

*Look out for more reports on Nexus’ work over the coming months.


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