Lloyd’s New HR Strategy

Case Study 1: New HR Strategy Makes Lloyd’s a “Best Company” After a mere 320 years in business, the iconic global insurer Lloyd’s of London finally set out to establish its first true HR strategy, starting with the hiring of HR Director Suzy Black in 2009. “I was brought in to transform the HR function from one modeled on an old-style personnel office to function that is more cutting edge, business focused, and value adding,” says Black. Black’s first order of business was to evaluate the current state of affairs, particularly how the corporation’s senior managers perceived the HR role. With this information in hand, Black and her team began to develop an overarching strategic agenda as well as specific tactics, addressing everything from recruitment, to performance management, to basic policies, to rewards and compensation. Early on, Black admits, her main priority was simply “getting the basics right’” an objective that was made more challenging by the global reach of the company, which demanded flexibility and variation to meet the needs of all Lloyd’s employees while still benefitting the company. Changing long time employees perception of HR then took a bit of convincing, but employees quickly began to recognize the value of Black’s actions. Through repeated presentations, employees worldwide grew to appreciate Black’s insistence on transparency regarding the nature of the employer-employee relationship. Gradually, they could see how the HR strategies were effectively creating conditions in which they could develop in their careers, be successful, and find meaning and value in their work. Today, Lloyd’s employees list the company’s challenging work environment, healthy incentive programs, and meaningful community outreach programs among the key reasons they enjoy working for the insurance giant. And Black’s efforts are now gaining recognition outside the firm, positioning the company as a desirable place to work. In 2011, Lloyd’s landed on the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For (in the United Kingdom) list and was hailed as one of the United Kingdom’s Top 40 Business Brands by an independent researcher. Black emphasizes that the transformation was a company-wide effort, and Lloyd’s CEO Richard Ward adds, “I believe Lloyd’s to be an inspiring and rewarding place to work and am pleased that our staff agree, I am extremely proud of the achievements of the corporation over the last 12 months and thank all Lloyd’s employees for their continuing dedication, commitment, and professionalism.” Ironically, this leadership position is the first HR position Black has ever held as she rose through the ranks in other arenas in business. But her experience has given her a clear definition of the ideal characteristics of HR professionals of the future. Black says they must be commercial, challenging, and focused on delivery and excellence. “They must understand change and transformation, excel at operations, and balance tactical and strategic thinking and acting.” She adds, “They will have to be able to manage and navigate organizational complexity and ambiguities and not be afraid to say no occasionally in order to establish appropriate boundaries with the business.” • What skills does Black think employees need to work successfully in the area of HR? (4 marks) Hint: Organize the skills according to the Competencies of the HR Manager Business Mastery, HR Mastery, Change Mastery, Personal Credibility• What are some of the outcomes of the company’s new HR strategy? (2 marks) •  What do you think might be some of the challenges of establishing HR policies for a global company? (4 marks) • What types of situations do you think might require an HR manager to say “no”? (2 marks)

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