Article: Our focus is on investing in people and giving them the opportunity to grow: Equiniti’s global CPO

Strategic HR

Our focus is on investing in people and giving them the opportunity to grow: Equiniti’s global CPO

Companies that can override the prevailing lack of trust and provide their people flexibilities and opportunities make true progress, said Andrew Stephenson, Chief People Officer of Equiniti Group.
Our focus is on investing in people and giving them the opportunity to grow: Equiniti’s global CPO

Changes in generational dynamics in the workplace propelled people to see themselves working with an organisation, rather than for it.  This offered people the chance to reevaluate their lifestyles, take control of their destinies, and make an impact with an organisation. Andrew Stephenson, Equiniti's Chief People Officer, describes Equiniti as an organisation that strives to help its people and the organisation improve together.

In an exclusive interaction with us, the chief people officer of the Britain-based outsourcing business focused on financial and administration services said, “When you join an organisation, you should know what you can contribute to it, and what it can contribute to you.”

According to him, companies which are able to override the prevailing lack of trust and provide their people with great opportunities, will work with the best talent in the market and make true progress. He says Equiniti is one such organisation which prides on its values that apply to its 36 million customers and 6,000 employees globally. 

“Trust is one of the first value statements that we operate on as an organisation and hence many high-quality people join us”, said Stephenson.

Indeed, people are increasingly valuing job security and growth, and amidst signs of a slowdown, only companies that can demonstrate strong, stable, secure growth opportunities to exceed, will sustain and succeed.

Building strong people fundamentals

In his view, companies that fail to see people as partners and drivers of their business will struggle. Best-in-class companies demonstrate a worthwhile mission, where employees can contribute and engage with each other.

“If you are really tuned into your workforce and give people a chance to develop, engage and improve, you will not see much of quiet quitting”, stated Andrew. Prioritising people means providing them with the right opportunities to improve themselves and their organisation, feel empowered to control their destiny and be engaged in a mission in which they believe.

Managers at Equiniti have a comparatively small number of people managing a direct business. “Overall, the HR organisation is large but I directly manage 12 people”, said Andrew. Hence, empowering leaders to work with their limited span of people means giving them clear guidance on what is and what is not acceptable while managing people’s performance and engagement.

Equiniti uses modern and clear measurement techniques and empowers people with a degree of freedom. “If people can think of brilliant ways of doing things that management has not thought of, we must allow them and give them the opportunity to succeed”, argued Stephenson. Development is a part of the performance. The sophisticated global performance management system does not just measure operational performance but inculcates personal development review. Managers are required to concentrate on development conversations to show complete improvement in people.

Skilling and employee growth

Learning and development: Traditional face-to-face training and real-world interactions co-exist with online platform-based bite-sized information consumption. Access to thousands of courses and community creation on various topics helps people develop their skills. It gives people the choice to learn by themselves and choose to work towards global organisational levels. A first-line manager can select the job level, and it presents courses that will help self-serve to prepare for the next job, creating a real impact. This includes non-work topics such as physical and mental well-being, financial positioning, etc., thereby providing a complete package to improve as a person. Equiniti’s training plans are tailored to the local market. “The content of our diversity training will look different in the US, UK, and Eastern Europe, but the local HR and L&D teams make sure it is delivered to be contextually correct for the market,” said Stephenson.

Career Growth: Two-way communication will help engage and attract talent. In the past year, Equiniti had a record number of internal promotions globally, with junior people moving up the organisation ladder, creating growth visibility.  

Communication & Connect: Senior management trying to dictate the right ways of working is a no-go. “We do not have a global or country mandate, we have every combination of the ways of working, with some roles having essential office-working, where we need to provide outstanding facilities and flexibility,” shared Stephenson. For remote roles, people sometimes come into the office and collaborate, while world-class technology helps maintain an online connection.·      

Coaching and mentoring focus: The most important person in every employee’s world is the manager, so empowering managers to work with individuals to help them find the best answers is critical. “We empower and engage people to do the right things for the individual and organisation. With 420 people managers next year, we would be investing in our largest ever leadership development programme, continually giving our people cutting-edge skills to help them manage these interactions in a professional manner.” 

To ensure the success of the above interventions, the HR team tracks several metrics such as how people enjoy training, knowledge transfer and impact on behaviours. The performance system and audit mechanism also track how people are living the Equiniti values of trust, collaboration, improvement, and commercials.

Priorities, the way forward

Challenges still exist in becoming a talent magnet. For example, how to predict the skills needed five years from now, in a rapidly evolving fintech space? According to Stephenson, the key lies in recruiting people with the right attitude, focus and intention, and giving them opportunities to succeed. Learning interventions should fit the modern world i.e. quick, short, gamified, and available when people want to learn. Continuously investing in training will help get the best people.  

With an ambition to become the leading shareholder services organisation in the world, Equiniti keeps investing in building proprietary technology and continues to maintain the lead in the market, he said.  To achieve this goal, the firm is continuously investing in people and giving them the opportunity to improve.   

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Topics: Strategic HR, #HybridLeadership

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