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HR needs to put customer at heart of everything it does says RSA Insurance group HR director

RSA Group, the UK’s second largest general insurer and owner of the More Than brand, is embedding a ‘Think Customer’ strategy throughout its global business following a successful test in its Scandinavian operation.

The strategy is part of a move to collaborate and share ideas across the different regional operations of the FTSE 100 company, which operates in 34 countries and has net written premiums of £8.14 billion.

“It’s about putting the customer at the heart of what we do, something that has not been the ethos of insurers for a while,” group HR director Vanessa Evans told HR magazine.

“Everything we do in business has to have a customer connection. So you have to work out how everything you do is going to improve the service or improve the customer’s experience from product perspective - and you don’t do it unless it improves what the customer gets.”

The Think Customer strategy has been successful in the firm’s Scandinavian arm under its CEO Mike Holliday- Williams. RSA is the third largest insurer in Denmark and Sweden.

Evans said employees working at the frontline, for example in call centres, have bought into the strategy as the focus has always been around the customer. “They recognise the barriers we sometimes put in play, so there’s lots of work going on around how do we give frontline people opportunity to tell us what we could do better,” she said.

To enable this the company has launched a programme in the UK whereby senior leaders link to six frontline employees every month to get their feedback. The challenge was to get the strategy to play into back office functions, she added.

RSA employs 23,000 staff worldwide and was the top-rated insurer in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For ranking this year. In September Shell chief human resources officer Hugh Mitchell, a non executive director of the company, was appointed chairman of its remuneration committee.

The full interview with RSA group HR director Vanessa Evans is published in November’s issue of HR magazine