Interview: Derek Nazareth, Head of Global Operations and Country Head for India, XL Catlin

"The agile workplace fosters employee engagement while building a corporate culture that supports efficiency and innovation. Although millennials are keen to have the freedom to work where they choose, they are also keen to connect and collaborate with other colleagues face to face. Spaces which encourage these dynamic kinds of working methods are a worthwhile asset in providing colleagues the environment they will work best in." Derek Nazareth, Head of Global Operations and Country Head for India, XL Catlin.

Recently XL Catlin opened a new Shared Services office in Gurgaon that provides some of the excellent facilities to its employees. XL Catlin's shared services division in India already has around 1,400 people working that provides vital underwriting support, claims administration, actuarial services, finance and accounting, risks modelling, data analytics, risk management, and technical and administrative support, among other services for XL Catlin’s teams across the world.

In an exclusive email interaction with WorldHRDiary.com; Derek Nazareth, Head of Global Operations and Country Head for India, XL Catlin shares more insights about company's HR initiatives to foster employee-friendly environment.

Excerpts: 

Derek Nazareth,
Head of Global Operations and
Country Head for India, XL Catlin
WHRD: How does an agile working model ensure work-life integration for millennial employees?

Derek Nazareth: Today’s employees expect to have a healthy work-life integration. An agile working model gives employees flexibility and mobility while also ensuring sufficient levels of data privacy. This fosters an employee-friendly environment in which employees can work comfortably where they choose.

Agility is the best way to address the needs of this generation while transforming the workplace culture.

WHRD: What are the steps that XL Catlin has taken towards creating Agile Infrastructure and Operations?

Derek Nazareth: We have introduced the concept of workplace agility, which is a more flexible style of working, enabling colleagues to work comfortably with their choice of environment. We are providing our colleagues with a choice of individual work desks, all height adjustable so we can sit or stand, as well as collaborative areas. The design of our new office in Gurgaon, which is for the company’s Shared Services operations, ensures privacy for employees while working or collaborating.

As well as the work zones, our Gurgaon office also has well-equipped cafeteria and a recreation zone; amenities such as a reception area equipped with a bank of small meeting rooms, telephone booths, beverage counters and tuck shops. The design ensures easy access to all amenities and the contemporary environment reflects XL Catlin standards.

WHRD: What does an agile workplace look like?      
     
Derek Nazareth: An agile workplace offers colleagues a variety of formal and informal workspaces, which are designed for efficiency, productivity and collaboration. These comfortable and visually stimulating spaces are more conducive to creative thinking- and are sought after by colleagues.

An agile workplace is made up of flexible shared spaces with colorful and vibrant furniture, collaborative work spaces and recreation areas, which make the office more comfortable, productive and employee-friendly. We want our workspaces to be a place employees want to be in, rather than simply need to be in.

WHRD: What are the benefits of agile workplace with respect to achieving business goals while creating employee-friendly and flexible environment?

Derek Nazareth: The agile workplace fosters employee engagement while building a corporate culture that supports efficiency and innovation. Although millennials are keen to have the freedom to work where they choose, they are also keen to connect and collaborate with other colleagues face to face. Spaces which encourage these dynamic kinds of working methods are a worthwhile asset in providing colleagues the environment they will work best in. 

An agile workplace also embraces technology to assist colleagues. Having the right technology infrastructure that can enable companies to reap the benefits of smart ways of working can give a real competitive advantage. With a highly focused approach on building a corporate culture that facilitates an agile working environment, organizations can create a win-win situation for all.



WHRD: How do agile workplaces empower HR leaders to ensure effective Talent Acquisition, Management & Retention?

Derek Nazareth: Talent is the real asset for any company, and so its effective acquisition, management and retention are crucial for HR leaders. A strategic human resource management approach is key to attract and retain the top talent, which is fundamental for HR to deliver business value and accelerate growth. It is vital for companies to adapt to evolving trends in technology to optimize decisions and work processes with advanced digital infrastructure.

Agile work practices empower HR leaders to onboard colleagues more smoothly. Family-friendly policies, such as paid maternity and paternity leave, helps to attract and retain talent while boosting employee morale. Our talent management strategy is hugely important and spans all levels of the organization. Senior management buy into the strategy and this empowers our HR colleagues to deliver and this is how we retain our HR talent.

WHRD: What unique facilities does your organization offer to employees?

Derek Nazareth: As well as the employee amenities I mentioned earlier, our new office in Gurgaon was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, incorporating solar panels and energy efficient LED lighting to reduce environmental impact. The design ensures ease of access to all amenities and the environment is modern and contemporary. We aim to foster productive, effective and efficient operations– with good collaborative working across all teams, a great working atmosphere and a high level of job satisfaction. Our family-friendly working policies and workplace agility offer colleagues a variety of formal and informal workspaces to accomplish their goals.

As a company we need to be future-focused not just in the way we provide our insurance and reinsurance solutions to our clients but also in the way we adapt our workspaces and working practices.

Although we have focused on millennial here, studies have shown the next generation of workers, (dubbed ‘generation Z’) have an entirely different set of behavioural traits.  Keeping aware of how our workforce is changing is critical if we’re going to continue to attract and retain the best talent. 

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