Hello PPMA members and friends

This week our guest blogger is Susan Martin who is CEO of the London Pensions Fund Authority and also our Policy Lead for Pensions. Susan talks about the importance of developing, managing and retaining talent and shares how she goes about this at the LPFA.

‘It’s about this time of year that my weekends are taken over by events at Twickenham. With a husband and son who would both mark rugby down as a religion if the national census allowed it, our house is dedicated to one subject come early-Spring, late-Autumn and every four years. But what rugby can teach us is that strong individuals working together make a solid and successful team.

As a CEO I understand this and as HR professionals, so do you.  It also takes a makeup of very different people with different needs and desires to make this team.

When I sat down to write this blog I started to think what I wanted to write about. At the LPFA we are currently talking a lot about direct investing, which I wasn’t sure this audience would be that interested in. However, in order to improve our ability to invest directly – we need to build capability and bring in new talent.

It’s an area I feel is not only important for the business itself but one I feel immense satisfaction being involved with. So, what are my touch points as a Chief Executive?

Developing, managing and retaining talent to me is probably the single most important thing for our long term goals.

People need to feel they are part of the grand plan and that their expertise and skill is necessary to help us deliver. As soon as a new starter walks in the door, I want to meet them, and I’d encourage you to advise your CEOs and senior managers to the do same. Being welcomed by senior people within the organisation helps people to feel part of the business quickly and will help them to feel valued for their contribution.  This is the shop front to an organisation.

Challenge people. At the LPFA we are very keen for our staff to interact with other teams and understand other parts of the business; keep people learning on the job through cross functional team working and project liaison. I encourage challenge from my staff as this helps me to think differently about messages I want to give whilst also empowering people to feel that their contribution really matters.

I am constantly encouraging people to step outside their comfort zone and take up a secondment opportunity which may help them to either develop new skills or stretch existing ones. Whilst I know that provides challenges sometimes for the HR team, particularly in terms of keeping track on who is seconded where, for me it’s about a personal mantra – Stand up and Stand out.

Developing people, in turn, helps my organisation to grow. Both I and my HR team believe that everyone needs a personal development plan. By that I don’t just mean internally, but externally too. Be it professional memberships, studying or attending career seminars, people’s career skills can be constantly improved and will evolve as they progress

I’m under no illusion that the stigma of pensions doesn’t bring with it the wheeling and dealing visions that people may have when imagining investment banking. But when I speak with my staff I’m pretty sure that feeling appreciated and satisfied in their jobs trumps most things.’

We’d love to hear your views on this and you can leave a comment by clicking on the comments box below the headline at the top of this post.

Susan Martin

CEO of the London Pensions Fund Authority and PPMA Policy Lead for Pensions