Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CHRO Community

Jennifer Tippin

Group Chief People & Transformation Officer

NatWest Group

Jennifer Tippin is the Chief People & Transformation Officer at NatWest Group, where she is responsible for their people, properties, and third parties. She is also an Executive Sponsor for their Wellbeing agenda, and co-sponsor for their LGBT+ agenda. Externally to NatWest, she sits on various Boards including HMRC, Morgan Sindall - FTSE 250 construction, housing and regeneration business, City University and Financial Services Skills Commission.

Learn more about the UK & Ireland CHRO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I certainly didn’t anticipate working in banking. I graduated in Modern Languages and joined a graduate programme with British Airways straight from university. My career has been characterised by change and variety – I’ve worked in the airline business, engineering (so I know my way around tech), and banking. 

In banking, I’ve probably had 10 or so different careers – from operations to customer service to coverage and proposition roles, to strategy roles, to running various functions and large scale transformation. Most recently before NatWest Group, I worked at Lloyds Banking Group where I was Group Director of People & Productivity – responsible for HR, costs, property, procurement, and supply chain management. During my time at Lloyd’s, I transformed the Bank’s approach to performance management and invested heavily in colleague training and skills.

I joined NatWest Group in 2020, as Group Chief Transformation Officer, before taking on the additional responsibility for People in 2021. We’re a team of circa 2,000 colleagues, and with responsibility for our people, properties and third parties, we drive purposeful growth.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Transparency – I’m always open and honest with my direct team, and the broader People & Transformation function. I make sure colleagues understand how and why decisions are made, I share personal reflections, and I’ll always ask questions to gain more understanding if I’m not sure about how to approach a situation. I think it’s extremely important for leaders to be as open as possible, as this will encourage colleagues to do the same, creating a culture where everyone can challenge and be challenged.

Human first – working at a fast pace and in some high pressure situations can of course be stressful. Throughout my career, I’ve seen a tendency for leaders to place a lot of focus on the task and outcome and lack the personal connections with their teams. A key principle for me is to always get to know those around me, meaning we can work together more effectively as we know one another’s strengths and where we might need more support. As a leader, showing that it’s okay to be yourself in the workplace is crucial for creating a diverse and inclusive culture.

With disruption being a key theme of the past few years, where do you see your role as a CHRO going in the next 1-2 years?

Recently at NatWest, we’ve prioritised simplification and digitisation, placing emphasis on reducing duplication and creating smooth, digital first customer journeys. I think my role will continue to evolve with this trend, placing more focus on the digital skills for the future and ensuring that NatWest Group is set up effectively to deliver seamless customer and colleague experiences. We’ll continue to focus on personalised colleague experiences, that are led by data and innovation, and I expect my role will evolve with this priority.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CHRO?

I would definitely emphasise the importance of creating a strong network - having people around you who you can rely on allows you to challenge yourself, whilst also being surrounded by experts who can help to advise and guide you when needed. Building up meaningful relationships means you will always have someone around to act as a sounding board, and it’s extremely rewarding being able to repay the favour!

I’d also say don’t be afraid to take reasoned risks, which will either succeed or leave you with a fantastic learning opportunity. This links to having strong networks - if you’re surrounded by people you trust, you’ll feel confident in making the more difficult decisions.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I speak 6 languages. 
  2. I love playing chess. 
  3. I have 3 children and a dog.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community?

Building on my advice around building networks, Evanta is a fantastic way to gain connections with fellow HR leaders externally – it’s been a fantastic opportunity to learn from inspirational leaders and challenge myself, too.

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