S4 EP11: Talent magnets, building connection & recruitment responsibility – with Nikki Gonzalez, Chief Talent Officer, Vantage Risk

“We’ve hired people who have had strong reputations, what I call talent magnets”, says Nikki.

“Great people want to work with great people.”

Nikki shares her career trajectory – from an internship with a manufacturing company through established brands including GE, The Hartford and Axa XL to Chief Talent Officer – and what she’s learned along the way along with the role she’s played in building Vantage Risk’s headcount from 5 to almost 300 since October 2020.

“We’ve been really thoughtful around what’s the right talent that makes sense for what we’re trying to do. We’ve looked for people who really have fire in the belly, in terms of they want to build something, they want to get their hands dirty.”

Nikki discusses launching the business in the throes of the pandemic, where the business is today and the vision for the future, as well as managing the people function.

With colleagues spread across 32 states and Bermuda, Nikki highlights the importance of building connection and bringing colleagues together, both face-to-face through collaboration spaces and online via ‘all hands’ video calls and leadership round tables.

“We’re starting to put these pockets where people can come together on a regular basis to collaborate, but we’ve not done any kind of mandate around that. And so there’s a benefit to that from a talent strategy perspective.”

Nikki discusses the impact of remote-first on talent attraction. 

“We think about it all the time in terms of, do we have the right balance? We’ve certainly had folks who’ve said ‘I’d like an opportunity to be in an office’, but I’ve not had anyone say I’d like to be in an office five days a week.  I don’t believe we’ve lost any talent as a result of that.”

Advising senior executives coming for interview, Nikki says it’s important to know what you need to be successful in a role.

“Know what you’re good, what support systems you need, where you might need some additional help what’s important to you in terms of the culture and the environment that you want to be in.”

As one recommendation for hiring exceptional talent, Nikki concludes, “I think everyone is a recruiter. Every leader who’s here has to be thinking about not only how are they growing their business, but how they are building their team. We provide a lot of support and assistance in doing that.”

Connect with Nikki Gonzalez on LinkedIn or find out more about Vantage Risk Companies

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO, Insurance Search, the Executive Search Consultancy for growing Insurance and Insurtech businesses around the globe.

To discuss identifying & attracting the very best talent to your team or being a podcast guest, reach out to Nick via nick.hoadley@insurance-search.com

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