S4 EP25: Holistic well-being, compassionate leadership and finding your passion – with Stacey Hoin, Chief Human Resources Officer, Guardian

“We are very proud of our legacy and where we’ve come from. We’re also really excited to evolve into a more contemporary, consumer focused, compassionate, purpose driven company”, says Stacey as she highlights Guardian’s aim to support consumers through a framework of mind, body and wallet.

“Inspiring well-being enables us to think differently about the kinds of products and services we provide. During the pandemic it became really clear that mental health was a huge challenge across not just the United States but across the world. Opening up our purpose to inspire wellbeing allows us to think about all the other ways that we can help consumers.”

Stacey tells of her journey from Lawyer at GE, specializing in M&A activity, moving in to labor & employment law, through to taking her first HR role and balancing motherhood.   

“The switch to labor and employment was a big turning point in terms of my career. It gave me a lens into all things talent, people and culture, what issues were being presented and how to solve those issues. I was asked to move into an HR job and I said ‘no’ a couple of times and then I was offered a pretty compelling HR role. I made the switch and I’ve never looked back.”  

Stacey discusses her talent management role for the entire colleague experience lifecycle, overseeing 8,000 colleagues in the US and 2000 in India at the 160-year old Mutual insurance business.

“Beyond talent, it’s also culture. It’s making sure we have an inclusive and consumer centric culture, and we are doing the things that enable our colleagues to live their best lives and fulfil the purpose of the organisation.”

Stacey emphasizes how Guardian are empowering compassionate leaders, the organization’s hybrid workforce strategy and her dislike of the phrase ‘work-life balance’.

“We’ve spent some time really figuring out what makes you successful as a leader at Guardian. One of the success factors is to be able to connect both internally and externally with empathy and compassion. There’s been a lot of talk in the past few years about the importance of empathy as a leadership trait. But empathy by itself, without compassion is not as impactful. Compassion is really about listening and then doing something about it.”

“Work is part of life, like family is part of life, like friends are part of life. Your spirituality, your community, it’s all part of life. For a compassionate leader, it’s understanding that we all live and work in this ecosystem that has a lot of different components to it.”

She shares her advice for leaders coming for interview, encouraging people to tell stories and demonstrate impact.

To attract the best talent, Stacey encourages her HR peers to embrace interviewing diversity

“Make sure the people doing the interviewing bring diversity of experience, thought, gender and race. A panel that brings the same thinking isn’t going to bring in the very best talent.

I would also say, focus on skills versus experiences. The ability for someone to learn influencing skills, for example, can happen in a multitude of different environments and industries. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have to have come from an insurance company.”

As for the one lesson her job has taught her, she thinks everyone should know.

“Find your passion and be open to your passion being in some place that’s unexpected. That can be in the work you do. It could be in the purpose you deliver, the colleagues you surround yourself with. You have to think about it in a multitude of different ways.”

Connect with Stacey Hoin on LinkedIn or find out more about career opportunities at Guardian

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 insurance business or being a podcast guest, contact Nick via nick.hoadley@insurance-search.com

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