NatWest Group are the first Financial Services organisation to become a CIPD People Development Partner (PDP). Learn how our partnership has worked as a collaborative and invaluable force for change within their HR Teams.

Achieving this status is fantastic recognition for us as an organisation, and I’m particularly proud that we are the first Financial Services organisation to do so. Putting our colleagues and culture at the very heart of our strategy will ultimately help us to deliver on our purpose, to champion the potential of the customers, colleagues and communities we serve."

Jen Tippin, Group Chief People & Transformation Officer

Who are NatWest Group?

  • NatWest Group are the UK’s leading business bank with brands stretching back to the 17th Century.
  • Brands include Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, Drummonds, Coutts and Child & Co.
  • NatWest Group positions itself as a relationship bank for a digital world and seeks to support customers at every stage of their lives.
  • Their purpose is to champion potential by helping people, families, and businesses to thrive.
  • Around 1,400 colleagues work in HR at NatWest.

NatWest Group are the first Financial Services organisation to become a CIPD People Development Partner (PDP).

A strategy refresh that prioritises learning

As part of a strategy refresh in early 2021, NatWest stated its ambition to be a learning organisation. Helen Lawson, People Director, Services, Functions & Talent, explains that the bank went much "bigger and bolder" in helping colleagues build their capability.

Helen said: "Our Learning Academy has come on in leaps and bounds. We have refreshed content and made it open sourced and available. The partnership with the CIPD is an external and tangible recognition of our ambition in this space".

"There is enormous pride across the HR team at achieving PDP status but also a clear understanding that there’s a lot of work still to do."

Alignment with the CIPD Profession Map

NatWest is strongly aligned with the CIPD Profession Map, being principles-led, evidence-based and outcomes-driven. The bank has delivered sessions to help colleagues understand the map and where their roles sit within it. The HR team have also been through a 'data boot camp'as part of a commitment to develop future skills.

The talent management framework has also been placed under the microscope to ensure critical roles and critical people are identified through a purpose-led lens.

Furthering capabilities and competence

PDP status allows NatWest to benchmark its HR function against both CIPD professional standards and against peers and non-peers plus gain insight into industry trends.

"We feel it is incumbent on us, especially as the first Financial Services company to attain PDP, to share the learnings back" says Helen.

"We could sit in splendid isolation on our own and make stuff up and go ‘this is a wonderful programme’, but you don’t know unless you are out there, collaborating, seeing and knowing what others are doing."

A Consultancy Skills programme, developed in conjunction with CIPD, is about building the "T-shaped advisor", people with the right breadth and depth of skills to deliver more value to stakeholders. Development plans feature workshops, webinar sessions and teach-ins to provide consultants with the skills they need to grow their career.

Upping the percentage of CIPD qualified colleagues and what this means for NatWest

  • 40-45% of NatWest HR staff have a CIPD qualification and the bank is keen to boost that percentage.
  • Several at CEO minus-two and minus-three level are undertaking the CIPD Fellowship programme and intend to make their progress stories visible as part of a drive to highlight the opportunities for study funded by the bank.
  • The bank has introduced an internal mobility initiative called ‘Gigs’ to help broaden colleagues’ capabilities through secondments to different parts of the function or to projects that will help them acquire useful new skills.

Looking to the future

"We are big on building talent from the ground and have been really able to pull through from early career talent and develop them into permanent roles," says Helen; "Whether people have come in on an internship or an apprenticeship, it’s great to see the promotions come through. Working with our social mobility apprenticeship partners has brought a diversity of talent into our function. We have had to work at it, as has everybody. One of our values is around inclusivity and we want a diverse representation across our function which represents the clients and the communities that we serve."

In terms of the relationship with CIPD, work to improve content on the Learning Academy portal is ongoing and NatWest is redoubling its efforts to make sure people are accessing it and providing feedback.

To find out more about becoming a CIPD People Development Partner, get in touch with the team by emailing

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