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In Practice

Trust, ESG, and People Risk: A CEO’s Perspective

Happy business people discussing during meeting in board room at corporate office

Given the current economic environment, inflationary pressures, and a tough labor market, people risk, perhaps previously a matter solely dealt with by HR, has garnered attention from organizational risk managers. In this special episode of Marsh’s ESG insights podcast, Chris Lay shares his perspective on a variety of issues related to people risk, from cultivating trust to understanding neurodiversity, as well as what philosophies guide him as a CEO.

On purpose and work:

We’re in a workplace that has probably the largest stretch of generations, and therefore, we come with the largest stretch of backgrounds and perhaps perspectives. … Our colleagues are our number one stakeholder group. We need to understand their perspectives. … We need to be clear to them [about] what is our philosophy on a particular issue? What is our purpose, how do we run our business to deliver our purpose?

On people risk:

I would contend that people risk is the number one issue. … Every time I think about people, I do go back to a slogan that a company used, an advertising phrase, a few years ago: It’s good to talk. … I don’t know what I don’t know. And if I’m having a conversation I might understand something about somebody. I’m grateful that we’re in a world now where we do talk about a lot of things that were once not talked about. 

On neurodiversity:

We’re understanding a lot more about neurodiversity in the workplace, for example. That’s just one example that I think we had a very different view on a few years ago. And we’re excited about some of the things we’re discovering about how that can enable us in areas of our work as we go forward in brilliant ways. … If I’ve got 100 people on a team, and they can show up 10% more engaged because we understand them and we’re able to work together more effectively as a team, that’s a huge productivity shift.

Chris Lay

Chief Executive Officer for Marsh UK & Ireland

Chris was appointed CEO of the U.K. & Ireland Region of Marsh in June 2018. Chris also serves as the Country Corporate Officer for Marsh McLennan in the U.K., working with its businesses — Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer, Oliver Wyman — to deliver the Marsh McLennan Advantage. During his more than 30-year career with Marsh, Chris has held a variety of senior leadership positions in the U.K., EMEA, North America, and globally.

Nick McClelland

UK Chief Growth Officer for Mercer

Nick helps leading organisations deliver innovative employee benefits and wellbeing and engagement strategies, and he is passionate about reshaping workplace wellbeing for authentic and sustainable change.

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