Chief Talent Officer

HR London, England



Future Makers  

At the start of 2018, GroupM merged two of its leading global networks, MEC and Maxus, to form a  

brand new media, content and technology agency one of the largest in the world. WAVEMAKER  

exists to be Future Makers: to build brands that pioneer the future, inspire society and move  

customers to action. What started with a blank page and a fresh perspective has resulted in the  

creation of the agency of future.  

Bound together by our Purchase Journey approach, we help clients translate audience behaviours and  

insights into smart decisions today, for a prosperous tomorrow. Our organizational capabilities and  

specialisms, along with the talents of our 8,500 people worldwide, are united through our focus on  

understanding, accelerating and optimizing purchase journeys. Our obsession with purchase journeys  

is apparent in the solutions we create for clients, in how we structure ourselves and in the job roles  

our people perform. So the majority of jobs at WAVEMAKER may not sound like jobs at any other  

agency, and that’s because they aren’t!  

Our people are encouraged to become the best versions of themselves and share the values and  

behaviours of what we refer to as PACED - passionate, agile, collaborative, entrepreneurial, and  

diverse. With our combined global heritage coming together to create something new, our people are  

the brains, the data experts and the thinkers of the GroupM family.  

WAVEMAKER is a leader in its field. We’re in front of transformation, making waves by making bold  

choices. It means the impact of our choices today creates momentum into the future.  

Our vision is simple: To become the most distinctive and admired media, content and technology  

agency in the world.  


Job Title:  

Chief Talent Officer  

Reporting to:  

Key reports:  

WM UK CEO / COO (tbc)  

Talent Team (roles to be confirmed but includes Head of L&D, P&C Business  

Partner and others)  

Role overview:  

This critical role will create and implement a transformational strategy and vision for Talent and Culture  

within WM UK.  

As an agency that launched only 12 months ago, whose success is derived entirely from the talent and  

achievements of every single one of its 700+ people, there is no priority greater than inspiring, nurturing,  

developing and succeeding with those people.  

The WM UK Exco team is elevating Talent to the most senior level of the business, creating a new role that  

sits at its side in driving exceptional talent leadership through the agency.  

Our vision is to be the most distinctive and admired agency in the market. The Chief Talent Officer’s role is  

to make our talent and our culture the most distinctive and admired in the UK. You will build a strategy  

and implement a vision that wins awards, that attracts the very best talent in the country, that enables  

every one of those people to fly high, that generates unprecedented levels of loyalty from them, delivering  

the highest employee satisfaction and wellbeing scores of any market within the WM global network.  

Your appointment will represent a truly transformative step change in the way that WM leads its talent  

and nurtures its culture. Exceptional talent leadership for us is developing the talent and specialist skills of  

every single one of our Wavemakers and empowering them to be Future Makers for our business –  

achieving the highest success imaginable as a direct result of them being a part of our agency, inspiring  

them to realise their own unique creativity, imagination, skillset and power for the benefit of their own  

career, wellbeing and happiness, and to bring all of those individual Future Maker powers together to  

make Wavemaker incredible.  




Who are we looking for?  

You will be a coach, a mentor, a visionary, a strategist, a leader, a force of nature.  

You will have a track record of bravery, of transformation, of agility and a hunger for improvement, always.  

You will be skilled in coaching, in talent development and management, in occupational psychology, in  

neuroscience, behavior change and occupational health.  

You should also have strong experience and the operational skillset to oversee HR best practice in how we  

administrate our people systems, processes and operations.  

The Chief Talent Officer’s role can be summarized into the following core areas of focus. Direct  

responsibility for:  

1. Talent Development and Management  

2. Cultural Transformation  

Oversight and collaboration in leading:  

3. HR Operations and Process Management this function is part managed by our partners at  



1. Talent Development and Management  

Our people are our brand, our business we have market leading tools, technology and systems, but  

ultimately our clients buy the relationships, expertise, advice and counsel of our talented people. Our  

people are hungry to learn, restless for success, and continuously looking for the next opportunity. We  

exist in a more competitive talent landscape than ever before. We want WM to be the place where every  

one of our people has their career defining moment. The capacity to learn new skills, to apply new  

practices, upskill in new areas, and to know the contribution you are making to the agency’s success is  

vast. We need to unlock the true potential of a career at WM for every person who joins us.  

We are looking for a Talent leader who can design and implement a truly transformational approach to  

talent development and management. What we do right now is not wrong and nor is it broken, but we  

want more for our people and believe we can achieve more for our business.  




Working in close collaboration with the WM UK Exco (comprised of the CEO, COO, Managing Director,  

Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Product Officer, and Chief Data Officer), you will design and execute a new  

strategy that for our Talent that is truly distinctive for our industry. You will have the remit to redesign the  

Talent team who work for you, and with the approval of the Exco to build and execute a fully integrated  

Talent Development programme that is designed for the future.  

Furthermore, you will lead the talent initiatives focused on recruiting, retaining and development with  

specific emphasis on building future leaders for the organization.  

Our expectation is that this programme will incorporate the following elements:  

Talent mapping and progression management approach  

Staff L&D programme  

Workforce Planning/Org Design  

Leadership Coaching/Development strategy  

People Management programme for team leads  

Performance Management and effective strategies for dealing with under-performance  

Health and wellbeing strategy  

Agency Reputation/Marketing and Talent Acquisition strategy  

Rebuilding the Talent & People Ops team (in conjunction with GroupM) to make it fit for purpose  

for the new vision  

The integration of these elements into a cohesive ‘packaged’ programme that is best in class is key.  

We want this to be dynamic, exciting, best in class. Transformational.  

2. Cultural Transformation  

Our culture is the thing that makes our people commit to Wavemaker, and that ultimately makes our  

people happy. We are not just a place of work, we are a vibrant community of widely varying, talented,  

passionate individuals who together make the future.  

Having only launched our agency 12 months ago as the result of the merger of two previously separate  

GroupM agencies, our culture is still very much in the ‘forming’ stage.  

We live and follow the WM global values Passionate, Agile, Collaborative, Entrepreneurial and Diverse.  

These values manifest themselves in our agency as a set of excellent benefits and policies that we believe  

make Wavemaker an amazing place to work.  




But what sits at the heart of us is our manifesto Lets  

Make the Future. This manifesto captures how we create  

work that drives growth for our clients, but also to our  

own people. Make The Future is the way that we promise  

to grow people in their careers, to move them to grow as  

individuals, to have many and varied new opportunities to  

develop as individuals and in their jobs. But more than  

that, it represents the emotional connection we want to  

create with every one of our people. We want them to  

feel a deep pride and sense of belonging at Wavemaker.  

To be excited every day. To be inspired to invent new  

ideas, to support each other, to make new connections,  

and achieve new highs. To leave the office every day with  

a smile on their face.  

We know that this emotional connection to their agency is  

work in progress for many of our people. The Chief Talent  

Officer’s role will be to nurture this. To move our people  

to a deeper level of connection to the agency and to each  


Supported by the Exco you will review our current cultural  

programme and package of benefits, initiatives and  

policies, and redesign it under the three pillars of Care,  

Create & Grow. We expect you to be brave, challenging,  

and to excite us and our people with your vision for how  

we transform our culture from good to incredible. Bring  

leading edge ideas around psychological contract and inspire us with best in class examples from outside  

of the sector, to position us as first mover in the market, make us truly distinctive and admired.  

3. HR Operations and Process Management  

Whilst the Chief Talent Officer’s role is one primarily of strategic leadership, running a tight ship  

operationally is a critical part of the remit. We are developing a more collaborative approach to HR Ops  

and Process Management with our partners at GroupM, and so your role will be to ensure that the new  

systems and processes work effectively for WM, as well as for the group.  

We expect slick, efficient and faultless HR administration and operations. You will be expected to oversee a  

shared team to deliver best practice process, provide recommendation on any systems or operating  

improvements that should be applied, collaboratively manage those improvements and monitor their  

impact on the business, advising on adjustments and optimizations whenever required.  




You will be expected to lead the onboarding and integration of new people into the agency, such that from  

their first touchpoint, their experience of WM is of an exceptionally high standard.  

Finally, you will work closely with our finance and payroll teams to ensure our staff contracts and payroll  

are maintained to an excellent standard, provide strategic leadership on driving best in class contracting  

terms with our people, implement and monitor all GDPR compliance concerning personal data, and be  

responsible for the implementation and maintenance of all HR systems. You will ensure all systems and  

practices are SOX compliant and adhere to GroupM and WPP policies.  


You will have extensive experience in senior level HR or Talent roles within an agency, vendor, or a client  

organization. (Agency experience is not essential).  

You should have a track record of successful transformational change within a recent role.  

You should have a wide range of relevant qualifications in HR and people management. Additional  

qualifications in Coaching, occupational psychology and neuroscience would be beneficial.  

In addition, candidates should demonstrate the following:  







Strong hands-on HR operational experience and sense of accountability  

Collaborative and astute - able to build trust and respect within our network  

A sensitivity and understanding of differing cultures and practices  

Comfortable with ambiguity and matrix environments  

High emotional intelligence, able to manage self and influence others in a constructive manner  

Professional HR qualifications, enhanced by creativity and drive for innovation  

You should have a drive to win, a positive attitude and be a radiator for people around you.  

The ExCo is a vibrant and tight team – we’re looking for someone who’ll positively challenge us, be willing  

to roll up their sleeves to work hard and laugh just as hard alongside us.  

ROLE OWNER(S): Paul Hutchison, CEO; Anna Hickey, COO  




GroupM is an equal opportunity employer. We view every individual as exactly that, individual. We hire despite peoples differences, not because of them. We understand that inclusion is more than just diversity. We celebrate the fact that everyone is unique. That’s what makes us so good at what we do. At GroupM we pride ourselves on being a company that can truly represent the global clients we work with.

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