A Career at Allianz – Richard Cotter (Head of Organisational Research & Design)

25 Jan 2023, 13:33


What is your role at Allianz?

I lead and manage the organisational development & research team (ODR), set the direction in terms of approach, plans and key priorities, all aligned to what our strategy requires to succeed.

We support organisational transformation to help the business succeed now and into our future. By the business, I mean our people, our partners, our customers, our group colleagues and shareholders, and society as a whole: we are all in this together!

It’s important to support change and transformation, which won’t necessarily happen on its own, despite best intentions. So, in high level terms, me and my team help to structure, encourage and follow through on the various change and transformation programmes and initiatives being led and carried out by the business.

What was your career journey to date?

I studied late. After school, I worked at home and then abroad for a good few years. On my return to Ireland, I worked for well-known Irish financial institution and there, I studied at night to achieve my BSc in Human Resource Management. Years later, I went to do a PhD at Maynooth University. In fact, I was the first PhD to be conferred from their School of Business.

Initially, my career was in various sales and publishing roles. Through the mentorship of a senior colleague in an organisation I worked for in London, I ended up in a learning & development role and I did that for many years in various human resources teams. I then graduated into OD which is more in the organisational change and transformation space.

In OD, if you are pragmatic and business-focused, you can have a much more immediate, tangible and long-lasting impact, and this is what I like about my current role. The best thing about my job is my team and the people I work with generally. I’ve been here fifteen years and Allianz is a brilliant place to work. I like its openness and friendliness and there are some very bright people working here, in all areas of the business.

What do you think makes a successful employee?

If you can crack the balance between confidence in your own ability and humility in relation to others’ talents, and to your own learning, you’ll be fine. And make your job, whatever it is, about helping others.

What advice would you give students and graduates today?

Keep learning – when you join an organisation you are going to be doing a lot more experiential learning, so seek out mentors, ask proactively for feedback, and make sure that whatever role you find yourself in, that you take advantage of the opportunities for development and career networking.


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