Impacting Organizational Transformation with Data

To remain relevant in a highly competitive market through people empowerment and cultural transformation.

About Nationwide Building Society 

  • The world’s largest building society with a 150+ year heritage
  • Over 15 million members benefitting from its enduring ethos of helping people buy their own homes and making the most of their savings
  • Nationwide’s socially focused provenance today continues in its vision to build society


  • Remain relevant in a highly competitive and ever-evolving marketplace
  • Shift from an operational to visionary focus
  • Become a more agile, inclusive and future-focused organization


  • HR and business leaders can make fully informed people decisions with objective data and predictive insight
  • Gained an understanding of leaders’ strengths and how to use them in impacting cultural change
  • Assessments provide a positive, engaging and developmental experience in a commercially sustainable way
  • Nationwide is able to reflect its commitment to ethical practice in its partnership

Client Challenge

Like many organizations, Nationwide faced challenges from existing and new competitors. To remain relevant Nationwide would need to more quickly simplify its services and ways of working, create efficiencies, and empower its people to make a step-change in its organizational culture. At the leadership level, this would mean a series of shifts; from a more operational to visionary focus, a loosening of central control to empowering its people, and moving from a sense of comfort to embracing a more disrupted and experimental world. By doing this, its members would continue to be the heartbeat of a more agile, inclusive, and future-focused organization.


Nationwide and SHL enjoy a longstanding partnership. Previous research and cultural work had provided a strong sense of the critical capabilities required, articulated, and measured through a common framework and clear leadership principles. All senior executives, typically heads and directors of functions reporting to the C-suite were appointed and promoted further to a standardized assessment approach, driven by the Occupational Personality Questionnaire, Motivation Questionnaire, and a cognitive element, all aligned with Nationwide’s frameworks. These generated custom reports for one to one executive interviews, for both selection and development, co-designed with Nationwide, implemented by SHL, and delivered by an in-house team of specialists.

All data was transposed into bespoke dashboards and linked to SHL’s leadership in context research. This would mean that Nationwide’s HR and business leaders could start to use this insight to inform critical decisions about its people’s careers and contributions to the organization. Alongside this, SHL conducts frequent analysis to share with Nationwide, supporting its strategic HR team in such projects.

Nationwide Building Society Client Success Story
  • A true demonstration of the power of co-creation. Working in partnership with SHL, we now have a suite of practical tools, providing valuable, useful insight into our leadership population.

    Julie Foster
    Leadership Development Manager at Nationwide
Nationwide Building Society Client Success Story


This analysis revealed the performance and potential of Nationwide’s leaders and provided comparisons with a range of other businesses, in finance, retail, and the technology sectors. For example, there was real strength in leaders’ capability to think strategically, to learn and grow, to bring people together in solving challenges, and reach meaningful decisions. And, opportunities to stretch, by extending their emotional repertoire and turning their focus inwards to consider the self-transformation required. These areas would be invaluable in leading cultural change.

Nationwide could also get a sense of what motivated leaders, how aligned this was with the future direction and evolving context. Giving both HR leaders and the executive committee clear visibility of the capability in the organization and its alignment with driving cultural change proved a critical lever. This informed where Nationwide could seek capability externally and where the internal leadership development focus would add the most value.

In some ways this is the continuation of a journey, ensuring that assessments provide a positive and developmental experience, creating engaging selection and development conversations, and critically, doing so in a commercially sustainable way. In others, it’s the start of enabling HR and business leaders to more fully inform people decisions with objective data and predictive insight.

Finally, Nationwide reflects its commitment to ethical practice in its partnership. Here at SHL, we look forward to continuing to play a part in Nationwide’s further transformation.