Pioneer Profile: Meet Clive Smart

4th Oct 2023

It’s time that we recognise the people behind the evolving world of work. Our working lives have shifted to being more inclusive, more people-centric, more flexible, and just plain better for both employees and companies. 

These changes didn’t just happen: they were put into place and upheld by individuals and teams working to create a better working future for everyone. 

So we’re finally putting the spotlight on the people who make great companies great: the people-people.  

People-people are crucial to the success of every company. They find you the talent that drives you forwards, and they’ve taken on an increasingly strategic role in the past few years – often taking on responsibility for mental health, diversity and inclusion, culture, EVPs, Employer Branding and team happiness. 

Read more about the Pioneers List and go behind the scenes to understand how and why we’ve selected our Pioneers.

We were lucky enough to speak with Clive Smart, Head of Talent Acquisition at Moneysupermarket Group about his career, his experiences with flexible working and building great company cultures, and his hopes for the future of work. 

Let’s dig in! 

Tell us a little bit about your career history, and how you got to where you are now. What were the key milestones?

Like many people in the Talent Acquisition sector, I fell into the role working for several Recruitment agencies prior to moving internal. 

My background had always been Tech recruitment and a key milestone was joining SkyBet at a period where they had to scale at pace. It was a great opportunity to work closely with Technology teams and develop some real recruitment innovation when many in the market had quite a traditional approach to hiring. 

A key milestone early on was producing an idea and being given the autonomy to get the idea off the ground, something previously I’d never experienced. From there it always pushed me to originate and implement more great ideas. One of my proudest achievements was a self-funded version of the Kick-Start scheme to help boost youth employment and support local community groups into entry-level jobs that otherwise would not have been accessible.

When did you become interested in flexible working, EVPs and the future of work?

I became interested in flexible working many years back when I was a Tech recruiter trying to hire lots of Software Engineers. I’d often worked for companies with limited flexibility and often became frustrated missing out on lots of great candidates due to a lack of flexible working. At the time I wanted to offer more flexibility to widen my talent pool and change the approach to how and when we worked and move away from the 9-5 mindset of ‘this is how we have always done it’.

What's the most impactful change you’ve overseen?

One benefit I implemented was a book list for new starters, whereby a new starter could pick a book from our company reading list, and it was posted out to home prior to starting your new job. 

This was really impactful and received lots of positive feedback from employees who felt more connected to the company and team from day one.

What’s the biggest impact flexible working has had on your own life?

Having a family pre-flexible working days was hard; you really did need permission to do the things we all take for granted, like a school run, having tea with your family before the kids go to bed, and the list goes on... After the pandemic lots of employers embraced flexible working and made unbelievable progress towards a more balanced way of working and living.

What’s the biggest challenge of being in your role right now?

As a business our goal is to save customer’s money and it’s so fantastic to hire great people where you know your role contributes to a greater purpose and benefits so many customers. 

In terms of the recruitment industry the biggest challenge for many people is a slow down in the market, but like all things it will return at scale, and then things like flexibility will be high on the list of priorities for candidates.

What do you think the next big trend is in working culture?

That’s a great question, I see the next trend being how we take hybrid and flexible working to the next level. So many companies are at the crossroads of moving to the next evolution of their business or moving backwards based on old ways of working that were set up pre-pandemic. 

Having a great culture really matters to candidates, with more ways of finding work than ever before candidates do really have lots of choices. Every company aspires to become the best place to work, as we spend so much time at work; we want employees to enjoy the experience.

Take a look at the other Pioneers who made the list, and subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on new Pioneers, guides to help you navigate your strategic role, and exclusive invites to webinars and events.