Pioneer Profile: Meet Naomi Cruden

20th Feb 2024

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’re delighted to introduce you to Naomi Cruden, Talent Manager at Flexified company Amplifi,, and one of our 2024 Pioneers. Read on to hear all about her career, her experiences with flexible working and building great company cultures, and her hopes for the future of work.

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

After finishing University I worked at a recruitment agency for 2 years. I learnt so much in that time about what good recruitment processes look like, and what good company culture was, so when I spoke to the guys at Amplifi, I knew they were onto something good. 

Amplifi’s culture was so forward thinking at the time (this was back in 2020!). Everyone could work how and where they wanted, their processes were simple and effective, and there was a huge opportunity to help them grow their team which at the time was only 20 permanent employees. 

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

I think post covid/lockdown a lot of people realised how skewed their work-life balance was beforehand, so when I joined Amplifi and saw how successful remote working could be, and how rare it was for companies to trust their team to do a good job without being in an office 5 days a week, I knew in order to grow the team successfully, we needed to shout about it and draw attention to it - which is why we joined Flexa. 

What is the most impactful change that you’ve implemented?

I think working from anywhere has been a huge benefit for the team. It was super easy to implement too! 

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

My stress levels are so much better! Pre lockdown I used to commute 1 hour each way - wasted hours stuck in traffic and stressing about how much I had to do when I got home. Flexible working has meant I use those hours to get things done which normally would have been left for weekends. I also do a lot of running, and previously I used to stop running in the winter because of the dark evenings, however flexible working has meant I’m able to train before/after work or on lunch. 

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

One of the biggest challenges in our industry has been and continues to be DEI. Being a partner with Flexa has helped us tackle this from a hiring perspective as we are able to reach a much more diverse range of candidates. However, DEI is so much more than hiring and there is still lots of work to do in the tech industry.

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

I think focusing on retention and development will be a high priority this year for People teams. For the last year or so there’s been a lot of uncertainty for many people across the UK in many aspects, but particularly job security, so I think people will be more hesitant to move roles than in previous years. This means retention and employee development will be key to ensuring the workplace culture continues to thrive and maintain a positive culture. 

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