In the second part of our conversation with Amit Malik, Chief People, Operations & Customer Services Officer at Aviva Life Insurance we try to understand the role of employees in driving the culture and experience of an organization!
According to you, what is the role of employees in your organization?
I think employees are very critical in every workplace and we are no different. Employees execute strategy: In an insurance company, there are people and there are insurance plans In a typically sales driven organization like ours, employees play an extremely critical role, since it’s they who execute the strategy. Hence people for us are the most important asset.
Employees drive culture: In any organization, it’s the employees who drive the culture with the behavior they exhibit and the values that they live and demonstrate. For example, a distant branch in a remote location, primarily depends on its branch manager as a role model to understand the culture through experience, and this is Aviva in that ecosystem.
Employees foster learning: Employees play a key role in bringing along a wealth of experience and knowledge. You need to provide them an environment to share their learning and experience by providing an external perspective about the best practices implemented in other organizations.
Employees are brand ambassadors: Insurance is one place, where you can say employees are actual brand ambassadors. In India people still buy insurance more due to fear as an after life requirement and less due to the fact that it will help them plan and live their life today in a manner that would fulfill their goals. Our employees have the duty to change the thought process and inculcate a new thought pattern by living the ethos and values of Aviva i.e. “Defy Uncertainity”
With increasing workplace pressure and more and more employees frequently switching jobs, any challenges faced by you in terms of acquisition and retention of new talent?
I believe that though India has no dearth of resources, talent is scarce, and that is why war for talent is applicable for all companies, insurance is no different.
Basis our deep rooted culture, we are a preferred employer in the insurance sector. We have just been voted as the Most Trusted Private Insurance Brand 2018. This surely helps us to attract talent. We have the reputation of being an organization where we focus on values, respect and growth. Even if you look in our best employers journey, we’ve moved up in our ranking from last year’s 25th to this year’s 12th in the Times Ascent, Dream Companies to Work.
Although we work on the understanding that employees will come and employees will go, our philosophy is to put people in bigger jobs and let them grow. We believe that we are a point in case in an employees’ professional journey.
Retention is an outcome that manifests itself from whatever you do to drive engagement. We give our employees an opportunity to do their best work. Secondly, we provide them the accessibility to the right tools and environment to do their best job. The third factor, which incidentally is quite critical is the leadership that you provide to the employee to develop and grow in his/her career at Aviva.
This year we are moving into a new performance management system. Under this system, managers will have a minimum of 4 conversations during the year with their team wherein they will ask the team to list their top three priorities/goals during the year where they need the support of their manager. This leads to backward planning. This will provide role clarity and goal clarity.
For millennials, work is just a means to an end. People are not looking for a lifetime employment. What’s important is to help them realize their individual goals while they work towards the company’s goals.
Organizations need to change their mindset that if an employee leaves them, he is being disloyal and there is no point investing in him. Add value,make employees feel wanted.
We also conduct stay interviews for employees who have spent 3-5 years. The purpose is to understand what has made them stay with us, what are we doing well, what should we continue to do. These insights provide us the learnings and help us to build them into our programs.