It is unfair to measure our employees on sales and not management capability when it is the latter that would enable them to manage the pressure both for themselves and their teams
At Bharti AXA Life, there are five pillars that define our talent strategy – Attract, Develop, Retain, Advice and Deliver. As we complete 10 years in 2016, our focus is on how we further build a sustainable organization; and hence all the aforementioned categories are our big rocks in 2016.
Attracting talent differently
We believe that it is essential to hire people from different domains and not particularly from the insurance industry as candidates from the same industry do not bring any newness to the system. Hiring someone from a different industry sector, say for example pharmaceutical or FMCG, to come and work in the insurance sector will enhance their learning & development and will enable the person to be committed on the job. This newness hence will become aspirational for someone we want to hire. Also, when our customer base comprises of diverse backgrounds, it becomes essential to ask as to why our customer base can’t be replicated into our employee base? And this highlights the need of hiring differentiated talent, and it makes business sense to do it.
Retaining the workforce
Retention is another crucial aspect for us as in the life insurance space as we do sit on high attrition rates. This industry in itself is at high double digits attrition and this is not a sustainable model. Unless one attracts differently and strategically, one will not achieve sustainability.
Curbing retention can be challenging. Thus, for retaining employees, we at Bharti AXA Life constantly thrive to build a culture of belongingness for the employees to engage in long term commitments with us. There are engagement initiatives that are in place, for e.g. specific initiatives around having employee co create a customer centric culture, around developing personal development plans. We have streamlined the Performance Management System for our Frontline Managers where people managers are measured on leadership accountability more and more.
HR Delivery to business is another element that is very crucial. And not only service delivery, but also delivery in terms of system processes, delivery in terms of HR being a credible trusted business partner, where we will have to make a paradigm shift of the HR business partner role. We will need to move the needle on how we strategically partner with business not only in HR decisions but also in business decisions.
Addressing capability gaps at the managerial level is another priority for us. We are focusing on the 200 plus frontline managers because we think they are critical links to the workforce in the field. When we are hiring for the insurance industry, we know that employees day to day jobs are going to have sales pressures, however it is not fair that we only measure them on sales and not management capability and it is the latter that would enable them to manage the pressure both for themselves and their teams. We train them on the job by involving them in light projects; putting some measurable yardstick around them and then evaluating them. Such long term interventions help (and will help) them overcome the capability gaps they might have.