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This article is brought to you by AXA.

Managers at AXA who want to hire interns are requested to go through a pitching session with HR, in which they present their needs, plans and learning objectives for them.

Becoming one of the most inspiring companies to work for has been HR’s vision from day one at AXA Hong Kong and Macau (AXA).

“We hope people perceive us as agile, innovative and evolving continually for the better. What we want the least is that they see us as rigid and narrow-minded. In light of this, we always put ourselves in the stakeholders’ shoes and put people at the centre of everything we do,” says Tony Wo, Learning, Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Director at AXA Hong Kong & Macau.

AXA was awarded two golds, one each for Best Family-friendly Employment Policy and Best Internship Programme, and one silver for Best Use of Recruitment Technology at the Asia Recruitment Awards 2021 Hong Kong, organised by Human Resources Online.

Creating a pipeline of Axplorers

The well-deserved award of Best Internship Programme goes back to the launch of “Axplorer” in 2019, wherein understanding the importance of building a talent pipeline, AXA decided to make the internship experience more structured. It, thus, launched its summer corporate internship programme lasting 10 weeks, which is structured in a way that provides interns with a rewarding learning experience.

“Interns should not be treated as just a pair of extra hands helping departments complete routine tasks,” Wo says.

To avoid interns from falling into traditional stereotypical roles, managers at AXA who want to hire interns are requested to go through a pitching session with HR, in which they present their needs, plans and learning objectives for the interns. Also, a mentor or department buddy is nominated by the hiring manager to take care of each intern.

One of the most ground-breaking elements in Axplorer is the sense of empowerment given to the interns. For example, all interns will have lunch with the CEO and top management to gain career advice and business insights. Before the end of the programme, they could propose a business idea to CEO and leadership team – and ideas from the fresh-eyes are always well-received.

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“When we were designing Axplorer, we kept asking ourselves two questions: what kind of experience would students desire; and what new experiences could they have from AXA? Our CEO is very supportive of this programme. She listens to our thoughts, regardless of the positions we are at in the company,” Wo says.

Inclusiveness for all employees

With a people-centric mindset, AXA is also a pioneer in family-friendly benefits. The company debuted a myriad of family-friendly policies such as upgrading and aligning out-patient coverage of group medical insurance for all grades, introducing two days of annual family care leave, initiating flexible working arrangements including one-day work-from-home per week, flexible working hours, and more.

In addition to the competitive and comprehensive total rewards, AXA also provides access to various wellbeing activities through ‘AXA Club’ (an internal staff engagement campaign).

What makes this initiative unique is that it not only takes care of the wellbeing of AXA’s staff, but goes broader to include employees’ families.

“We want to help working parents excel in their roles, as parents as well as employees. Our colleagues should not only have a work-life balance but also achieve work-life integration,” Wo says.

To sum up, he underscores AXA’s emphasis on the human element as the key to its business success, and evidently, a big reason behind its award-winning strategies.

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