The team's emphasis on talent, engagement, and leadership development, has been instrumental in its achievements this year, as Wong Woon Man, Group Head of HR tells us.
Since stepping foot into Malaysia in 2001, Allianz Malaysia — the Malaysian arm of Allianz Group in Germany — has been a leading general insurer in the country, providing a broad spectrum of services in motor insurance, personal lines, small to medium enterprise businesses and large industrial risks.
The team believes its core values are in line with the Group’s strategies and plans to measure and assess management quality, also developed to create the right culture for developing employee talent and achieving top performance.
In that vein, the 11th edition of the HR Excellence Awards, Malaysia (2023) saw Allianz Malaysia taking home two awards:
- Gold for 'Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion', and
- Silver for 'Excellence in Workforce Flexibility'
In this interview with Wong Woon Man, Group Head of HR, Allianz Malaysia, we learn how the team's emphasis on talent, engagement, and leadership development, has been instrumental in its achievements this year.
Q Congratulations on your top performance at the HR Excellence Awards! How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your success this year?
We are honoured by the awards and attribute this to our focus on delivering our employer promise, i.e., 'We care for tomorrow'. This includes caring our employees, from career development to engagement, a workplace which embraces diversity, equity and inclusion as well as health and wellbeing.
Our People & Culture strategy has facilitated leadership development. Effective leadership is important in guiding our teams and ensuring that our strategies are executed successfully. Our focus on #lead training and development programme has nurtured the skills and qualities for our leaders to inspire and drive our teams towards achieving our objectives.
Our emphasis on talent, engagement, and leadership development, has been instrumental in our achievements this year. It has created a workforce that is not only competent but also enthusiastic, resulting in a company that is better equipped to tackle challenges, adapt to change, and ultimately drive success.
Q Looking back at your achievements, what aspect of your HR initiatives are you most proud of and why?
We have taken many steps on our journey of continuous improvement, all of which make me very proud! What has stood out for me this year is the heightened awareness and practices around diversity, equity and inclusion, including the launch of Allianz Beyond which is an employee network for our differently-abled colleagues.
Investing in People!
Continuous learning not only equips our people but also ensure we have the relevant capabilities for tomorrow.
Our People & Culture Team has made advancement in the areas of data and technology as well as using analytics to engage leaders in strategic discussions. We continue to improve flexible work arrangements for all employees, and this is very much appreciated by all. All these contribute to our journey in making Allianz Malaysia a truly great place to work!
Q During your HR journey, what were some significant obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them to achieve excellence?
People and culture topics require change management and focused leadership at all levels and should be viewed as a strategic priority, just like any other business topic. Talent attraction remains a key challenge. Competition for top candidates, skill shortages in insurance industry, and matching candidates to relevant skills as well as ensuring cultural fit can be challenging.
HR technology is essential for efficient operations. Implementing and integrating HR systems can be time-consuming and complex. Adapting to new processes, technologies, or restructuring can be met by resistance from employees and requires skillful handling.
Addressing these obstacles require collaboration with other functions, and our People & Culture team is expected to be adaptable, knowledgeable, and equipped with effective strategies and tools. We’re also thankful to have CEOs and a leadership team who prioritise these topics and believe that our people are our patents.
Q How does your organisation measure the success and impact of your HR initiatives?
In Allianz, we look at quantitative and qualitative indicators as validation that we are doing the right thing. Successful engagement initiatives result in improved overall performance.
Talent attraction and retention initiatives that focus on employer branding, competitive compensation, and a positive work culture help attract and retain talent. Metrics such as time-to-fill positions and employee turnover rates can indicate success in this area.
Allianz promotes ongoing learning to ensure a skilled and adaptable workforce. This is measured through the effectiveness of learning programmes, skills assessments, and tracking of skills growth over time.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives contribute to a more innovative and creative work environment. Metrics include diversity ratios, participation in diversity programs, and employee feedback on inclusivity.
Health and wellbeing initiatives lead to higher morale, reduction of health-related concerns, and better work-life balance. Our engagement surveys help us gauge the success in this area.
Q In what direction do you see the HR/people function evolving in the future, considering the emerging trends?
The HR/people function will evolve significantly to focus on workplace culture.
Topics on diversity, equity and inclusion will remain a priority as companies are expected to achieve minimum standards. The People & Culture team will play a central role in creating and implementing strategies around DEI.
Workplace flexibility and purpose-led work will be a talent attraction and retention proposition. The workforce will be required to constantly adapt to changes, to keep their skills dated and relevant as well as to work in an agile manner.
The integration of data and technology is central to the evolution of People & Culture function. Automation, data analytics, and artificial intelligence are being used for different strategies. This streamlines HR processes and provides insights for better decision-making and greater employee experience.
The People & Culture function is poised to become more strategic, data-focused, and technology-driven. It will serve as a partner to business leaders.
Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets section!