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Winning Secrets: Sustainability, simplification, and balance underpin Allianz Malaysia's employee engagement strategy

Winning Secrets: Sustainability, simplification, and balance underpin Allianz Malaysia's employee engagement strategy

As part of its employee engagement initiatives, the team aspires to be a proactive business contributor to ESG initiatives, says Wong Woon Man, Group Head of HR, Allianz Malaysia.

Allianz Malaysia is part of the Allianz Group in Germany, and is currently one of the leading general insurers in Malaysia, with a broad spectrum of services in motor insurance, personal lines, small to medium enterprise businesses and large industrial risks.

At the third annual edition of Employee Experience Awards - Malaysia in 2023, Allianz Malaysia won a range of gold awards, including for 'Best Post-Pandemic Recovery Strategy', 'Best Remote Management Strategy', and 'Best Remote Work Strategy' - leading it to the Grand Winner's prize of the Overall Engagement Award for the year.

To celebrate this milestone, we catch up with Wong Woon Man, Group Head of HR, Allianz Malaysia (pictured above) on building employee experience that is closely tied to the company’s business goals. 

Q How do you ensure your employee experience initiatives are aligned with your business objectives?

Employee experience is crucial for the success of Allianz Malaysia. When employee experience is closely tied to a company’s business goals, it can lead to increased productivity, engagement, and overall organisational success.

Allianz is a unique organisation where we offer customised employee engagement programmes to align with our business objectives. The aim is to create a virtuous cycle where engaged and motivated employees drive business success and, in turn, the organisation invests in enhancing the employee experience further.

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Q Can you provide examples of how the organisation has invested in the employee experience?

The 'People & Culture' strategy is Allianz’s strategic ambition to be one of the top employers in the financial services industry and a certified 'Great Place to Work' globally. Key significant employee engagement workstreams at Allianz has heavily invested in are:

  • Sustainability: Be a proactive business contributor of ESG initiatives, helping Allianz to become CO2-neutral,
  • Simplify processes: Continue simplifying complex processes in close collaboration with process owners,
  • Balanced workstyle: Enrich communication regarding the new work model and personal development topics,
  • Collaboration: Share cultural differences, enabling improved understanding and empathy through global collaboration
  • Way of Working (WOW) is a foundation initiative to shape where and how we will work in the future, to capitalise on positive impacts for customers and employees which acted as a catalyst for the transformation we had already started.

Q What are some of the key challenges that you faced in implementing your EX initiatives, and how did you overcome them?

Some of the key challenges faced in implementing engagement initiatives were change and time management, as employees may resist new engagement initiatives if they perceive them as disrupting their routines or adding more to their workload.

Sustainability and consistency in implementing employee experience was also necessary to maintain engagement initiatives over the long term and ensuring consistency across different business units and teams. Initiatives may lose momentum if not continuously nurtured and supported.

Also, determining the impact and effectiveness of engagement initiatives was difficult, especially if the right metrics and tools for measurement are not in place. Measurement of the success of engagement initiatives requires reliable and relevant metrics.

Overcoming these challenges required a thoughtful and well-planned approach. It was essential to develop a well-thought-out engagement strategy, involve employees in the planning process, secure management support, and maintain a flexible and adaptive approach to continuously improve the initiatives over time. Regularly soliciting feedback and using data to assess the effectiveness of the programmes was also crucial for success.

Q Do you have processes to measure the effectiveness of your EX initiatives, and what metrics do you use to evaluate success?

Yes, we did have processes in place, as measuring the effectiveness of engagement initiatives in Allianz Malaysia was essential to determine their impact on employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall organisational performance.

One of the key metrics and methods that we used to evaluate the effectiveness of engagement initiatives was employee engagement surveys. We conducted annual and pulse surveys to gather feedback on various aspects of the workplace, such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, recognition, and opportunities for growth. Analysing survey results over time helped to identify trends and areas for improvement.

It was also necessary to track employee retention rates and productivity metrics before and after the implementation of engagement initiatives. A decrease in turnover could indicate higher employee satisfaction and assess whether engagement initiatives have led to improved work outcomes. We also measured the number of employee referrals for new hires. Higher referrals may indicate that engaged employees are more likely to recommend the organisation to others.

We are also monitoring the level of employee participation in engagement initiatives and events. Higher participation rates suggest that employees are actively engaged, and the evaluation of the overall wellbeing of employees, including physical and mental health. Engaged employees tend to experience lower levels of stress and burnout.

At Allianz Malaysia, we believe it is important to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of engagement initiatives. A regular review and analysis of data, and making adjustments to initiatives based on findings will improve employee engagement.

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Q Finally, what role do leaders and managers play in driving a beautiful employee experience, and how are they held accountable for the success of these initiatives?

Leaders and managers in Allianz Malaysia play critical roles in shaping the employee experience within an organisation. Their actions, decisions, and behaviours significantly impact how employees feel about their work, their sense of belonging, and their overall job satisfaction.

Leaders and managers set the tone for the organisational culture and work environment; their values, communication style, and behaviours influence how employees perceive the company's culture and how they should interact with one another. Leaders are also responsible for articulating a compelling vision and purpose for the organisation and function. When employees understand the mission and goals, they are more likely to feel connected to their work.

Effective leaders and managers empower their employees by providing the necessary resources, training, and support to succeed in their roles. They encourage autonomy and trust employees to make decisions within their areas of expertise. Leaders and managers should foster open and transparent communication with their teams. Regular feedback, constructive criticism, and recognition of achievements contribute to a positive employee experience.

HR acts as an enabler to the learning and development, while managers play an important role in supporting the professional & personal growth of their team members. They prioritise employee development by identifying growth opportunities, providing training, and fostering a culture of continuous learning.

Leaders and managers play a vital role in recognising employee contributions. Regular feedback and constructive criticism help employees understand their performance and areas for improvement. Recognising achievements and providing meaningful rewards and incentives contribute to a positive employee experience.

Promoting work-life balance to encourage healthy work habits, flexible scheduling, and supporting initiatives that improve physical and mental wellbeing are necessary. Prioritising work-life balance contributes to a positive employee experience and reduces burnout. Leaders and managers must also champion diversity and inclusion within the organisation. Creating an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected enhances the overall employee experience.

By fulfilling these roles effectively, leaders and managers can significantly contribute to a positive and engaging employee experience, resulting in higher productivity, reduced turnover, and a more successful organisation overall.

Overall, leaders and managers have significant impact on the employee experience by creating a positive and supportive work environment. By prioritising employee wellbeing, growth, and engagement, they contribute to a more productive and satisfied workforce, which, in turn, benefits Allianz Malaysia as an organisation.

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

All photos / Provided by Allianz Malaysia

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