Christine Deputy, group HR director at Aviva, and Atif Sheikh, founder of Business 3.0, took to the floor to discuss how the insurer has reinvented itself and is preparing employees for the future.
Sheikh opened by asking the audience how ready they felt to take on disruption and the desires of future talent – arguing that, to survive in the future, organisations need to move away from “solidity” and “rational decision-making”towards “energy” and “experimentation”. “Customers and employees alike need to feel energised by what your business is about and where it’s headed,” he said.
Aviva was behind the times and trust in senior leadership was lacking, so it needed to change the culture quickly. This meant implementing a thoughtful talent philosophy, which involved all 30,000 employees across the business – from executive leaders to front-line staff.
As part of this, every employee was encouraged to identify their own personal values in order to “build a sense of ownership around the transformation”.
Getting buy-in from the executive leadership was tough for Deputy, but she persevered. “If we were going to carry the organisation through extreme change with a lot of pain, we had to own it ourselves,” Deputy said.
"Emotion is the fuel of organisational energy"
Since its transformation, Aviva has cut £400 million in costs and seen a major boost in culture. Tapping into employees’ values and emotions was key for Deputy, who said “emotion is the fuel of organisational energy”.