AA Insurance Limited
AA Insurance (AAI) has a robust remuneration framework that is managed by a Remuneration Specialist. The framework provides year-on-year remuneration increases above the rate of inflation and last year it was a 3.52% average increase. Each position in the business has an individual salary range that is reviewed annually against external market data. Individual performance is reviewed formally on a bi-annual basis. Remuneration increases are based on performance review ratings on KPIs and demonstrating our values. We have a salary matrix that determines the percentage awarded based on the employees’ position in the range and their performance. However, we have a remuneration strategy of paying our fully competent employees around the market median which allows us to award more than the matrix recommendation where required. In addition to our annual salary increases, there are a raft of financial related benefits for our people including an annual bonus (based on company and individual performance), free life insurance, free NZAA Membership, discounted personal lines insurance and a wellbeing allowance. A recent example of where we have gone over and above in our remuneration framework is in our Contact Centre. In the last 12 months we have twice lifted our contact centre representative roles significantly. This was an initiative aimed at recognising their direct customer impact and the desire to increase retention. The initiative has been successful with turnover in this area reducing by 11.83%.
Training and professional development
AAI understands the direct correlation between staff development, positive customer outcomes, and business performance. We invest in a Learning and Organisational Development Team of 15 to support the design and delivery of staff development initiatives. Development opportunities are matched to the employee journey, and range from classroom-based skills training, online learning, funding for bespoke training solutions from external partners and other relevant training organisations as required. We recently gave all staff access to Udemy, an online learning platform that offers 3,000+ courses on a range of topics so they can choose from personal and professional training, where and when they choose to learn. Staff are encouraged to explore individual professional development pathways with leaders and have access to membership of specialised institutes as well as attendance of external conferences. We provide frameworks to support peer-based learning through projects driven by cross functional teams, monthly senior leadership meetings, internal leadership conferences and mentoring programmes. We also encourage talent management and succession planning through formal workshops to ensure development requirements are identified for our top talent. The impact of these initiatives can be measured in the recent staff engagement survey which scored 88% for “I have access to the learning and development I need to do my job well” and recognition from our industry body ANZIIF, winning the 2018 award for Best Learning Programme, as well as the 2017 international Brandon Hall award, illustrating the calibre of our innovative design solutions enabling our people to learn and work from home.
AAI recruits and promotes from within, where possible, including our executive team who were predominantly promoted internally. We do this by having a strong focus on career development. Every employee has a career development plan in our online performance system. Our intranet has a site dedicated to career progression and outlines all areas of the business, including short videos from people in those roles. Annual succession planning forums identify top talent and are used to pro-actively plan potential movements for individuals as part of their development. The contact centre is the main entry area for external appointments. From there, we train and progress individuals into other roles within the company. Our recruitment team provide interview guidance and feedback post process for all candidates and this can feed into their career development plans to track progress. There are many cross functional teams and projects throughout the business that also give people secondment opportunities to see a different part of the business and learn different skills. In November, we held a ‘Car Festival Day’ for friends and family of staff to show people what we do to promote our industry in the motor space. This is in line with our apprenticeship programme for collision repair or automotive refinishing technicians, mentored by our experienced motor assessors. In the last 12 months we had 197 internal promotions/movement/secondments and believe the opportunities we create for our people builds engagement and ultimately influences our company’s average tenure of 5.2 years.
Diversity and inclusion
AAI has a strong internal culture where staff are recruited based on their values and promoted on merit, naturally leading to a more diverse and inclusive workforce. We are a Diversity Works Member and have focused more on actively acknowledging key celebrations that reflect the diversity of our workplace, such as NZ Sign Language Week, Maori Language Week, Matariki, and Eid. AAI has actively recruited Mandarin speakers to better reflect the diversity of our customer base, and flexible working has also enabled AAI to recruit from a broader age and life-stage. In addition, we have a generous Return-to-Work bonus to incentivise mothers/carers to return following parental leave. We annually review pay rates to ensure we continue to achieve gender pay parity and launched our Domestic Violence policy a year ahead of the legislated changes, and with more generous provisions. Training and development options have been developed to recognise unique preferences/needs and new Unconscious Bias Training has been attended by 86% of Managers to date. Diversity and Inclusion are also integral to our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework, specifically ‘Caring for our people and our communities’. Staff were initially surveyed in late 2018 to establish our demographic baseline with staff focus groups following to dive deeper into the findings. Our activity plan for Diversity and Inclusion in FY20 has recently been finalised and endorsed by our Board as well as key metrics being included in Board reports to track our progress.
Access to technology and resources
AAI utilise systems and resources to enable staff to be seamlessly connected to intuitive tools and simple processes. The systems used maximise mobility and flexibility options for AAI people to work where, how and with whom they want, in line with a focus on ease of use and flexible working options. Communication platforms engage staff and promote cross functional collaboration around the business. Staff rated “the communications, systems and processes” at over 75% in the engagement survey and this number is increasing year on year. We have implemented a Knowledge Base to enable frontline staff to access timely information, performance review platform to enrich their development, virtual training environment to provide robust remote learning and a new engagement survey platform to better capture their feedback. We are currently delivering a new end to end HRIS system to better serve our staff’s needs and developing our customer facing systems to simplify key tasks. We support a flexible working approach and in 2018 implemented technology for all spaces to allow for a fully flexible arrangement across all employees and multiple sites. This included laptops, iPhone, hardware, meeting room units, skype for business capability, WIFI and security hardware to provide a safe and modern space for staff. With our internal system support teams, technology partners, and membership of FinTechNZ, we strive to ensure that staff have access to the latest thought leadership and innovative technology thinking that we can discuss, adopt or collaborate on.
Following a multi-layered approach, staff have access to various channels of communication with their peers, leaders, managers and Executive team. Our intranet provides staff access to not only their own team spaces, tools and resources, important news updates across the company, but also our Executive team via weekly blogs. Staff can comment and interact on blogs and communicate with all areas of the business. The Executive team and the Operational Management team meet monthly and from there, information and updates are shared at regular team meetings that occur weekly or fortnightly, monthly one-on-one time with leaders, quarterly forums as well as cascaded communications via email. As well as this, once a year the entire company gathers for our Executive team to present key areas of focus for the year ahead and to reflect on our achievements over the past 12 months. Everyone is encouraged to actively participate, ask questions and offer feedback. Throughout our larger office spaces, we have digital screens with company updates, significant events, celebrations of staff anniversaries and nominations from colleagues for living our values. Using the recently completed engagement survey, 89% of staff agreed that “the information they need to do their job effectively is readily available”. 78% of staff agreed that “there is open and honest two-way communication”, and 86% of staff agreed that “leaders at AAI keep people informed about what is happening”.
In today’s competitive recruitment environment, and with a diverse workforce, AAI recognises promoting flexibility as an attraction and retention tool. Our Flexible Working strategy continues to evolve with the needs of our people, as has our focus on personal wellbeing and its link to work-life balance. We know that people are most productive and engaged when they feel valued and can balance personal and work commitments. Recent results from our engagement survey highlights the positive impact (≥75% is seen as very positive):
- 82% – “We are genuinely supported if we choose to make use of flexible working arrangements”
- 83% – “I am able to arrange time out from work when I need to” •
- 93% – “The person I report to genuinely cares about my wellbeing”
- 62% – “Over the last four years have you taken advantage of any of the flexible working options”
- 57% – “Have you altered your work pattern to fit in with your lifestyle, e.g. finish early or late?”
“Over the last 12 months I have used the following options”:
- 19% - Cashed up annual leave
- 2% - Taken a career break
- 13% - Purchased lifestyle leave
A permanent contact centre work from home team was introduced in 2017 with specific external recruitment drives and remote training developed. Today 21% of staff work from home in some capacity with 17% of all AAI staff permanently working from home. Flexible Working toolkits have been developed to support leaders and staff as well as a dedicated intranet page.
Health and wellbeing
Our recent Head Office building move provided us the opportunity to ensure we have a workplace that supports our people’s wellbeing. Our wellbeing room provides a private, quiet space suitable for disabled staff and breastfeeding mothers, while a ‘chillout zone’ provides a quiet space for our staff to have some down time. Our new communal lunch room and games room both provide places for our staff to connect and socialise with each other. We have a range of Wellbeing benefits including a $200 wellbeing allowance every financial year, free eye tests, flu vaccinations, access to our Employee Assistance Programme, and discounted health insurance. In 2018, we incorporated Stress/Mental Health into our risk profile to ensure we provide a safe environment for our people and have appropriate support in place for anyone with mental health issues. As a result, we are also trialling a Mindfulness course that provides staff with an opportunity to build awareness around the benefits of proactively managing their mental wellbeing. Health Checks are also offered every two years. This year we provided staff with a premium health check that not only gave staff information about their physical health (including blood pressure and cholesterol checks) but also included a stress questionnaire to encourage a proactive approach to overall wellbeing. The confidential collated results ensure future wellbeing initiatives will be relevant and targeted to our diverse workplace. The Board include Health and Safety as a standing topic and are focused on the safety and wellbeing of our people.
Reward and recognition
AAI has a broad range of initiatives in place designed to reward and recognise employees. Having a strong values-based culture called ‘genuine’, all employees can nominate team members for displaying our genuine values. AAI holds an annual black-tie awards evening to celebrate those nominated, and our overall ‘hero’, is given the responsibility of introducing new employees to our values on their first day. We have a photo gallery in our head office of all past and present heroes displayed proudly on the walls. Every new employee is given a branded gym bag, keep-cup, water bottle, umbrella and stationery on their first day to welcome them to the company. We provide fresh fruit twice a week. This helps promote healthy eating and 5+ a day which ties into our commitment to wellbeing. Every month a new initiative is launched focused on, for example, mental wellbeing, domestic violence, mindfulness, or exercise, etc. All employees receive access to discounted products and services from a number of suppliers. We also provide a Christmas lunch where our CEO and executive team serve the food to our staff. A small annual gift is also provided to all employees e.g. a supermarket voucher to thank them for all their hard work throughout the year. Teams also have an annual allowance they can use to participate in a team event of their choice. We believe that the way we reward and recognise our employees contributes to our consistently high engagement scores, with this year’s rating at 82%.
Over the past twelve months, AAI has averaged a Net Promoter Score of 63% for the last 12 months for both claims and service. AAI has won eight key awards over the past year. At the 2018 ANZIIF awards, AAI was the winner of Direct General Insurance Company of the Year and Learning Program of the Year for our ‘Work From Home’ induction programme. As well as these awards, we were a finalist for Women’s Employer of the Year and Youth Employer of the Year. We have won two 2019 Reader’s Digest Quality Service Awards; for the fifth year in a row we won the Gold award for delivering exceptional customer service for Car Insurance. It was also the ninth year running that we were voted Most Trusted General Insurer by New Zealanders in the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey. We were the overall winner of the 2018 Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers Award for Home and Contents Insurance. This is the sixth time we’ve won this award. Lastly, for the fifth year running, AAI was recognised by the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation survey as being in the top five New Zealand companies for reputation. AAI was the only company in the insurance category to be listed in the top 20 companies. These awards demonstrate consistency of high performance, creating an exceptional experience for our customers, while ensuring highly engaged staff.