Diverse Company Award for Private Sector
Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK. It is also part of the Allianz SE Group, one of the leading integrated financial services providers worldwide and the largest property and casualty insurer in the world. In their 2015 employee engagement survey, 87% of employees agreed that the company has created an environment where people with diverse backgrounds can succeed. This encouraging feedback supports the company’s journey towards greater inclusion. They have implemented a number of powerful initiatives over the years, showcasing their deep commitment to enhancing a diverse workforce. Their Diversity Steering Group consists of representatives from all main departments, and Group-wide, they operate a Global Inclusion Council creating a network of diversity managers and specialists around all Allianz companies. In 2013 they were named one of the Fortune Global 200 companies with the highest percentage of female board directors.
We spoke with Jost Wahlen from Allianz Insurance after they won The Diverse Company Award for Private at The Excellence in Diversity Awards 2016. Here is what he said…
What were your thoughts when you found out Allianz Insurance won The Diverse Company Award for Private?
We were really surprised and extremely happy to be recognised in this way. Over the years we have done a number of things for Diversity, Equality & Inclusion so to get such recognition from an independent panel of judges who are experts in their field, it was just amazing.
How did you feel about the other shortlisted nominees within your category?
They all have a very strong reputation for their business performance and work in diversity. We were extremely impressed and encouraged to be shortlisted alongside these organisations. With these strong contenders alongside us we didn’t think we would be recognised as the winner in this category, but felt very proud that we were.
After winning the award, what are the next steps in term of diversity for Allianz Insurance?
We obviously took the positive news back to our organisation and all the key people who have been actively supporting diversity and inclusion over the years. Our CEO included the great news in his monthly internal newsletter with a picture from the night.
We have several existing working groups continuing our work, for example to better engage with employees of different abilities and to better understand and serve customers with different needs. We also want to keep focusing on recruitment with regards to building and attracting a workforce from diverse backgrounds.
In recent years we have put a strong emphasis on the disability agenda to ensure we better care for the needs of all employees and all customers. We are continuing on that journey – with Allianz globally supporting the Paralympics in many countries. A particular highlight for us this year is that Allianz UK is the official sponsor of the Paralympics GB team.
What impact do you think your diversity work is having?
I believe the work we do has a considerable impact in terms of awareness of us as a company that is dedicated to Diversity, Equality and Inclusion – amongst both employees and customers.
It is first and foremost a shift in mind-set, which doesn’t happen overnight. With the strong endorsement from our senior management we have a good chance to maintain our momentum and to further improve in future. We are all aware that Diversity, Equality and Inclusion are about the openness of minds and diversity of thoughts, embracing differences as opportunities on all levels.
Why do you think diversity within an organisation is important?
Well it touches on several aspects – first of all trying to develop a wider variety of talent in the workforce and better focusing on the customers we serve.
It helps us to be more aware of the individuals around us and allows us to focus on all our customer needs so we offer the right services.
Internally it brings out different opinions and views which allow us to have better conversations, more innovation and in the end better solutions for our customers. It helps us to appreciate the ideas and contributions of our employees which we believe will contribute to us being commercially successful. I believe it will make us also more attractive to future talent.
What were your thoughts on the awards? Did you enjoy the night?
It was a great evening! It was such a good atmosphere with a number of inspiring people sharing their story. All of it was very entertaining, friendly and positive. A special thank you to Paul and the team for looking after us and connecting with us. It was nice when Paul made the effort to come round the tables, it really adds the personal touch.