Where people and performance matter – The corporate culture at Allianz (Part 2)
After having had a look on what the secret of a good leader is, we will now focus on the aspect ‘Trust’ as part of the corporate culture at Allianz. Trust is a term laden with emotion and an aspect, which is neither easy to describe, nor to measure. But the same time, it is the essential basis for a company and a team to function. Building and maintaining trust is even tougher in a virtual environment, where people often have to work with people they haven’t met in person – which is really common in a company that offers products and services to customers in more than 70 countries.
So, what does the term ‘trust’ mean for Allianz? Well, it is the aim of Allianz of having a corporate culture, in which employees act with integrity, honor commitments and tell the truth.
Remember – micromanaging by your boss shouldn’t even be an option. And it is the same for your behavior with your colleagues: You have to be able to lose the paranoia and trust not only your direct report, but also the colleagues around you. Just try to imagine all the energy you could invest more efficient than in freaking out that you don’t have everything under your control.
On the other side, of course, it means, that you have to be trustworthy. Say what you think, communicate openly, be transparent. Get to know the difference between right and wrong, be straight forward. It should be common standard at Allianz that colleagues treat each other with respect. That also means not to talk about people, but to talk with them.
Allianz encourages employees to act with an ethical behavior; meaning employees should dare to speak up when they see unethical behavior in others. Allianz is certain, that each message can be said in a respectful and constructive matter. Also negative feedback.
If you want trust, you can’t keep the big secrets from others. Don’t have a hidden agenda somewhere in your cupboard. Instead, be transparent and sincerely in what you do – and expect this also from your colleagues. Everyone should have the same amount of relevant information.
Even if the relationships with your colleagues are not as close and emotional as they might be with your relatives, friends or partner, you should build an unit where you can count on those around you without thinking twice. If team members trust each other, failures are also easier to accept; mistakes easier to understand and success easier to celebrate.
How do you build a transparent and trustworthy relationship with your colleagues? Well, trust is something you earn and build over time. But a start would be to spend time with your colleagues. Be mindful, invest energy to build a team, be aware of and accept differences, hear what is expected from you and: listen to each other! Even if the opinions can be diverse.
Diversity and inclusiveness
Diversity is one of the most precious assets for building trust. Diversity inspires and motivates; it creates tension. Be it gender, cultural or social – diversity at the workplace allows a company to reach its full potential. Allianz celebrate its unity in diversity and a healthy mix of employees: 63 nationalities are represented in executive levels across the group. What’s more, as much as 52 percent of our employees are women – an important statement for gender diversity. Even more interesting is the fact that 37 percent of all Allianz managers are women.
Trust in different skill sets and perspectives can make a company strong. In a diverse, heterogeneous team you are constantly confronted with other views and other ways of doing things, which can inspire you to greater creativity in finding solutions. Keep in mind that you are part of something bigger than just yourself.
Corporate social responsibility
Having ‘trust’ as a part of the corporate culture, means for a company like Allianz, also to have a corporate social responsibility and to gain the trust of the public. Allianz is not here solely to make money, but actually to help the customer. Money is a byproduct of success, not the other way around.
To give you an example: Allianz Group’s newly adapted strategy on corporate responsibility is outlined as ‘Embracing the Future’. That means, Allianz uses its role as insurer and investor to help manage the risks arising from climate change and to promote the low-carbon economy. The climate change strategy lies at the heart of Allianz’ business model that aims to protect people and businesses from risks. Allianz also encourages the development of emerging economies and micro businesses.
Trust also implies Allianz’ management of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks and seizing ESG opportunities, while embedding compliance, responsible sales, transparency as well as data protection and privacy across all areas of the business. The global ESG strategy ensures ESG integration in all the insurance business and direct investments of proprietary assets.
So… What does it mean now?
At Allianz, employees not only show customers that they work together to reach the best solution and let them feel their collaboration, but also think about their business in terms of relationships and not simple transactions.
Allianz aims to create an environment where employees treat each other as they would like to be treated. It is the essential objective of Allianz’ strategy to have a strong sense of trust.