What makes Aviva an exemplary employer

We talked to the company's HR director about how focusing on a key human trait helped her firm become one of Singapore’s top employers

What makes Aviva an exemplary employer
>HRD sat down with Anuradha Purbey, HR director at Aviva Singapore, to find out why her firm was named as one of the winners of the TAFEP Exemplary Employer Award 2016 in April.
At these awards, Aviva also garnered Special Mention for Outstanding Leadership in Supporting Fair and Progressive Employment Practices.
Both these achievements came down to one key company-wide quality: trust.
“One of the things that my team, my leadership team and I are very passionate about is if we trust our people, are our policies aligned to reflect that trust?”
The virtue of trust must be embedded in every policy and process – designing everything on the assumption that most employees come to work to do the right thing.
“For example, we did away with the need to produce medical certificates,” she said. “This is a big deal in Singapore because I’m told that not a lot of companies have done away with them.”
Aviva approached the issue in a very simple manner, Purbey added; “If people are sick they need to be honest enough. They should not be using their sick leave as an entitlement.”
There was also little value gained by the need for medical certificates since they weren’t actually used for anything when handed to HR, she added.
While Aviva eliminated the need for medical certificates, the firm also put analytics in place to catch those who took above average amounts of sick leave.
“We design policies so that we trust 98% of our population base,” she said. “For the two per cent of people who do not follow our values, let’s go after them.”
However, she added, the element of trust also applied to this additional two per cent. For instance if sick leave increased for certain teams once medical certificates were not required, Aviva would investigate why instead of instantly laying blame.
“You use data to have these conversations. It may not be linked to people misusing their sick leave; it could just be that people are stressed.”
By focusing on trust, Aviva has been able to build responsibility and accountability amongst employees, putting the onus on them to do what’s right within the organisation, she said.
“What we have done is move away from output to outcome. How you deliver results is fine as long as you stay within the agreed guidelines.”
This allows Aviva to work on simply adding value within the organisation rather than focusing too heavily on processes designed to catch those unaligned to the company’s principles.

Anuradha Purbey will be speaking at the HR Excel conference on 1-2 June. Click here for details.
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