Andrew Leigh meets Rohit Malik, Aon Hewitt’s HR Leader in India
Aon employs over 72000 people worldwide. As we’re looking at ethical leadership, does anyone in the company actually talk about ethics?
Rohit Malik, Aon HR Director:
We have a clear focus on operating with ethics and maintaining zero tolerance for any mal practices and corruption. This behavior is driven top down and exists across all levels of Aon.
Our processes make sure everyone follows the prescribed Code of Conduct and ethical practices. Each colleague must complete an annual online certification programs. Also, since we operate in the insurance industry, there are regulatory requirements in various parts of the world.
We’re not just focused on making profits. We also believe we’re making the world a better place to work for employees; a better place for organizations in the sector that we operate in; and overall a better place for our communities.
Andrew: How far is Aon’s international success based on its ethical approach, or is this just incidental to that?
We’re a global firm focused on two of the most important issues in our economy today: risk and people. With over 72,000 colleagues across 120 countries, we have global values and ethical practices. As industry leaders, we don’t compromise on our Code of Conduct.
India is about 20% of Aon’s workforce. We operate as a united firm and this helps us cascade the culture consistently across the geographies.
It helps our competitive advantage that we attract the kind of talent who know what to expect. In India, our workforce is relatively young. We not only provide jobs, but also help colleagues learn and establish careers.
From the time a colleague joins us, we provide them with a culture, strong on core ethics, and integrity. This helps them imbibe these as part of their professional growth. We talk about our values and we reiterate what we stand for. We also talk about what we do not tolerate. : We consistently share firm messages around our culture and zero tolerance for compromising on integrity.
Andrew: In India company integrity often means a focus on the long term and having a social mission. How important are these to Aon?
Extremely important Andrew. We cannot be successful in unsuccessful communities. While it’s important to be effective at serving our clients and meeting our revenue targets, we also focus heavily on our corporate responsibility across the globe.
Each year, Aon colleagues come together to make a difference in their communities. We call it the Empower Results Day for Communities.
In June this year thousands of Aon colleagues across the globe donated time and resources to various charity partners. It is wonderful to see them delivering community service all on the same day, which really unifies Aon.
There are sustained initiatives with teams focused on giving back to the community. There are charity programs for which we are long-term partners across the globe.
In India for example, we specifically focus on areas such as sanitation, hygiene and education for the underprivileged. There are also some other important social initiatives which reflect the commitment Aon has to work in sustaining corporate social responsibility.
Andrew: There is a strong connection between ethical leadership and fully engaged staff. How does Aon view engagement? Is this taken for granted or is it something you work hard to create?
Great question and I’m glad you asked! Engagement for us is a line of business. We advise our clients on a variety of human capital issues—including engagement. Our own employee engagement is therefore a key effectiveness metric for all of us as people leaders.
At the start of the year, we conduct a comprehensive employee engagement survey. Our 72,000 global colleagues provide feedback on a series of questions. The survey has tight controls, with only a select few having access to the final data to maintain the confidentiality of colleague responses. This helps ensure people provide honest and complete feedback. The survey provides a baseline for year-on-year improvement.
When employees are engaged our research shows the firm’s effectiveness and productivity improves. There’s obvious business sense in investing in an engaged workforce. Driving engagement is a clear goal for our people leaders—all the way up through to our CEO, Greg Case.
We’re a professional services firm. Our talent is our key raw material. The foundation is delivering excellent services to our clients. So our success depends on investing in our talent and driving engagement with our global colleagues.
Andrew: Obviously, engagement is built into your culture now. How much is culture seen as a competitive advantage?
It’s a year-round conversation, Andrew.
In fact, a couple of years ago we started to articulate our value proposition for our colleagues—the Aon Colleague Experience. Our engagement survey data showed highly engaged colleagues have frequent positive experiences around four key elements: impact, people, opportunities, and support.
Our colleagues make a difference with clients, in their communities, and with each other. They work with the best—from world-renowned thought leaders to like-minded team members focused on empowering results for clients.
They own their career potential, with opportunities to gain new experiences and continually learn. And, they’re supported by those they work with, be it their managers, leaders, or team members.
These four anchors embody our culture and differentiate Aon from other firms.
From the moment of a colleague’s recruitment they hear stories about impact, people, opportunities, and support. It’s a way of life at Aon and the foundation for a number of programs—recognition and development, for example.
I’m not saying building a culture is easy. Leaders, managers, and colleagues must all make sure the four elements of our colleague experience come to life every day.
We cannot just visit our firm’s culture occasionally. It must be an ongoing conversation. That comes through in how we deliver to clients, is reflected in our brand, is part of everyday colleague conversations, and is ultimately built into Aon’s DNA. We believe we’ve gotten those things right, and so we do see our culture as a competitive advantage.
Andrew: Given your focus on ethical and engagements, how would you advise other aspiring Indian companies about being an ethical organization
Integrity is Aon’s core value and the guiding principle for our decisions and actions in the workplace. Aon’s commitment to uphold high ethical standards is an important part of our history and culture.
In today’s competitive and rapidly changing business climate, doing the right thing has never been more important.
As Aon, we don’t compromise. Reputation takes a lot of time to build and it’s a lot of collective effort and investment.
Aon is a leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource consulting and outsourcing. It has over 72,000 colleagues worldwide.
This is from a series of discussions with senior Indian executives about their companies’ ethical leadership.
Andrew Leigh will be talking about Indian ethical leadership at a Maynard Leigh India event in New Delhi on December 13th 2016.
For a personal invitation please contact Vivek Arora, (9810811385): firstname.lastname@example.org