Aviva Presentation and Q&A
Karen Stefanyszyn, Head of Leadership Development for Aviva Group, Aviva
The talent journey has been a long one for AVIVA (a British-based 300 year old insurance firm with 46K employees), -- but finally they feel like they are arriving at a place where employees feel recognized for who they are, and that individual conversations on talent development matter. Karen said, “At AVIVA, we believe that everyone has talent, and do not focus only on high potentials, but instead, ALL valued talent”. This focus is on leadership development for all – and it starts with the individual. AVIVA has a philosophy that “talent is you” – and it’s communicated enterprise-wide. They work hard to flow talent through the organization like an eco-system. While conducting the talent review process became a primary directive, they wanted to ensure it was perceived well by all – and everyone felt good about it…and that’s where we pick up the AVIVA talent review success story.
Overall, AVIVA strengthened their model of learning agility and adopted a seven step process where people have formal talent conversations, which lead to talent placement on a talent grid and determined needed development conversations .The majority of the work iw about fostering the right organizational behaviors around the talent review, as well as thinking around the important talent conversations that need to take place – and candidly, needed to take place differently than they had in the past.
The Talking Talent Process
To ensure everyone is on the same page, let me explain Talking Talent® for just a moment. Talking Talent sessions provide a framework for doing just that—talking talent. Executives and managers use a nine-cell matrix with the axes of performance and potential to openly discuss talent. The core language of learning agility (which AVIVA calls agility) was used to define potential because it is research-based and experience-tested. A nine cell matrix is a method of placing value on an employee in terms of long-term potential for significant growth in responsibility. The goal is building leaders at all levels—a critical priority for successful organizations as “successful executives learn from experience, respond to adversity and diversity by learning new skills and additional ways of thinking.” Recent AVIVA efforts have been about refreshing the talking talent process and continuing the shift from evaluation to true development.
During her presentation Karen shared with us that over time some of the disappointment around talent conversations with individuals was based on misunderstanding, or myth like:
- I can never be considered prime talent if I don’t relocate
- No one can develop learning agility, you either have it or you don’t
- I’m new to AVIVA so I don’t have a performance-over-time rating, with multiple managers – as the process indicates
- Or, (the saddest yet), I am over 40 so I can’t be considered “top talent.”
The process has begun and progress is being made, but AVIVA still has some challenges. The challenges stem around the perceptions of ratings and how to unify the messages to all valued talent. Currently, AVIVA is working on shoring up inconsistencies across the organization. And, admittedly, one of the biggest hurdles is the realization the real work should be invested in the actual talent discussion NOT the paperwork!
Thank you AVIVA for sharing your inspirational global story.
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