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AXA Winterthur Makes Employees Fit for Digitalization

Insurance company AXA Winterthur is taking control of its own destiny in occupational training and is open to new ideas. The result is an exceptionally rigorous and adventurous way for AXA Winterthur to achieve success. Overall, more than 4,000 employees and 2,500 sales representatives are benefiting from this strategy and contributing to the business success of the AXA Group with nearly € 100 billion in annual revenues.

How is the world of learning evolving in the face of the four megatrends of greater connectivity, new business models, personalization and globalization? All embedded in digitalization, these developments are presenting occupational training with fundamentally new challenges, according to learning architect Dr. Janosch Türling. What happens, when at some point a Google algorithm replaces sophisticated professionals such as tax consultants or investment bankers? A highly qualified team at the AXA Academy is already addressing such topics ahead of time, true to the slogan, “ready for tomorrow”.

From directed to autonomous learning

Inspired by Jane Hart’s model, “Modern Workplace Learning” (2015), AXA Winterthur is pursuing the principles of “push, pull, peer and personal” in its 2020 strategy to extend training and to develop an ecosystem in which AXA can evolve into a self-learning organization. “Push” refers to traditional learning according to schedule, whereas with “pull” learners grab knowledge bit by bit for themselves as required – this is where tt guide comes in.

The next stage is the “peer” principle – continuous learning as part of day-to-day work, for example sharing knowledge and experiences in communities. The inal stage is “personal”, in which the learner uses external offerings alongside internal learning opportunities, such as on the internet or within professional networks. At the moment, learning at AXA is overwhelmingly in the irst two categories of push and pull, but peer and personal are coming ever more strongly into focus.

This demands a major transformation in the company and among employees, starting with the provision of new learning materials and embracing new tools and processes, through to a change in the learning culture. In future, AXA will indeed provide such a learning ecosystem, but each employee must take responsibility for his own learning and “employability”.  

All embedded in digitalization, greater connectivity, new business models, personalization and globalization are presenting occupational training with fundamentally new challenges.


The path to digital awareness

The AXA Academy was already very keen to embrace innovation, experimenting with a broad spectrum of tools. Its first intranet training took place in 1996, and virtual classrooms also have a long tradition. Since 2008 it has been using tt knowledge force. “A few years ago all project leaders wanted e-learning”, said Stefan Schnegg, Head CC Learning.

“Today, they would like videos.” Schnegg and his team are open to offering employees whatever serves the purpose and is future-oriented. At the moment they are experimenting with training via smartphones. But not all employees are digital-savvy. On the road towards digitalization the AXA Academy has offered the necessary support in an exceptional way over the past year.

Every two months a special Facebook-style online platform invites employees to grapple with the effects of this trend: what does digitalization mean, how does it impact everyday private life and how is it changing various business sectors and customer relationships? A digital assistant, a quiz and the chance to collect points help to extend knowledge and to overcome resistance to too much digitalization.  

Let’s check it out

Video-based learning nuggets, a sales magazine with personalized content and QuickAccess, with which the field staff can retrieve all learning content, are just some examples of how AXA is using digital opportunities to train its employees and raise performance. But the journey continues. They are already discussing technologies whose potential they would not want to forego: they have already considered virtual reality learning for customer meetings and a so-called self-advisory tool, which makes individual recommendations  available to the employee after a couple of questions.

And even when it comes to the topic of the internet of things, AXA has been using iBeacons technology, which has already been integrated into the sales environment, for learning purposes. At the moment AXA is considering an artificial intelligence-based platform, “Ask your BRAIN”, which promptly replies to the sales rep’s questions. There are plenty of ideas and AXA Academy has the people needed to make them reality.