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License to skill

Once upon a time, building a career followed a template. You finish your studies, overcome the teething troubles of learning the ropes, and then slowly but surely settle into a career that lasts a lifetime.

Then came the internet.

Like any revolution, the digital revolution hasn’t been without disruptions. While opening a world (wide web) of possibilities, it has also drastically shortened the lifespan of skills as customer demands and business requirements evolve as fast as technological features.

As technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science promise a future never imagined before, the skills required of humans have to align with potential needs. Constant reskilling isn’t only for the restless. It’s fast becoming a requirement of workforce for companies to stay competitive in the ever-changing business landscape.

Always striving to be ahead of the curve, Allianz laid the foundations for preparing its workforce a while back. The pandemic only served to speed up the process, with the crisis forcing an acceleration of digitalization and a swift change in work culture.

So what has Allianz been up to? The latest Allianz People Fact Book, an annual summary of the company’s human capital facts and figures, culture and people policies, gives glimpses into some of the Group’s recent initiatives. 

U for upskilling

Driving the reskilling and upskilling movement at Allianz is AllianzU, the Group’s in-house academy.

Its AllianzU Learning Platform, powered by Degreed, offers employees a chance to enhance their skill sets through a user-friendly global social learning interface. So far, the platform has been made accessible to over 72,000 employees of the Group. By the end of 2021, the academy expects to roll out the platform to all employees.

Mindful of the all-pervasive nature of changing work culture, the academy develops programs not just for employees but also for people leaders.

“With a focus on Strategic Workforce Planning, we are establishing an even stronger link between the company strategy, purpose and learning priorities,” says Anastassia Petinova, who heads AllianzU. “Our goal is to provide each employee optimal guidance in the learning world for a rich, effective, and exciting learning experience. Learning should not only serve our strategic goals, but also provide our people best-in-class support to achieve their development goals.”

Among a couple of its recent programs are the Global Accelerator Program, an initiative for employees from all functions to develop in the area of IT or organizational management; and #lead, Allianz’s first ever Group-wide leadership development initiative aimed at equipping managers with the mindset and tools required to lead teams in the future. 

Accelerating progress

Information technology has changed the way we work, the way we do business, the way we live. As digitalization rapidly transforms each aspect of our lives, IT management and organizational management skills will become even more valuable for companies. However, a big workforce gap in these areas is expected in the future.

To plug any potential gaps in these skills, Allianz recently launched the Global Accelerator Program, a 10-month program designed to combine on-the-job learning with functional and behavioral training in these two tracks. The course offers eligible employees theoretical and practical training over five modules. In 2021, Allianz SE, its industrial insurer Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty (AGCS), and regional entities Allianz France, Allianz UK, Allianz Germany and Allianz Turkey are participating in the program.

After the onboarding process, participants go through three rotations: assignment to an agile project that helps them develop an agile mindset; insights into a core IT management or organizational management function depending on the track chosen; and experience in IT delivery or management or an implementation project in operational management.

Over the period of the course, the employees are assigned 80-100 percent to the training and given reprieve from their usual tasks. The program offers a mix of global and local learnings. Participants can also get a short-term, cross-entity assignment to build their skills as well as their networks.

“We steer this global reskilling program together with our entities – from employee selection to the kickoff event to the three rotations, right up to when the participants are transferred to their new or enhanced jobs after 10 months,” says Renate Braun, who is facilitating the Global Accelerator Program with her Operations and IT Academy team. “In each module or rotation, the participants work on clear defined tasks and sub-projects based on defined objectives, which is followed by structured feedback from their managers in the rotation.”

“The aim of the program is to not only fill potential workforce gap in the relevant functional areas but also to increase the attractiveness of Allianz as an employer,” she adds.  

#lead by example

As different surveys since the Covid-19 pandemic have shown, most employees across companies would prefer to have the option of working remotely and flexibly going forward. While this work culture gives employees an opportunity to pick what works best for them, it can be challenging for teamwork and team management.

Collaboration has often been identified as a pain point across the board when it comes to remote working. Rightly so. Even the best leaders would agree that managing people you rarely get to see or bring together in-person needs a lot of effort.

This is where Allianz’s ‘#lead’ program comes in.

The leadership development initiative was launched in 2020. At the heart of the program is the Allianz Leadership Passport, the ‘license’ that people leaders must have to effectively manage teams.

Over 18,000 managers, regardless of level, experience or location, will embark on the journey to obtain this passport before the end of 2021.

The Allianz Leadership Passport will become the minimum learning requirement to be a people leader anywhere in the Group. Managers will get access to virtual, instructor-led experiences and online gamified learning on the #lead platform, plus deep-dives on specific leadership topics. To maintain their passport, they will have to complete 100 development points every two years.

Each development point, earned when the participant does a training module through class, video, podcast or book, equals an hour’s worth of learning.

When it comes to leading people, a high emotional quotient (EQ) is as important as a high IQ. “’Soft skills’ will become ‘hard skills’ going forward,” says Stefan Britz, Allianz’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “Adaptability, creativity and emotional intelligence will be the basic skills that people leaders will need.”

In addition, adequate technological skills will be required for managers to make the best use of digital collaboration tools. Among some of the core topics covered under the #lead program are strength-based and inclusive leadership, digital leadership and IT literacy, change management and agile working.

“At the moment, we define a people leader as someone with direct reports but in the future, we may also consider employees who frequently manage people as part of a project,” says Renate Braun.

allianz people fact book reskilling

Learn together, stay together

The Global Accelerator Program and #lead are just two of the many initiatives under way at Allianz.

Earlier initiatives such as LinkedIn Learning have also found many takers within the workforce. In 2020, the Group’s employees reached a registration rate of 48 percent (more than 68,000) on LinkedIn Learning, completing over 192,000 hours of learning. Allianz is above the highest LinkedIn Learning benchmarks for activation and learning hours. Four of the top 10 courses viewed in 2020 supported employees with remote working and time management during the pandemic.

AllianzU continues to work toward enabling a culture of lifelong learning at the company. As the world around us changes rapidly, the company’s community of experts, learning technologies, and offerings will help employees adapt and stay ahead in their careers.

After all, people who grow together, stay together. 

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with more than 100 million* private and corporate customers in more than 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 785 billion euros on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage 1.8 trillion euros of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are amongst the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2020, over 150,000 employees achieved total revenues of 140 billion euros and an operating profit of 10.8 billion euros for the group.

These assessments are, as always, subject to the disclaimer provided below.

*Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.

Press contacts

Flavia Genillard
Allianz SE
As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements:

Further information

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