AXA now has successors in place for two-thirds of its key roles as a result of setting up a centre of excellence for talent management two years ago, the insurance company has revealed.
Talent managers at the centre, who report to HR, run a series of initiatives to identify, develop and promote talent at various levels of the organisation, from graduates to senior managers.
Speaking at a talent management conference in Barcelona last week, Kate Banks, group talent manager at AXA, said that although the company had a graduate programme and a means of identifying high-potential staff in senior roles before the centre was set up, these measures had “mixed results”.
The company took talent management out of the remit of the training and development department so that it was seen to be more aligned with the business, she said.
The programme has created a situation where two-thirds of key positions could be filled immediately and has fostered a more open and flexible culture at AXA.
Four years ago, there was little movement between AXA’s four divisions. Now, around half of middle managers on one of the schemes have moved position in the past 12 months.
AXA now aims to recruit for 80% of key positions from within the company, according to Banks.
Should you say who your high-potentials are?
Judith Moeckell, talent and resourcing manager, Shell Exploration & Production:
“They say the cream rises to the top of the milk, but how do you define cream? It is important that people know that if they do get tagged as a high-performance individual, they don’t necessarily keep that tag.”
Geoff McDonald, vice-president of leadership development, Unilever:
“We say to people: ‘You’re part of a pool of people who have high potential, and there will be competition in that pool. It makes the culture more competitive, than if you simply say: ‘You will get a promotion after a certain amount of time’.”
Meena Anand, head of effectiveness and talent, Standard Chartered:
“We don’t say who the high-potential people are. If you tell your high potentials it raises their expectations. I don’t think our line managers are at a state where they can manage people’s expectations if we tell them.”