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‘Mission Customer’ through great employee experience: a cultural shift at Apollo Munich
Lipi Agrawal | HRKatha | New Delhi | Tuesday, 16 May 2017

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Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company, shares how ‘Mission Customer’ has been a cultural transformation drive and how employees across the organisation see meaning in it.

Change begins at home, and therefore, if an organisation seeks to bring about a change in its customer experience, it first needs to focus on its internal customers’ — the employees’— experience at work. It goes without saying that good employee experience translates into customer delight, and Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company (AMHI) has embraced this as a strategy to keep its employees motivated and customers satisfied.

Health insurance, unlike other products and services, is a complicated thing to sell and manage. Although, it has its own terms and conditions, the context in which health insurance is used, is mostly not pleasant. Considering that most buyers or claimants are in a difficult or stressful situation while availing these services, the health insurance professionals need to be cognizant and careful of how they deal with their clients.
Apollo Munich has been sustaining a customer-centric work culture that begins at the time of recruiting each new hire and reflects in customer experience.

In line with this ethos, AMHI has been sustaining a customer-centric work culture that begins at the time of recruiting each new hire and reflects in customer experience. The framework, named ‘Mission Customer’, defines the specific behaviours that help create an impeccable customer experience through a robust value system.

AMHI’s CEO, Antony Jacob, conceptualised and propagated this initiative along with defining the C.A.R.E principles that stand for — compassion, accountability, responsiveness and expertise. “It is crucial that starting at my level up to the lowest level, all employees in the organisation understand what it means  to follow the C.A.R.E principles, see value in it and know how that translates into their role,” Jacob says.

From the CEO to the lowest level, all employees at Apollo Munich understand what it means  to follow the C.A.R.E principles, see value in it and know how that translates into their role.

The elements of the C.A.R.E principles entail being compassionate both towards customers and peers; being accountable to customers, to the managers and ultimately to the organisation; being actively responsive to all customer needs, placing them above anything else; and lastly, seeking and displaying knowledge and expertise in one’s domain or product or service to stay relevant at all times.

Jacob tells HRKatha that “To be able to reach out to each employee in the organisation and to embed the C.A.R.E principles across various roles, levels and verticals, the entire people processes— right from recruitment to assessment to rewarding— are all backed by the values defined under Mission Customer.”
It is mandatory for all new hires at all levels to take the C.A.R.E culture fit psychometric test. It helps raise the quality of recruitment by ensuring better cultural fit of new hires, thereby aligning all stakeholders on the C.A.R.E principles and creating a cohesive picture within AMHI.

For the hiring decisions, the company uses a psychometric tool called the ‘C.A.R.E culture fit’, to assess every new employee on 27 behavioural parameters. This tool helps identify the gap between the levels of proficiency required to excel in an AMHI environment versus the candidate's current level of proficiency.

“It is mandatory for all new hires at all levels to take the C.A.R.E culture fit psychometric test. It helps raise the quality of recruitment by ensuring better cultural fit of new hires, thereby aligning all stakeholders on the C.A.R.E principles and creating a cohesive picture within AMHI,” Jacob explains.

Even the orientation process for the new hires is in line with the C.A.R.E principles ensuring the success of the vision of the organisation. Each employee at AMHI follows a standard communication process that includes among others, the audience, the communication channel (training, meeting, bulletin board posting, e-mail and so on) and the person who will communicate. Jacob shares that the training programmes are focussed on developing the leaders of tomorrow. Along with their I-card, joinees are given a quality policy card which highlights Apollo Munich’s values, vision and mission.  

The management committee (comprising the CEO, DCEO, CFO & CPO) and the executive committee make it a point to get out at every opportunity (in meetings / employee connect), to mingle with employees (during office visits) and talk about the values (thinking and acting transparently, managing relationships, inspiring passion, delivering on our promises, and being responsive to our customers) and C.A.R.E principles.

To further encourage and reinforce the values, the company rewards employees with the CEO’s Values Award. “To reinforce the understanding of the vision, mission and values, it also forms part of the annual individual performance review and development process. Each individual has key performance indicators that are directly or indirectly linked to the vision,” Jacob elaborates.

Such deep-rooted understanding and acceptance of organisational ethos require a strong cascading process that begins right at the top. At AMHI, it is because of an efficient top-down approach that employees at each level believe in and abide by these values.

Jacob shares that, “The management committee (comprising the CEO, DCEO, CFO & CPO) and the executive committee make it a point to get out at every opportunity (in meetings / employee connect), to mingle with employees (during office visits) and talk about the values (thinking and acting transparently, managing relationships, inspiring passion, delivering on our promises, and being responsive to our customers) and C.A.R.E principles.”

Under Jacob’s guidance, to further strengthen the values of the company, the C.A.R.E Excellence Awards have been introduced, which are announced on a quarterly basis. Nominations are invited from respective reporting managers and approved by the concerned executive committee member.
The reporting managers identify employees demonstrating C.A.R.E. behaviours and recommend their names for the awards along with the necessary C.A.R.E. stories/situations captured, to the respective functional heads, who, then review the nominations and forward them with their inputs/ comments to HR for consideration. The nominations are then evaluated by HR to finalise the list of awardees.

The reporting managers identify employees demonstrating C.A.R.E. behaviours and recommend their names for the awards along with the necessary C.A.R.E. stories/situations captured, to the respective functional heads, who, then review the nominations and forward them with their inputs/ comments to HR for consideration. The nominations are then evaluated by HR to finalise the list of awardees.

The winners receive gift vouchers, a customised wooden certificate and a quarterly stay on the AMHI Wall of Fame. Apart from all the above, “What makes a journey, such as this, successful, is the sincere intent of the leadership and their discipline and commitment to walk the talk,” Jacob opines. The results are reflected in the external surveys and renewal retention rate of the company, which stands at a whopping 90 per cent, while the industry average is only 70–75 per cent.

How well the customer-centric approach, strong values and C.A.R.E principles at AMHI are all embedded in each of its employees, and how they carry these in their day-to-day work lives is a process that begins with Jacob himself and flows down to the bottom. “It is a journey,” he says, “and we are constantly focussed upon improving everything we do. With great passion and strong belief in our value system, we try to stay ahead of the game,” he concludes.

© 2016 HR Katha
Last modified on Tuesday, 16 May 2017

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