We spent a lot of time at HDFC Life over the last six months on reworking and fine-tuning our Values framework. I and my leadership team travelled across locations and spoke about our new Values to every employee in the organization. I spoke about this being the most important initiative within the organization at this moment. You might wonder about this renewed focus on Values. What drove us to relook at our Value System?
As I see it, there are a few scenarios that mandate organizations to review their Values. I will speak about two such scenarios and how they were responsible, in part, for our move.
Firstly, your business context might have changed significantly over a period of time and you are expected to keep up with it. Fast food and Cola companies are good examples of this. The increase in health awareness and environment consciousness in the society have led to these companies include Health and Sustainability into their Values framework. This is a signal to the world and to their employees that we are going beyond paying lip service to these ideals. We will run our business with these values at their core. It marks a commitment that isn’t easy to go back on. In our case, we had first defined our Values framework circa 2001 when the company was founded. There wasn’t a private insurance sector at that time and we didn’t know how the industry will shape in future. We created a Value framework based on the ideals of the HDFC Group and what we thought would work best in the interest of our customers and employees in this sector. Thirteen years on we find the sector has matured and we have learnt our lessons on what’s critical for long term success here. As we discussed, we found some of our current Values had to be changed or redefined to be relevant. For instance, we changed Teamwork as one of our Values to Collaboration. We realized that as the industry has grown, our need to work outside of our teams - with our vendors, partners and distributors - is a critical element of our success. So, we had to change.
The other scenario is when you realize some of your Values need to be made sharper and more easily understood because their importance has gone up significantly. For us, Integrity was one such value. Life Insurance industry in India (and across the world) has been dealing with scourge of mis-selling for a long time. This has gotten worse despite the efforts of the serious players in the industry and the regulators. Too many players in the market, short-term management focus, unscrupulous distributors, and workforce prone to high attrition have all contributed to a scenario where integrity is seen as a malleable virtue. We felt the impact of this in our business too. It hit home when a website ran a sting operation last year that showed how easily some of our employees could fall prey to a temptation (though most didn’t and our process controls wouldn’t have let in such transactions). So, we decided to make Integrity as a value easy to understand. We had more than six easy to understand views on integrity and we tied anecdotes and stories from history, mythology, business and real-life examples from field to them. More importantly, we defined and included in integrity calling out all acts that you see violate integrity in the organization. No longer was it good enough to have personal integrity. You had to raise your voice if you see others fail at it.
We have now started a process of making sure the new Values framework go beyond the posters and the banners within the organization. We have appointed two Chief Values Officers in the organization who are part of the Executive Council. They are working on institutionalizing the new values within the organization. This includes training, designing incentives, leading by example from the leadership team, changing our appraisal system and the potential review process and a few other out-of-box ideas that will embed values in every decision making process. This is a long haul and there were multiple occasions in the last six months where we had to take a decision that would be painful for the short term but in sync with our Values. The temptation to say this isn’t being done by others in the industry or this is a standard practice in our business will always be there. We have bitten the bullet and taken the short-term pain every time. And, we will continue to do so.
Mr Amitabh Chaudhry has been with HDFC Life since January 2010. HDFC Standard Life is today recognized as the premium brand in the insurance space and is one of the India’s largest private insurers. Before joining HDFC Standard Life, he was the MD and CEO of Infosys BPO Ltd and was also heading the Testing unit of Infosys Technologies Ltd.View Complete Profile
A critical aspect of a retirement plan is how and where to invest. The assets you choose to invest will vary depending on several factors, which include your risk tolerance and investment time horizon.
According to a study by the Insured Retirement Institute, only a few women consider becoming financial planners because they deem the job stressful and uninteresting. The time has come to stop relying on someone else for financial security. Financial planning is nothing but determining short and long-term financial goals, and creating a balance to meet these goals.
Swabhimaan Careers is one of HDFC Life’s strategic initiatives to build long-term customer relationships. The overall objective of insurance is to compensate the financial loss caused due to untimely death of a bread winner.
The Vision and the Mission continue to be relevant and set out aspirations for an organization. But the question that an organization needs to ask is how do they get there? Is it possible to define a 'decision architecture' that guides actions of each employee?
For millions of people in India, the concept of life insurance still remains a mystery. Thanks to the new media channels, more and more people are becoming aware of the significance of life insurance. For those, who wish to develop fundamental understanding of the concept of life insurance, here is a quick snapshot.
Consumer is king. With the shifting of focus on the goods and services reaching out to the consumer rather than the other way round, Mobile learning embodies just that, by taking training not just to the doorstep but also to the learner in person. Just as an individual is empowered to carry his office with him at all times, M Learning empowers him to carry his training program with him, shattering the barriers of space and time.
Reinsurance is an insurance that is purchased by an Insurance company from one or more other insurance companies to manage the risk. Reinsurance helps in transfer of risk from one insurance company to another. It is also called “insurance for insurers” or “stop-loss insurance”.Read More