Page 4: Creating a new culture is a key part of the change process
Culture refers to the personality and attitude of an organisation. It also includes the shared beliefs, values and behaviour of the employees. These determine the ways in which the organisation and its people make decisions and solve problems. The goal of AEGON's CEO helped to provide a vision for change. Financial objectives were important as the path for future developments depended upon these. It was also important to create more clarity about who AEGON was. With limited awareness of AEGON in the UK, it was important to explain what it had to offer, how big the organisation was within the UK and how strong it was globally. At the heart of this strategy was the need to:
a) simplify financial services and provide more customer focus. It was important that consumers understood more precisely what they were buying, as well as the benefits and services they received
b) develop the workforce. The objective was to develop the skills needed within the business to help it change. AEGON also created opportunities for progression from one job to another in a way that provided individuals with a coherent career path.
c) create a more distinct presence within the marketplace. This involved refreshing the AEGON brand in a way that made it more distinctive from its competitors and more attractive to customers.
A behaviour framework
In order to help embed this culture, AEGON developed a behaviour framework to support its brand values. This was designed to influence how people at all levels within the organisation could work and make decisions. These behaviours emphasise the values of the organisation. They have helped to build AEGON's culture and have also influenced its performance. AEGON also introduced a Management Development Programme, supported by a leading Management College.
The eight behaviours are:
- Think customer
- Embrace change
- Encourage excellence
- Act with integrity
- Decisive action
- Work together
- Learn and grow
- Relate and communicate.
'Think customer' is about 'ensuring that the customer's needs are at the heart of our business, informing actions, decisions and behaviours'. For senior managers this means keeping the customer's experience at the heart of what AEGON does. Other managers and professionals are encouraged to 'innovate with your customers in mind'. All staff are encouraged to keep to commitments made to customers by doing 'what you say you will, when you say you will'.