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Euler Hermes: People-Centric above all else.

Euler Hermes, part of the Allianz Group, is the global leader in the credit insurance market. The company was founded over 100 years ago and possesses an unparalleled wealth of business intelligence. Euler Hermes is investing in its people and their knowledge of companies around the world. Serhat Kakçi explains why ‘People-Centric’ is the number one priority at Euler Hermes.

Serhat Kakçi is operating within the Regional HR team of Euler Hermes Northern-Europe and is responsible of all HR-Controlling & HRIS activities. Part of the job involves overseeing all HR-related Controlling processes. He is also responsible for all the company’s HR information systems (HRIS) for the Northern-European region.

‘My job includes everything related to HR Controlling, such as FTE reporting, HR Budgeting and HR Cost Tracking. I am also the first and single point of contact when it comes to the HR systems we use. Furthermore, I serve as PMO for various HR projects that are being launched in Northern-Europe,’ says Kakçi. ‘It’s an incredible challenge, because we have 7 business units spread out over 15 countries and having 1,700 employees within my scope. Fortunately, things are going really well.’

Kakçi has developed at lightning speed ever since he started as an intern at Euler Hermes just four years ago. His organisation is known for offering ‘high potential’ employees, like himself, an opportunity for rapid growth. It’s all about development. Euler Hermes is investing heavily in its human capital as the new ‘People-Centric’ approach of its ‘Confidence to bold’ strategy creates a basis for mutual success.

Future skills.
It’s important for us to build for the future and invest in future skills. Think about digital transformation and all that it entails in a working environment like ours. New systems are constantly being developed. Things are becoming more convenient for our clients, but our employees have to keep up with all these changes too. Even within our organisation, there are those who find the constant changes quite intensive. Then you also have those who get a lot of energy out of change, which is vital to how our organisation deals with digital innovation.

Euler Hermes is the largest credit insurer in the world and we want to keep it that way. That can only happen if we have the right people working in the right positions’, says Kakçi. With its new strategy, Euler Hermes will be focusing for the next three years on establishing a basis that is Data-driven, Nimble, Empowering and People-Centric.

‘Within our region, we’re investing in our people, and not just in their development. We also believe that a healthy working environment and engaged employees are just as important. Engagement is and will always be essential to our organisation.

Within Northern-Europe, we are focusing on being a compelling place to work and striving to be and remain the employer of choice for our new and existing employees’, explains Kakçi.

Work Well.
‘At Euler Hermes Northern-Europe, we’re investing heavily in the well-being of our people. We’ve created a framework called Work Well, which is designed to help our people maintain a healthy working environment and culture and, above all, to promote a healthy lifestyle and body-mind balance’, says Kakçi.

‘An essential component of Work Well is our stress awareness training, which we developed in collaboration with soft-skill provider Schouten Global.’

Stress Awareness.
‘We created the stress awareness training program together with Schouten Global to achieve a better work-life balance for those who participated. We chose to launch the pilot program for this training in Russia. Traditionally, it is considered unusual to talk about stress in Russian culture. Despite that, the program was very well-received, and the response was so positive that we immediately decided to roll the training out in all our other countries. The program has received an overall rating of 8.8. Some parts of it have even scored above a 9’, says Kakçi. ‘I focus on making strategic choices and know that I can leave the operational side to my local colleagues and the expertise of Schouten Global.

It’s been a big success so far. We’re receiving very positive responses, and people are really enjoying taking part in the program. We’re raising awareness about vitality and stress and helping people to develop in areas beyond their job-related skills. Euler Hermes offers virtually the same program in all countries in which it operates. However, the trainer is free to include additional topics to adjust to the context of the national culture or topics related to a specific office.The local HR staff is always directly involved in the program and sometimes suggests additional topics.

Other Work Well initiatives.
‘In addition to the stress awareness training, we have more initiatives that are part of the Work Well Framework. For example, we offer all our people (>45+ years) the option to perform Physical Health Checks, including a complete check-up of their biometrics, blood values, blood pressure, vascular system, physical fitness and neurological system.

We also give our people in some countries the option of doing a so called ‘Pulse Check’. This pulse check is an ‘Employee Satisfaction Measurement’ tool where we can track the level of happiness of our people. We find it very important to analyse the happiness of our people so we can develop activities to increase the happiness level.

Not to forget, the launch of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The EAP offers our people support outside work when dealing with issues that are impacting the workplace and/or the personal life (e.g. responsibilities at work, family issues, developing resilience, financial planning, legal concerns) of our people. The service is completely confidential. The results are never shared with the organisation. There’s also an e-coaching version of this service.’

Mobility and Career Development.
In addition to our heavy investments in our people’s development and well-being,we also find it extremely important for our people to remain fit for work in the long term, as well as having a wide range of employability. Within our region, we’re investing in our employees’ mobility.

We are actively promoting this topic as Northern-Europe is a complex region. There are many small countries with cultural and operational differences. By taking a structural approach, we’re able to achieve greater consistency throughout the region. Mobility is part of our Career Development Campaign (CDC) at Euler Hermes, which is providing our employees the opportunity to remain international mobile. Think about performing diverse roles (cross-functional), but also to work in various countries (cross-geographic). As a result of our investment, 48% of all job vacancies at Euler Hermes Northern-Europe were filled internally in 2018.’

‘All HR-related projects and initiatives that we start for our employees are part of our ‘People-Centric’ approach. This approach hasresulted in outstanding retention statistics. The number of employees that leave our organisation is historically low.’

We are proud!
‘For us, these statistics prove that investing in our people, devoting attention to a positive working environment and creating the right work-life balance make Euler Hermes Northern-Europe a strong, attractive employer’, explains Kakçi.

‘This is also being enforced by the results of the Allianz Engagement Survey (AES), in which we are scoring higher year after year. We’re incredibly proud of this.’

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