saved in turnover & absence costs
reduction in first-year turnover
of candidates enjoyed the assessment
AXA is one of the world’s most recognisable insurance companies, committed to protecting what matters for 105m clients across 53 countries. They employ over 150,000 people globally, with 10,500 in the UK.
Turnover in contact centres was the biggest challenge for Marcelle Foxcroft, AXA UK’s Head of Talent Acquisition. In fact, over a third of their new hires would leave within a year of starting, leading to unstable teams, constant onboarding, and high costs.
But, beyond the turnover itself, Marcelle was also struggling to measure exactly what distinguished those who left from those who thrived long-term. Because these roles often required no specific technical skills or experience, the team needed to see deeper. To find the people that would flourish, they needed to know which traits really made the difference.
Insight & consistency
Before starting their journey with Arctic Shores, AXA’s hiring process included a relatively traditional mix of applications, interviews and assessment centres. This posed two problems:
This traditional approach just didn’t see deep enough into each candidate to achieve Marcelle’s goals. With little real data to go on, AXA needed a more insightful solution that could help determine who would go on to thrive in their contact centres.
The UK team regularly made between 2,000-2,500 hires each year. But the effectiveness of the selection process “was often very much down to the capability of the hiring manager”, Marcelle told us. AXA needed a solution that delivered on their goals, every day, no matter the hiring manager.
Firstly, we needed to discover what ‘good’ really looked for AXA’s Claims Handler and Personal Advisor roles. This involved a four-step process:
- Job analysis
- High performer interviews
- Line-manager workshops
- Validation study (where incumbent role holders completed our assessment)
We incorporated AXA’s competencies into this process, as well as their four key values: Customer First, Courage, Integrity and One AXA. So, after taking these four steps together, we had a clear picture of which behaviours were linked to success in the roles, and an algorithm to accurately measure them in every candidate.
One big discovery was the importance of emotional stability, and how this linked to AXA’s turnover conundrum. Because people tend to make insurance claims at times of distress or difficulty, this often meant that tough conversations were part of the day job in AXA’s contact centres. We found that those with lower emotional stability tended to struggle in these moments, making burnout and early departure more likely.
With this rich insight boiled down into one clear data point, AXA was ready to start hiring the right people in the right way with our assessment.
In a word? “Phenomenal”, says Marcelle. “Whatever expectations we had when we started this journey, I genuinely don’t think we could’ve imagined how successful it would be.”
Marcelle tasked her insights team with uncovering the outcomes of our first year together. They found that hires made through AS…
- Were 18% more likely to stay beyond a year. This reduction in turnover saved AXA £2.5m in costs over the 12-month period.
- Took 41% fewer sick days, saving ~£50k more
- Were more engaged, scoring higher in eight of AXA’s ten Pulse survey categories
- Were entirely representative, with a 50/50 gender split
- Undertook double the number of L&D programmes, and were more likely to be promoted.
And, to top it all off, they also found that 92% of all candidates actually enjoyed taking the assessment. So not only did it overcome AXA’s turnover troubles, but it also delivered an engaging, memorable candidate experience.
On the back of such positive results, Marcelle is now exploring how our assessment can support AXA’s newly-announced Smart Working programme. As it plans for a truly “hybrid” approach to work in future, we’re excited to tackle any new hiring challenges together.