Listen to AXA Chief Agency Officer Jason Wat and Distribution Training Director Claudia Hodges talk about the acclaimed AXA Academy and find out what makes AXA Academy the deserving winner of the Academy of the Year Award title.
There’s no end to learning. While everyone has heard of this saying, AXA truly realizes it.
Named Academy of the Year, AXA’s Academy is not the usual orientation that people would expect when starting with a company. Far from it. Designed to groom their agents, find their strengths, and place them in the suitable buckets, all the way from retirement, wealth management to health, AXA’s Academy puts their financial planners through intensive and on-going training programs.
“Having knowledge is the backbone and is fundamental. Then we build on knowledge to develop the attitude. Attitude is the essence of professionalism.” The design of the whole curriculum is based on two elements – competency and commitment. When these two components are in place, an in-house training program is developed based on the KASH training concept.
K – Knowledge A – Attitude S – Skills H – Habit
Just like many other insurance companies, all AXA agents start by receiving new agent training, which equips them with basic knowledge—the importance of insurance and financial planning. On top of that, AXA Academy instills the “One AXA” concept in their agents, i.e., learning about life insurance and MPF and other investment products. All newly-hired AXA financial planners go through intensive training in their first year.
“So, when we design with that knowledge base, I started to look for external help.” As for agents with a few years of experience under their belt, AXA Academy aims to equip them with more knowledge and professionalism. It is where external experts come in. These experts, e.g., consultants and educational institutes, help expand the agents’ knowledge base and horizon. A series of leadership training programs are also available to nurture and prepare junior leaders for senior leadership roles.
“I put a lot of effort to help them to open their eyes, open their minds and to be humble.” Apart from knowledge, attitude is also important. Therefore, mindset training comes on top of the whole curriculum. It is to open the agents’ eyes and minds and for them to learn to be humble and to be able to learn more from others.
Top producers or leaders own at least one-third of AXA Academy’s programs to equip agents with better selling skills.
“Our purpose is not only business but also to equip our financial planners with a vision that they’re… impacting others … Always be the one that can help others.” As a whole, AXA Academy’s curriculum is purpose-driven. Ultimately, agents are groomed to become experts in their fields. An example would be a tailor-made course recently developed in collaboration with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It aims to prepare agents to become experts in the medical field so that when potential clients come across medical or health issues, they would immediately reach out to these AXA agents.
“What we need to do is to embrace the technology, embrace the opportunity.”
Insurance is a people industry. 2020 was exceptionally challenging, particularly for new agents who had to start from scratch and build up a rapport with potential clients without face-to-face communication. Lucky for them, though, AXA embarked on its digital journey three to four years back, making it possible for their agents to communicate with potential clients digitally. For example, chats on iPad and applications being submitted via mobile devices.
“All our training has is on how to put our customers first; to understand their needs, know your customers. That’s basic for everybody.” AXA’s corporate culture is all about ‘Customer First.’ All training at AXA Academy is about putting customers first, understanding their needs, and knowing the customers. In short, agents need to think like their customers.
With a new program coming out every week, learning really never ends at AXA.
This episode is hosted by Elsa Pau, CEO of WealthAsia Group, with her co-host, Marc-Karim Baloch, a Spencer Stuart’s Financial Services Practice consultant.