Experience, support and networking
Chatting with Katherine Greenbaum, who recently joined the Human Resources (HR) Rotational Program, I learnt about how AXA facilitates the transition into your first career through its work culture and environment. Katherine explained that the HR Rotational Program allows participants to work in three different areas of HR over 1.5 years to assist them in finding and developing their niche.
Graduates in AXA’s Management Rotation Program have a similar experience, with three six-month rotations across the Life and Retirement business. I can definitely relate to the fact that I have a lot of refining to do in terms of how I want to use my university qualifications and this program specifically caters for this ‘early career uncertainty.’
Katherine also found that the rotational program gave her a greater understanding of the range of roles within and across different departments and how they ultimately work together. She was able to meet and network with a diverse range of employees that she might not have had close contact with otherwise.
I also chatted with Jaclyn Diffley, a Customer Experience Associate who joined AXA a mere two months earlier. She really appreciated the friendly and welcoming work environment. In particular, she noted that having approachable managers who gave constructive feedback helped her feel confident in the role she was undertaking.
Carys Murphy, who joined AXA as a Product Sales Associate on the Individual Annuity Sales Desk and now works as a Manager in the Strategic Initiatives Group, elaborated that her managers recognised her own career goals and helped her grow and challenge herself within the company. In her first year with AXA, Carys was selected to participate in the Global Graduate Camp in Paris where she was exposed to AXA work culture on a global scale.
On a personal note, this environment was not something I only heard about - it was something I experienced first-hand during my time at AXA US. From my amazing managers who mentored and supported me on a daily basis, to the countless employees who stopped to introduce themselves - the AXA office made me feel at home in New York City.
The mindset to always keep learning
Over the course of the interviews I conducted it became clear that for many individuals it was the opportunities to learn and develop within the company that lead them to choose AXA to kick-start their career.
During my time in New York, I had the opportunity to attend AXA’s Development Days Program, a series of interactive classes focusing on personal and professional development. These sessions, which are available to all employees, allowed me to hone in on the skills I wanted to develop through practical activities and lectures.
At AXA, Learning and Development has global potential. For example, I met with Luke Greiner who is currently a Manager in Enterprise Development. Luke had the opportunity to attend a “Software Academy” in 2015, a six week training program in Paris that provides an opportunity to collaborate with software experts and improve technical skills, empowering employees to implement best practices back on the job. During my interview with Luke he discussed how this was a chance to network and learn from experts in his field as well as gain international exposure. It was great to hear from both Luke and Carys about how AXA’s presence worldwide allowed them to take up global opportunities at such an early stage of their careers
It is my hope that as a graduate I can continually challenge myself and improve my qualifications. It was therefore important for me to see that from local to global, AXA encourages their employees to be lifelong learners.
Finding your purpose at work
As I come to the end of my six years at university, I have started to realise the importance of having a professional identity. The underlying values of an employer are consequently a huge consideration for someone entering their early career. During my interviews, whether it was with an Executive Committee member or a recent graduate, “having a purpose at work” was continuously reiterated.
In general, there was a significance placed on philanthropy that I think strongly contributed to many employees expressing pride in working for AXA. I got a sense that in each of their individual ways, people felt like they were contributing to a company that “gives back”. For example, AXA US gives over 1.4 million dollars annually in college scholarships for ambitious high school seniors through their AXA Achievement initiative. They are also a proud gold-level sponsor, for the last three years running, of the New York City Pride March.
Learning about global initiatives such as AXA Hearts in Action, the AXA Research Fund and AXA Care opened my eyes to how a company like AXA can use their size and influence to make a real substantial difference to communities around the world. I think this chance to be part of a company that actively makes positive change is one of the reasons graduates and people early in their careers are drawn to AXA as an employer.
So what can you expect?
While starting your career can be a stressful and daunting time, what I took away from these interviews and my experiences is that AXA really works to help facilitate this transition. Everything they do aims to help individuals grow early on in their careers into confident and capable employees with a wealth of opportunities to develop and challenge themselves.
Make sure to check out the @greatglobaladventurer Instagram account for more photos and excerpts from the interviews I conducted during my time in New York!
Until next time,