AIA’s turnaround and the critical role of People Managers on the journey

In early 2010, AIA faced some tough challenges. A falling market share, decreasing profitability, and an organisational culture ranked in the lower quartile of the JRA Best Places to Work Survey. Today, just 18 months later, AIA have transformed both their culture and their results. Climbing to 76th out of 237 participating companies, and improving in 9 out of the 10 areas measured by JRA, AIA are also celebrating increases in new business, customer retention and market share. This is the story of how a thriving culture has helped transform business results and how that transformation has been led by managers of people at ALL levels in the AIA business.

Their results include:

Year on year increases in their JRA culture survey results:

  • 9.8% Increase in overall staff engagement
  • 9.7% increase in organisational alignment
  • 9.8% Increase in innovation
  • 10.2% increase in collaboration
  • 10.8% Improvement in communication
  • 7.4% increase in internal advocacy

Other business results:

  • 2.3% Increase in Customer Retention over last year
  • 32% increase in New Business over last year
  • 47% Increase in Value of new business over last year

From This Session You’ll Learn:

  • The challenges and learnings on the road to success
  • How people managers and their teams were empowered to create a thriving culture and high performance business
  • The methodology that underpinned this transformation
  • The outstanding and sustainable benefits of the AIA approach

About The Speakers

Emilija Nikolic, Human Resources Manager, AIA New Zealand
Emilija has a Human Resources Diploma from Auckland University and has worked with major brands such as Fuji Xerox, Southern Cross Healthcare, Vero Insurance and Aetna Health. Emilija has also worked as an independent HR Consultant and was contracting at AIA New Zealand when she accepted the company’s offer of a permanent role as HR Manager in 2010. Emilija is co-sponsor of the company’s Ngawari programme, the engine behind their cultural and performance transformation.

Jes Smith, On-Brand Partners
Jes is a director at On-brand Partners, an international business partner committed to making a positive difference and lift the performance of individuals, teams and organisations. On-Brand Partners have worked alongside AIA on their turnaround journey.

This Blacksmith Session is aimed at anyone responsible for or interested in unleashing People Manager capability and performance within their organisation including:

  • CEOs, MDs and GMs
  • Functional Leaders
  • HR Directors & Managers
  • L&D Managers
  • OD Managers

About Blacksmith Sessions

Our Sessions are all about connecting people and ideas.  Rather than just getting ‘talked at’, we like to create opportunities for action oriented conversation, connection and collaboration – think of it as a mini-workshop.  Blacksmith Sessions are strictly limited to 20 people and designed to create opportunities for networking without the ‘cringe factor’.  We focus on topical issues, presenting new information in a way that engages, empowers and excites you to go back into your business and have a different conversation.


Nice and easy in the Auckland City Car Park building right next to us.  Entry to the car park in on Mercury Lane, just opposite the Mercury Plaza.