Allianz Partners: Keep business going (while keeping the social distance)

//Allianz Partners: Keep business going (while keeping the social distance)

My name is Bianca Mirciov and I work for Allianz Partners Global Competency Center in Bucharest since 2018.

I am Claims Operational Manager for Allianz Care Ireland and Germany AGCS leading a back office team of 30 people covering languages such as German, French and English. Our customers vary from big companies such as aviation or marine global market leaders up to individual medical policy holders.

When hearing about ABSL project ‘Keep working while keeping distance’, I immediately took the challenge of sharing how we, at Allianz Partners in Romania, kept the business going during this challenging times.

At a very first glimpse back in the early days of 2020, when we heard about this virus in China, none of us has really imagined it would hit Europe so hard. When things started evolving extremely fast in Italy and cross Europe, in early March, we kicked off with a very thorough planning of  putting in practice our business continuity plan. Main goal was to keep Allianz Partners Romania a stable center, able to support both the business as well as our colleagues from the most affected countries.

First priority was obviously how to keep our employees safe and at the same time keep the business running. At local level, we started aligning with the other Allianz entities and we followed the Group common approach.

Following our plan, we had proactively started shifting as many employees as possible to work from home, especially those who could carry on doing their job without any interruptions.

My team, being a back office one, was amongst the first teams to get to work from home.

Of course the initial days came with the first challenges. For those of you reading this and not knowing about us, we are a regional and strategic service center for the Allianz Group worldwide and we do have a very large call center platform. Moving this part of our business in a 100% work from home setup was one of the most difficult and challenging parts. Working close as a management team together with our IT department and our customers to be able to get all needed accesses and to assure all the remote hardware to employees previously working only in the office had it’s very big challenge, but we made it happen together. It took us only one week to have all employees working from home and we managed to make this happen right on time before governmental lockdown had been declared. A great achievement for all of us.

When everyone was safe at home we started regrouping at a management level, researching and brainstorming how to improve remote management during pandemic times and how to keep our employees motivated and productive. In the same time we kept a very close eye on operational KPIs measuring on daily bases the impact of decreasing or increasing volumes and taking actions to mitigate the fluctuations in different business areas.

From the beginning we knew that as leaders, we play a very important role  in the message we send out and we started working on how to communicate efficiently. We organized coffee video meetings at team levels to recreate the office vibe from the old days, shared snaps of our homes and of course some recipes. Our HR team together with our books provider have initiated a book delivery service for the employees. Our communication team has sent out daily tips and tricks regarding how to set up our home office, daily excesses routine together with our healthcare providers, we organized remote contests where several team members were supposed to work together and we even organized a video meeting for the employees kids as they saw their parents all day in conferences and wanted to experience this, too.

All together we stayed connected, worked hard but also enjoyed funny coffee talks and used the time saved on our way to the office and back for spending quality moments with our families and relax our inner self.

Looking back at the last 2 months working from home myself, I think the first zoom meeting with one of my teams was my favorite moment.

Now moving to the future, at a professional level, as a manager, I would say we will definitely look from a different perspective at the remote working and why not even when hiring new colleagues give them the opportunity to be based anywhere in the country since we as individuals, as teams and as a company have proven it works. At a personal level I will continue to work with myself to slow down and appreciate all that life offers.

As a company, at Allianz Partners, we will continue to make the employees’ wellbeing our priority as this is highly impacting both the employee engagement and motivation of the team members to deliver excellent services that surpass our clients’ expectations.