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Published: 20 Jan 2015

Allianz, Finalist 2013, The RBS Best for Flexible Working Award

Sector: Insurance
Location: All UK
Employees: 4,500

Allianz recognises the importance of the family and the need to support working parents and carers in ways that help them balance their work and family lives. The starting point is the understanding that parental (and caring) responsibilities are constant irrespective of the time of day and that everyone is different in their approach to parenthood or caring and ways of dealing with its demands.  Allianz therefore wants to ensure that both current and new parents and carers get all the help and support they need, offering the best possible support to help them find their individual best fit for combining the different roles they have. All employees are allowed to request a flexible working option. Currently, a large number of our employees work flexibly, many of them informally.

Like most organisations, customers and other business needs drive working hours. This sometimes makes it difficult for employees to accommodate their commitments outside work, or other life choices they make. Allianz encourages discussion about options for flexibility in the way work is done and our business objectives achieved, for mutual benefit. Several types of flexibility are possible and are already being used, as long as they support both the individual employees’ interests and the business objectives.

In practice, this means a wide range of flexible working options are available. A flexible working brochure explains these benefits. As well as giving examples of this in action at Allianz, it provides factsheets on employee’s legal position, the procedure for formal requests and a template for discussing flexible working. These include compressed hours; home or remote working; additional holiday purchase; job-sharing; term-time or part-time working;  time off for medical appointments; varying start and finish times to coincide with childcare; extra hours being compensated for by time off.

Allianz offers emergency leave so that parents can deal with serious problems affecting their dependants. Managers are encouraged to use their judgement and discretion in the application of family-friendly policies, avoid bureaucracy and have due regard to individual circumstances and rights as well as those of the staff team.

Enabling flexible working is one aspect of the Allianz approach to promoting diversity, especially attracting and retaining talent, and also to accommodate the different roles employees often have inside and outside of the workplace.  This has enabled them to employ and develop employees who have other caring or parental responsibilities outside work; they can work on a part-time basis, or with flexible hours on a full-time basis. Employees towards the end of their professional career who have made a choice to reduce their work hours can still make valuable contributions to the organisation and pass on their knowledge to the next generations whilst scaling back their time.