Be bold at work every day

posted by on 27 Mar 2017

On March 8th, we joined the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. How did we mark the event at AXA? We asked employees at our London office to share their advice and inspirational messages about how we can all Be Bold For Change at work.

“Beat your own drum more!”

Beat your own drum more - graffiti advice from AXA staff

A study found that women often hold themselves back by stepping aside for men when it comes to receiving credit for success. Now’s the time to stop being modest about your achievements. Be strong, stand tall and be counted. Understand your value, sing your own praises and make sure that the people around you understand the effort you put into your job and the great results that you produce. Why not forward that email of thanks to your manager to show them how well your hard work has been received? 

 

“Don’t be shy to say you have childcare commitments!”

Don't be afraid to say you have childcare commitments - graffiti advice from AXA staff

Being there for your children shouldn’t impact on how you’re seen in work. If you need to leave work on time – do it! We know that meeting the demands of work whilst enjoying life at home with your family and friends can be hard to juggle, that’s why we give our employees all the support they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance – relieving stress and increasing productivity.

 

“Speak up. Speak out!”

Speak up, speak out - graffiti advice from AXA staff

According to a study into gender inequality at work, on average men do 75% of the talking in meetings. We’re committed to having a more gender-balanced workforce and developing female talent across our business, so if you’re not doing so already, speak up and let your voice be heard! Why not challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone in your next meeting?

 

“Judge people by what they do, nothing else!”

Judge people by what they do, nothing else - graffiti advice from AXA staff

We should all be judged and judge other people on their actions and their work - not on their gender, sexual orientation, religion or the colour of their skin. We’re proud to foster a culture that enables every employee to bring their whole selves to work. After all, we spend a lot of time at work, so we want to make sure that it’s as enjoyable as possible.

We thoroughly enjoyed showing our support for International Women’s Day and are proud to support women across our business.

Writing on the graffiti board for International Women's Day 

categories: AXA people  Life at AXA 

Seven ways to feel happier at work

posted by on 20 Mar 2017

Not feeling like you’re making the most of every day? Want to feel more productive? Here are AXA’s top seven ways to bring a little more cheer to your working day.

 

1. Start the day on a good note

Take just a few minutes to breathe and savour your morning cup of tea, coffee or breakfast. Focus on what you’re eating and drinking. And, don’t log on to your emails until you’re at your desk. If you’re able to walk to work, or get off the tube or bus a stop earlier, just 20 minutes of fresh air has been found to boost happiness and feelings of well-being.

2. Get away from your desk

We’ve all been there, work starts piling up and before you know it, it’s 3pm and too late to take a lunch break. But set an alarm, make sure you get out from behind your desk and go for a walk or hit the break out room. It’ll not only boost your productivity but make you feel much better overall.

3. Be mindful and meditate

If you start to feel stressed or just want to increase productivity, there are a couple of quick meditations you can do right at your desk. Try sitting with your feet on the floor, closing your eyes and placing one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Inhale for four counts, exhale for four counts and repeat. Or you could try doing a body scan – closing your eyes and noticing every part of your body, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Taking a minute to do a body scan, can really help you get out of your head and back to the present moment.

4. Help someone else out

There’s no doubt about it, helping others makes you feel happier. So grab a cup of tea for a colleague, offer to type up notes if they’re busy or ask if anyone needs any help. Even getting the door for someone with their hands full, it’s just spreading a little happiness that counts. 

5. Start big

Looking at your daily to-do list, tick off bigger tasks first as you’re more likely to be productive in the morning – and feel motivated when you’ve completed larger items.

6. Ditch the distractions

If you’re bombarded with hundreds of emails a day that end up taking your immediate attention, look at whether you can set restrictions on when you look at and respond to emails. It’ll make you more productive during the day and you’ll be in the right place to respond.

7. Think positive

It’s easier to remember the bad rather than the good, but just jotting down in your phone or notebook about what’s gone well for you before you go to bed will help you frame the day in a more positive light. And if you’re already pre-empting a busy morning ahead, write down what you’re thinking about so it’s off your mind.

categories: Careers advice 

Why an apprenticeship offers the perfect balance of learning and earning

posted by on 17 Mar 2017

Welcoming two apprentices into my department was one of the best decisions I've made for the business, says Helen Bradshaw, Head of SME Client Delivery for our SME Sales and Service Centre in Leicester.

Back in 2014, I'd heard about the benefits of apprentices and was really keen to bring some fresh talent into AXA to help our business grow. In return for their hard work, I wanted our new apprentices to become a real part of our successful world-leading and customer focused company.

Working very closely with a local college, I wanted to source the best local talent we could find. Emily and Charley were both successful with their applications and they joined my department in the autumn of 2014.

The perfect balance

Emily and Charley both worked really hard to balance their day-to-day role with studying for their NVQ qualification. They both quickly became valued members of the team and I was extremely proud of them when they successfully completed their Apprenticeships in 2015. It's been fantastic to see them develop their abilities and skills and since 2015, they have both progressed into different roles and are further developing their skills and experience in a customer service environment.

Achieving ambitions

While employing people with previous customer service skills and experience is necessary for the success of our business, there's also definitely a place for enthusiastic and motivated individuals. I'm a huge advocate of our apprenticeship scheme as I believe it's essential to give people a real opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience and support them in gaining additional qualifications to help them achieve their ambitions.

I can't wait to meet and welcome our new apprentices later on this year!

If Helen has inspired you to find out more about apprenticeships at AXA, you'll find out all you need to know on our Apprenticeships page. Good luck!

categories: Apprentices 

Think you know apprenticeships? Think again.

posted by on 15 Mar 2017

What do David Beckham, Ozzy Osbourne and Stella McCartney all have in common (apart from being super-famous and very wealthy)?... They are all former apprentices. Yep, that’s right – before they became rich and famous, these celebs decided to kick off their careers with an apprenticeship. Now, we’re not guaranteeing that an apprenticeship will lead you to fame and fortune, but it’s definitely an excellent, debt-free way to start or change your career. Still not convinced? Here are a few things that might surprise you

1. Apprenticeships are just for school leavers, right?

Wrong! Apprenticeships are open to everybody and are, quite simply, an alternative route into employment. So whether you’re 16 or 60, looking to retrain or jump on the career ladder, you’ll find that there are plenty of apprenticeships for you to choose from – across all industries.

2. Apprenticeships are only for blue-collar roles

Nope, they’re not.  From Customer Services to Digital Marketing, there are now over 250 different types of apprenticeships available. Industries that have traditionally been associated with university, like accountancy and law, are becoming increasingly accessible through apprenticeships – and as the price of university continues to rise, it’s no wonder that more and more people are considering the apprenticeship route.

3. But surely I’ll learn more at university? 

It depends what you’re looking for. Apprenticeships are a great way to earn, learn and gain qualifications at the same time – some of which are offered at a degree level or higher. And with the newly launched Apprenticeship Levy (which is encouraging employers to improve apprenticeships) their value is only going to continue to increase. As an apprentice, you’ll be earning immediately and gaining hands-on experience that you wouldn’t get at university – and you won’t be clocking up substantial debt either!

4. Apprentices are glorified tea makers

So you might make a tea round every day, but so will everyone else in your team! At AXA, from day one, you’ll get stuck in to real work alongside industry experts and professionals – and your ideas will be just as valued as everyone else’s on the team.

5. I’ll never progress as an Apprentice

Wrong. The training and qualifications that you gain during your apprenticeship are highly regarded by employers. At AXA we offer training that will lead to a nationally recognised qualification, so you can be sure that the skills you develop here will really open doors for your career.

Here at AXA, we’re always looking for enthusiastic, passionate people to join us. Curious, creative thinkers who are prepared to work hard and put the effort in to excel. If that sounds like you, why not head over to our Apprenticeships page to find out more and see what opportunities we currently have to offer?

categories: Apprentices 

Take control of your career in 2017

posted by on 6 Feb 2017

Now that the January blues are out of the way, it’s time to get excited for the year ahead. Here are our top 7 tips to help you take control of your career and get you where you want to be.

1. Reflect on the last few months and look ahead to the future

What have you enjoyed about your role recently? What hasn’t been so good? Where do you want to be in a years’ time? Assessing your current work situation and figuring out where you want to be in the near future will stop you becoming complacent and make you proactively work towards your goal.

2. Branch out and get involved

Learn to say “yes” more. Why not ask to get involved in one big project a year? Or you could volunteer to take on a few smaller tasks that you wouldn’t usually get involved in. It’s a great way to try new things, expand your skills and impress your manager along the way.

3. …But make sure you don’t take on too much!

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re trying to impress and progress in your career, but if you say “yes” to everyone, you’ll be inundated before you know it and unable to complete all of the tasks to the best of your ability. Sometimes it’s okay to say “no”.

4. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated

Writing well-informed articles and sharing content will increase your network and your personal brand. You never know when you might need your network, or when they might offer up an excellent opportunity - so start building it now. Connecting with people is a great way to discover new roles, and you never know, one of them might be able to help you land your next job.

Why not share this blog to get you started?

Learn more about building your personal brand in our previous blog

5. Keep track of your achievements throughout the year

From big projects to good deeds, keep a note of your achievements throughout the year so you have them on-hand for your next annual review. Also remember to save any positive feedback that you receive from your colleagues or clients to back up your hard work.

6. Sort out your work-life balance

Staying late to finish off work is okay once in a while, but not all the time. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital. Make sure you keep your dinner dates and don't check your work emails before bed. Having trouble switching off at night? Keep a notebook next to the bed and jot down anything on your mind which is keeping you awake.

7. Give more constructive feedback (and learn how to accept it)

It’s not much use telling someone that their work’s not good enough if you don’t give them any suggestions as to how they can improve. That said, it’s also vital that you learn to accept constructive feedback from others – it’s how you’ll improve and expand your skills, and become better at your job. 

categories: Careers advice