Building an age inclusive working culture at Aviva

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Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva shares his thoughts on why businesses should create a more age inclusive experience for employees and customers, and how Aviva are putting this into everyday practice.

We all have an age. My employer, Aviva, is 325 years old, having begun its life in 1696. It is arguably the oldest private insurer in the world, and has insured many notable customers over the years including Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Winston Churchill and the Titanic. Aviva’s age brings experience.

Today, Aviva employs 16,000 people in the UK. They all have an age too, from the youngest at 17 to the oldest at 77 – a spread of 60 years. Our goal is to create a culture which allows all to give their best. Our mantra is to create a culture where age is no barrier to opportunity. In doing so, our people win, our business wins and our customers win.

Aviva’s customers all have ages too, and their ages are at the core of our business. We serve 15 million people in the UK throughout their lives – from insuring a first time driver, to helping someone fund social care in later life. If we don’t understand, appreciate, and celebrate all ages, we will fail.

Aviva’s Saving & Retirement business is particularly attuned to the UK’s increasing life expectancy. We are reminded that 100 years ago, King George V began the tradition of sending telegrams to people on their 100th birthday. Back then, he sent just 24 telegrams. This year, the Queen will send nearer to 10,000.

Our increasing ages are to be celebrated, but our longer lives in retirement must be paid for. There are only two levers that most of us can pull to fund our longer later lives; these are to save more and/or to work longer. If we choose to pull neither, we face the third unsatisfactory lever of retiring poorer. There is no magical fourth lever.

Our increasing ages are to be celebrated, but our longer lives in retirement must be paid for.

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva

Aviva wants a world where people can thrive in later life. As a business, we support millions to save more and we increasingly invest in helping our people work longer too.

For example; we invest in career development for all ages, we offer flexible working from day one of employment, we support those who care for elderly relatives as much as we support those who care for younger children, we promote health and wellbeing for all, and we have over 350 apprentices – including our oldest who is 68.

For three years now, Aviva has been championing the mid-life MOT. This is an annual “check-up” for those aged 45-60 on their wealth, work, and wellbeing. We offer this to our own people, to the employees of employer clients, and to the wider public too, via our free mid-life MOT app. We’re delighted that the government is also investing further in mid-life MOTs.

Our evidence shows that the mid-life MOT boosts individual confidence. As an employer it enhances retention, productivity, and participation.

Aviva is a supporter of the Business in the Community (BITC) Age Leadership Team and resources on the BITC website provides a great insight into how to be an age-friendly employer.

In closing, if your annual report proudly boasts “our people are our greatest asset”, ask yourself if this applies to all your people, of all ages? If not, I suggest you are failing your people, your business, and your customers. Act today for a better tomorrow. You won’t regret it.