The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Allianz promotes employee development

With millions of customers worldwide, Allianz has grown to be one of the world’s largest insurers, investors and assistance providers. Recognising that learning and development is a key differentiator in the financial services industry, Allianz employs a wide range of learning and development approaches to develop its people, which include on-the-job learning, mentoring and coaching, classroom training workshops, peer circles and digital/mobile learning.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Allianz published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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In 2019, Allianz invested over 85 million Euro in developing its employees  Tweet This!, equivalent to 613 Euro per employee. Around 75 percent of employees took part in at least one training session, and an average of 3.3 training days per employee were delivered. In order to promote employee development Allianz took action to:

  • establish Allianz University
  • offer Strategy Campus programmes
  • implement a global performance management approach
  • attract talent
  • develop strong leaders

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Allianz identified a range of material issues, such as climate change, human rights, environmental and social products, social and financial inclusion, customer innovation. Among these, promoting employee development stands out as a key material issue for Allianz.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Allianz engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Investors ·      Annual General Meeting

·      Dialogs and roadshows

·      Ratings and benchmarks

·      Website, Sustainability Report, rating results e.g. DJSI

Customers ·      Customer surveys and dialogs

·      Learning from and sharing customer insights

·      Review of financial services sector developments

·      Research and development to support product innovations

·      Net Promoter Score (NPS)

·      Allianz Risk Barometer Survey

Society ·      Partnerships for civic engagement

·      Thought leadership on global issues

·      Panel discussions and roundtables

·      Foundations, donations and volunteering

·      Press events, journalist surveys and roundtables

·      Formal dialogs with NGOs and ESG professionals

Employees ·      The Allianz Engagement Survey (AES)

·      Employee dialogs and networks

·      Corporate volunteering programmes

·      Events for employees (including the Allianz Sustainability Forum)

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Allianz invited employees to pick their top three issues from a list of 15 issues perceived to be of most relevance to Allianz, receiving 1,339 responses, and also asked, through the Allianz customer marketing survey, retail customers across 27 countries to identify the three most important issues for Allianz in the short-term (0-3 years) and in the future (6-9+ years), receiving 27,636 responses.

What actions were taken by Allianz to promote employee development?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Allianz reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee development:

  • Establishing Allianz University
  • Allianz University (AllianzU) is the group-wide home for employee learning activities. Its vision is to provide every employee of the Allianz Group with the right programme to support their continuous development. It does this by providing accessible learning technologies that empower employees to equip themselves with the right information, at the right time. AllianzU unites group-wide learning and development opportunities, creates new learning content and frameworks, and realises opportunities to reinforce a culture where people and performance matter. To increase its impact and efficiency, AllianzU provides digital opportunities such as LinkedIn Learning @ Allianz. Allianz was one of the top users of LinkedIn Learning globally in 2019, based on the number of employees accessing the platform. Other digital education offerings include eBites and an Open Source Online Learning Library. AllianzU is also developing a new state-of-the art learning platform, aligned with the strategic workforce planning project. It will provide high quality learning content focused on digital skills and includes learning paths for different employee groups based on the outputs of strategic workforce planning. The new platform, developed in 2019, has been launched across pilot operating entities in January 2020 and will provide a ‘one stop shop’ simplified learning experience for employees. It will leverage content from inside as well as outside the organisation to provide high quality learning programmes for all employees.
  • Offering Strategy Campus programmes
  • Strategy Campus programmes are firmly aligned with Allianz’s strategy with a global focus. Each programme is sponsored by a Board Member and leverages the strategic priorities set by the Renewal Agenda, with the focus on:
    • Key challenges critical to Allianz’s business transformation by supporting impactful implementation that delivers competitive business value;
    • A developmental leadership experience that creates more than the sum of its parts and builds trust; and
    • Building an international network of colleagues across functions and companies to maximise collaboration.
  • Each programme is designed in collaboration with a Board sponsor and comprises three training days, plus pre- and post-programme activities. In 2019, 161 people took part in five programmes, including 28 percent women. Going forward, Strategy Campus will incorporate thought-provoking, innovative and future-smart scenarios to empower Allianz leaders to propel the cultural transformation in the digital age.
  • Implementing a global performance management approach
  • Performance discussions (including Priority Setting, Mid-Year Check In, and Year End Review) as well as Personal Development Plan (PDPs) and ongoing feedback are key tools for enabling Allianz’s employees and managers to discuss competencies, skills, experience, performance and potential. Allianz’s global performance management approach now covers more than 24,000 employees, with the rest covered by local performance management processes. The goal is to cover all Allianz employees globally with the global Performance management approach as part of the HR Transformation. The Multi Rater Feedback tool enables Allianz managers to gain feedback from their peers, direct reports, managers and others and is based on Allianz’s four people attributes. This feedback is important for providing a transparent basis for development. In 2019 the Multi Rater was further refined, focusing even stronger on qualitative feedback.
  • Attracting talent
  • In 2019, Allianz recruited more than 23,000 external candidates. When looking to attract especially digital talent, Allianz is exploring new and innovative ways to reach out to potential candidates. For example, by establishing the Allianz employer brand in a new interface. Via Google Assistant specific candidate groups are targeted through online challenges, making them aware of possible career opportunities. The One Allianz Career Website puts the candidate in the centre and simplifies their user journey by making it much easier for them to browse through opportunities across the Group. In 2019, more Allianz entities were on-boarded into the One Allianz Career Website. The One Allianz Career Website combines 40+ local and operating entity specific career websites. Candidates can switch between different countries and vacancies and, no matter where they may be, view all positions available at Allianz worldwide. This enables content to be targeted to attract scarce talent, leading to higher number of quality applications. To position itself as an attractive employer, Allianz also runs a global Instagram careers account. In 2019, local Allianz entities shared career opportunities and showcased their employees and work places around the world. This was well received by employees.
  • Developing strong leaders
  • The Group sponsored Allianz Management Programme is designed to equip the next generation of global Allianz leaders with the knowledge, mindset and skills to lead in an inclusive meritocracy environment. In the last three years, it has been completed by over 190 participants, 49% of whom were women, from over 20 different operating entities. In 2019, it was completed by 64 participants, 50% of whom were women. Allianz’s long-term success depends on fostering strong leadership skills at all levels. The Allianz Leadership Development Programme is a group-wide programme for experienced leaders that provides participants with development support for their next career step to a senior executive role in the near future. Over the past three years, 91 of Allianz’s high potential leaders have completed this programme, of whom 42% were women. In 2019, it was completed by 31 new leaders, 54% of whom were women.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee

2) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs


Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee corresponds to:

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

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  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
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1) This case study is based on published information by Allianz, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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