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calendarMay 10, 2023

Assessing internal talent on a global scale at Generali

A renewed focus on internal talent is one of the trends emerging from the global pandemic. At Generali, where a move to virtual assessment was already on the roadmap, a new assessment solution has enabled the multi-national insurance giant to select talent for its global development programme fairly and at scale without

Generali is a global insurance company with more than 72,000 employees across the world. Headquartered in Milan, Italy, the Generali Group is one of the most significant players in the global insurance and asset management market.

Three years ago, Generali embarked on a new journey through the launch of a new group strategy with a mission to become a lifetime partner to its customers. The new strategic context necessitated a new lens through which to identify internal talent. Generali runs a global internal talent development programme to identify its future leaders and as part of the new strategy implementation, the Group Leadership Development team, decided to re-visit their approach.

Through this project we had the opportunity to identify our future leaders virtually, leveraging on technology to increase candidates’ experience offering them a seamless, fair and deep developmental experience. We have already seen the value in the solution.

Group Leadership Development team, Generali

The Objective: Assessing global internal
talent at scale

In 2020, Generali needed to assess hundreds of candidates in more than 50 countries. In switching from their existing solution to the Sova solution, Generali wanted to address the following key objectives:

  1. Identify a different kind of leader to take the business into the future in line with the new group strategy.
  2. Create a worthwhile, engaging and in-depth developmental activity which is targeted at some of Generali’s best people.
  3. Ensure fairness. As this opportunity is career changing it’s important that those who enter the group talent pool do so fairly.
  4. Run the centre efficiently with increasing participant numbers. Any new solution would ideally reduce cost and administration time.

The fostering of a different organisational culture meant that the people who would drive the company in the future would drive it in a completely different direction to the past. These are the people who we want to accelerate to strategic positions across the globe and the assessments change the careers of people who enter the group talent pool. We knew that adding tech would help us achieve our goals.

Group Leadership Development Team, Generali

The Solution: A fully virtualised process

The Group Leadership Development team worked with Sova Assessment alongside management consultancy, Mercer to develop a fully virtual assessment centre built around Generali’s new competency model. Although the programme was already in development before COVID-19, the move to digital has minimised disruption to the programme with the new centre going live in June 2020.

The Generali virtual assessment platform is simple in its branding, presentation and flow. In line with Generali’s strategy, the focus is on simplicity and customer
centricity as well as making the best use of technology.

Since its launch, the team have received hugely positive feedback from the global community of colleagues, candidates and assessors. Candidates have fed back that they’ve found the experience deep both in terms of quality and personal development, yet simple in terms of access.

Flexibility: Generali had three different candidate groups (leaders, managers, professionals) all of whom needed a different journey through the development centre. The Sova platform was able to accommodate this along with the requirement to integrate with existing software so that all data can be collated in one place, but the experience remains seamless for the candidate.

Candidate experience: Candidates enter the centre through a branded homepage and can navigate through a welcome area and pre-work before the assessment day itself. Depending on the candidate’s level of experience they will work through individual and exercises, business cases plus one-to-one conversations. All participants receive a feedback session, something that the Generali team was keen to incorporate to ensure the experience is rewarding and developmental.

Ease of use: For assessors and candidates, the centre is easy to manage with assessments, interviews, scoring and analytics all in one platform. If needed, the one-to-one conversations can be carried out in-person. This part of the centre remains flexible given the uncertainty around future travel. For a complex global organisation, the talent team wanted to showcase an effective yet easy to navigate solution.

Fairness: Fairness by design is at the heart of what we do at Sova. Our experienced psychologists and data scientists use thoroughly tested methodologies to ensure fairness throughout the assessment process. As the development centre is hosted virtually, all candidates experience the same preparation, resources and assessors meaning that the playing field is level.

At the beginning there were some doubts about a completely virtual solution, but we have seen a change in perceptions and a lot of interest quite quickly. Involving our colleagues and participants in the design process of the solution and connecting it with the strategic ambition of the company helped a lot with the level of adoption. Plus, we have continued working with them to improve their experience – putting them at the centre, improving it, and adding new features based on feedback. Colleagues globally have enquired about rolling out similar technologies in their markets. It’s had a big impact.

Group Leadership Development Team, Generali

The Result: Fair and inclusive talent
development at scale

There is a strong belief at Generali that its leaders should be at the forefront of driving the business in a new direction. Through this project, the leadership and development team has translated the new company strategy into core talent development processes that will help new leaders take the business into the future.