Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a key component of AXA Hong Kong’s corporate DNA. This is evidenced by the fact that the Diversity & Inclusion Council was set up in 2016 to follow through on the company’s equal opportunity commitment, and to instill the “One AXA” mindset – AXA’s corporate value that the company collaborates and works as a team.

To deliver the promise and cultivate a robust D&I culture, D&I roadshows in the form of lunch and learn, workshop and guest talk are conducted across the entire organisation. This demonstrates that workplace equality is taken seriously by AXA, and the company is determined to walk the talk.

In a nutshell, a diverse and inclusive workplace is the understanding and acceptance of differences, such as gender; ethnicity; and disability, between employees. AXA’s approach to D&I is comprehensive, as it “will not tolerate discrimination based on age, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, marital status or disability.”

When it comes to disability inclusion, AXA sees this as a way to tap into a wider talent pool by focusing on ability and skills rather than physical or other disabilities. This aligns well with the ethos of CareER, AXA’s partner in workplace disability inclusion.

“When AXA was first approached by CareER, we felt the passion of the management team and the dedication in helping students with disabilities to gain competitiveness in the job market by building a platform with employers,” Isabel Lam, Chief People and Corporate Management Officer, says. “The talk inspired the D&I Council to believe we can do a lot more to bring in people with disabilities to the company.”

As it turned out, the passion that ignited the partnership has been going on for four years, and the relationship is a testament to the calibre of talent that AXA has employed.

Kenny, CareER's member, is working

Kenny is placed in Internal Audit team under the CareER Jockey Club Thriving Grass Career Development Program last summer.

“Last year, we had the opportunity to work with two excellent candidates placed in the Internal Audit and Website & E-Commerce teams under the CareER Jockey Club Thriving Grass Career Development Program. We believe it is making progressive changes in the workplace by recruiting new faces, and that’s why we have hired three interns this year and make sure both the interns and staff will embark on a journey to discover new things together. Our vision is to truly realise an inclusive and diversified culture in AXA, where individuals having different backgrounds feel fully engaged and included in our business.” Isabel noted.

The partnership flourishes not only because of a wider pool of talent but also a methodical approach to disability inclusion at the workplace. In essence, AXA’s D&I strategy works well with CareER’s ABLE model.

The ABLE model goes well with AXA’s D&I strategy not only we want to hire an excellent pool of candidates, but also to provide a platform for employers to listen to business best practices and professional tips. The Fair Opportunity Programme which is designed based on this model also helps employers to experience different kinds of disabilities through experiential activities.

CareER works with high calibres candidates who can be of valuable asset to our company. They have a strong management team and often has new ideas on coming up with workshops and activities. For example, during COVID-19, CareER hosted a virtual workshop which worked very well.

The takeaway here is that in order to reap the rewards of disability inclusion, companies should frame D&I as a business strategy rather than an HR programme. Also, companies shouldn’t hesitate to collaborate with a likeminded organisation, as it can help facilitate the process and bridge the needs of employers and people with disabilities.

AXA’s case gives an unequivocal affirmation of how a thoughtful D&I strategy can make the company stronger and empower people with disabilities so that they can develop their capabilities and contribute to society.

CareER provides career development and campus supports for higher educated persons with disabilities and SEN, meanwhile, promotes equal opportunities and disabilities inclusion at the workplace.
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The CareER Jockey Club Thriving Grass Career Development Program is tailored for higher educated persons with disabilities and Special Educational Needs (SEN). During the program, participants will be given training opportunities to build self-confidence, improve personal competence, as well as develop leadership and communication skills. For more information, please visit: https://career.org.hk/key-program/ 

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