“We Needed to Go From the Traditional to the Digital.” A Look at AIA Singapore’s Digital Transformation.

January 8, 2019

See AIA Singapore's experience with LinkedIn Learning and how it helped in their digital transformation.

AIA Singapore, one of the largest life insurance providers in Singapore, isn’t just focused on succeeding today. It’s focused on succeeding for the long-term.

“There is that recognition that we need to prepare the organization for what’s ahead in the future,” Learning and Talent Development Senior Manager Cristy Ranada said. “We needed to go from the traditional to the digital.”

And that means the company is going through a digital transformation via a three-tiered approach: the digital customer, the digital agent and the digital employee.

Cristy and Lorraine Chua, who is the head of talent and organizational development at AIA Singapore, are focused primarily on the latter – the digital employee, under the guidance of CHRO Aileen Tan. A large part of that effort is strengthening how they develop their employees, from relying mostly on in-person training to investing in digital learning solutions.

“We realized we were relying a lot on classroom training previously, and that wasn’t in the spirit of what we were trying to accomplish,” Lorraine said. “We are fortunate to have the strong support of our CEO throughout this transformation journey. Patrick Teow, CEO of AIA Singapore, is one who truly believes in people development and has given us the investment we needed to have our learning offerings match our company’s strategic goals.”

They used part of the investment to acquire LinkedIn Learning for all employees. The usage of the platform has been astronomical – in the six months after LinkedIn Learning launched, 94 percent of AIA Singapore employees activated their licenses, with the average user spending nearly two hours each learning on the platform over that time.

That has helped AIA Singapore continue its quest for digital transformation. But there’s been a secondary benefit as well – employee engagement has spiked because of it.

Specifically, in their annual 12-question Gallup engagement survey, AIA Singapore asked employees two questions on how they feel about development opportunities at the company. Year-over-year, those two questions saw the biggest increases within the survey, leading to a higher engagement score overall.

“We were overjoyed when we saw that,” Lorraine said. “That's attributed to the many learning and development initiatives and programs we have experimented and rolled out, but LinkedIn Learning is definitely one of them.”

Why AIA Singapore Invested in LinkedIn Learning: The Content was Up-to-Date, Taught by Experts and Personalized to Each Employee

Cristy and Lorraine were both brought on a year ago under Aileen to help digitalize the employee experience. To successfully do that, they needed to invest in the right online learning platform (keyword: right).

After all, it would be one of the biggest investments they’d make as the talent development team.

They considered several online learning platforms, including ones they had experience with previously. But they landed on LinkedIn Learning – which was new to both of them – for a few key reasons:

  • The content was up-to-date. “Whatever is trending in the market, you’ll see on LinkedIn Learning,” Cristy said.
  • The platform’s instructors are real-world experts. “What we liked about LinkedIn Learning is the instructors are practitioners, instead of coming from an academic or theoretical approach,” Lorraine added. “That makes it so much more engaging.”
  • Its recommendation engine connects employees to the right content. “The fact that the content is recommended based on employees’ goals – that’s really powerful,” Cristy said. “It’s a personalized learning experience. And that matters.”
  • The brand affinity people have for LinkedIn. Lorraine said most AIA employees know and have a favorable opinion of LinkedIn, making them more likely to appreciate LinkedIn Learning. “The name in itself helped sell it,” she said.

Rather than roll out LinkedIn Learning via a pilot, the organization went all-in in April 2018 and bought licenses for all 1,200 employees at AIA Singapore.

“We believe strongly that everybody should have a license – it is an investment that we believe is very important for all employees to have,” Lorraine said.  

How AIA Singapore Drove 94% Activation and Incredible Engagement of LinkedIn Learning: Their CEO was a Leading Advocate of the Platform

AIA Singapore’s usage stats of LinkedIn Learning – 94% activation and nearly two hours per employee of learning time in just six months – are nearly double what’s expected of a company of their type. How did they do it?

Perhaps the biggest driver was Patrick, their CEO, embraced the idea of learning and became their biggest advocate of LinkedIn Learning.

“He really believes people can’t stop learning,” Lorraine said. “He told us, ‘We are in this together’.”

Fulfilling his promise, Patrick often begins his meetings with his department heads asking how they are using LinkedIn Learning among their teams. The message is clear – “I believe in this platform, use it.”

Department heads have come up with a variety of ways to drive learning within their teams, from impressing its value to people managers to curating and recommending playlists of courses on relevant topics for employees. Several department heads also asked Cristy to speak to their teams and talk to employees about how they can best use LinkedIn Learning.

“This whole push isn’t just coming from HR,” Cristy said. “To have people use LinkedIn Learning, we need leadership to encourage people to do it.”

This focus on growth has led to a better employee experience as well, which is reflected in the engagement numbers. A perfect example is Tan Hau-Keat, Head of Digital Sales & Marketing Platform at AIA Singapore, who used LinkedIn Learning to successfully transition from a role in product marketing to digital marketing.

“When I started my new role, I realized there were plenty of subjects I wasn’t aware of,” he said. “So, I found LinkedIn Learning useful – it gave me confidence as it helped me work through those subjects.”

“And, it’s microlearning, I could cherry-pick exactly what I needed to learn,” Hau-Keat added. “And the content is great. I’m quite appreciative the company had offered it to me.”

Post updated on April 9, 2019.