Aviva - Cultural Understanding

Our Challenge

Cultural Understanding

In the process of offshoring a finance function, Aviva needed to train up a group of new employees at their UK office. Following training from the existing corporate office finance team, the new team would return to Sri Lanka to provide these services.

Team leader Ravi Sanguhan was an experienced senior manager at Aviva’s London HQ, and had a detailed plan for the training process. However, he felt it was a good idea to start with a relationship-building event to welcome the new team to the business.

The existing team in the UK would act as hosts to the newcomers, with a buddy system in place so that the UK and Sri Lanka teams could work together in pairs and establish a process for the transfer of skills and knowledge.

To ensure the process got off to a good start on the first day, Ravi brought in Maynard Leigh to help due to our experience with team training.

With the thirty people gathered in the room, the Maynard Leigh associate provided a series of exercises that allowed people to get to know each other better; to reconnect and understand each other at a deeper level and welcome the diversity of the talent present, as well as sorting out the practicalities of working together.

The group ranged in age from 20 to 55. The host team based in the UK was already a diverse group of people including those from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India and further afield. Because of this, exchanging cultural differences became an important part of the session, ending with an attempt to describe what the Aviva culture was all about.

People had fun together, laughed, played, improvised, revealed information about themselves and in just four hours took a major step forward in building productive relationships that would stand them in good stead during the months ahead.

Ravi recognised the value of the session which he considered to be excellent and hugely valuable to start building trusted relationships. He added spontaneous feedback from numerous participants, including some of the most more cynical, confirmed: "it was extremely powerful and helpful”.  

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