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What's keeping me up: AXA HK and Macau's Angela Wong

What's keeping me up: AXA HK and Macau's Angela Wong

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Talent crunch has been one of the most talked about issues within Hong Kong in recent years. In fact, three out of four companies in Hong Kong are having difficulties sourcing talent for Q1 2024, despite a slight improvement in the availability of professionals, according to ManpowerGroup Greater China’s report. 

The local marketing industry is no exception. That’s why Angela Wong (pictured), chief marketing and customer officer, AXA Hong Kong & Macau said she always prioritises people development and talent acquisition in the first place.   

To cultivate a work culture that fosters open communication and ignites creativity within the team, she believes in creating a trusted and empowered working environment infused with positivity.  

In this episode, Wong shares with us her biggest worry during her time as a marketing leader and what keeps her going. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What is the biggest thing you worry about?   

I would say one of my primary concerns revolves around people. After all, they are our valuable asset within the company. In the field of marketing, we rely on diverse expertise to make things happen and deliver integrated marketing outcomes. That's why my priorities are people development and talent acquisition. By fostering a strong company culture and ensuring that we have the right people in the right positions, we can truly drive the success of the company.   

In the marketing world, we face a constantly changing and dynamic business landscape. Customer behaviour, market competition, evolving trends, and increasing regulations for data privacy are just a few of the challenges we navigate. Additionally, we must embrace disruption as a key driver of innovation in order to stay ahead of the curve. Leveraging technologies like AI and machine learning helps to transform our business and maintain a competitive edge, which is essential for enhancing our strategies and providing exceptional customer experiences.  

However, none of this can be achieved without a strong team. I firmly believe in the power of teamwork. It's the teamwork that makes the dream work! Together, we can create impactful marketing campaigns that differentiate our brand, products, and services from the competition.

By working collaboratively and leveraging each team member's strengths, we can formulate marketing strategies that drive business growth. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How do you deal with this worry?   

When it comes to people management and talent acquisition, my approach is to create a trusted and empowered working environment infused with positivity. It's all about cultivating a work culture that fosters open communication and ignites creativity within the team. 

Transparency is key here. By promoting open and honest communication, we create an atmosphere where team members are comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas. It's often the case that the best ideas come from unexpected sources!  

To nurture talent, particularly young talent, it's crucial to provide opportunities for professional growth both within and outside the team. Whether it's through mentorship programmes, cross-functional projects, or training sessions, we strive to build a cohesive and motivated team that's ready to conquer marketing objectives. 

However, let's not forget the digital realm. The world of digital marketing is an overwhelming one, with new platforms, tools, techniques, and regulations constantly emerging. To stay ahead of the game, it's vital for the team to continuously develop their skills. That's why I eagerly encourage them to stay abreast of the latest digital marketing trends. Attending conferences, engaging with industry leaders, staying active on social media, and enrolling in relevant business courses are just a few ways we ensure our skills stay razor-sharp. 

So, in this ever-evolving digital landscape, we're not just keeping up with the trends; we're setting the pace. By creating an environment of continuous learning and adaptation, we're ready to tackle the challenge that comes our way. 

In the world of marketing, it's not just about thinking outside the box; it's about reinventing the box altogether!  

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: As a leader, how do you deal with it when your staff tells you the work is creating mental pressure and wellbeing issues?  

It is essential to create an environment where open communication is encouraged, even when it comes to discussing mental pressure and well-being issues. I consider it a positive sign when my staff feel comfortable reaching out to me about these concerns, as it indicates a level of trust within the team. When confronted with such situations, I ensure that I am a good listener, attentively understanding the challenges my team member is facing and how his/her work is impacting his/her mental well-being. 

Through these conversations, I aim to identify the causes of the issues and find ways to address them. This could involve various strategies, such as re-prioritising tasks, revisiting job scopes, implementing job rotations, and providing regular coaching and support. By working together, we can find practical solutions that alleviate mental pressure and create a healthier work environment. If necessary, we can provide professional assistance to the staff member. 

At AXA we prioritise the well-being and happiness of our employees. We take pride in being a pioneer in promoting mental health in our industry. To support our staff, we have implemented various initiatives to enhance their holistic wellness on a regular basis. Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training are just a couple of examples. Additionally, we offer insurance coverage that grants employees access to a wide range of mental health specialists for consultations and counselling services. 

While work-life balance is crucial, we also understand the importance of employee benefits that provide peace of mind in their daily lives. That's why we have our "We Care" programme, which has recently been enhanced. The programme now includes an increase in paid co-parent leave from 20 days to 40 days, as well as an additional five days each of caregiver leave, fertility leave, and pregnancy loss leave. With these enhancements, employees can have more dedicated time with their families during important life stages, promoting a better work-life balance and catering to various personal needs. 

Through collaboration and support, we work together to find practical solutions. AXA is committed to promoting mental health and offers various initiatives and benefits that prioritise the holistic wellness of our employees.  

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What keeps you going?  

What keeps me going is a combination of factors that bring both satisfaction and motivation. Firstly, receiving positive feedback, whether it's a small compliment from social media, customers, or distributors, about our marketing efforts can truly make my day. Knowing that our work is appreciated and making an impact that fuels my drive to continue pushing forward.  

Moreover, the collective achievements we accomplish as a team, coupled with the positive impacts we create for our customers, society, and our company, serve as strong motivation. It doesn't matter if the achievements are big or small; each one represents progress and success, and that keeps me motivated to strive for more. 

The dynamic and ever-changing landscape of the insurance market is another source of fascination for me. From evolving customer preferences to emerging trends, data-driven solutions, and new technologies, there's always something new to explore and learn. This constant evolution ensures that there's never a dull moment, and it presents opportunities for innovative ideas and integrated marketing strategies. It's an exciting field that keeps me engaged and motivated. 

Being part of the insurance industry also gives me a sense of purpose. I believe in the mission of providing the right protection to the public, protecting what matters to them. It may sound noble, but I genuinely believe that all insurance practitioners share this common purpose, and it drives me to make a difference in people's lives. 

Finally, my children and family are my greatest source of inspiration, creativity, and motivation. They provide me with the energy to fuel me forward and remind me of the importance of work-life balance, which is essential for good mental health! 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How do you boost employee morale when facing obstacles/challenges?  

Boosting employee morale during obstacles and challenges requires a supportive and empathetic approach. Here are a few approaches I use: 

1. Open communication: Keep the team informed about challenges and gaps to foster unity. 

2. Empowerment: Encourage team members to make confident decisions and take ownership. 

3. Embrace imperfection: It’s more important to learn from the past and grow from it.  

4. Celebrate success: Recognise even small progress to boost confidence and motivation. 

5. Positive mindset: Prepare for the worst while staying hopeful for the best.  

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Anything else you would like to add 

I have always found marketing to be a captivating field, filled with opportunities for both challenges and creativity. Despite having been in the field for quite some years, I remain eager to continue learning, adapting, and breaking new ground. My goal is to create a positive impact not only for the company I work for but also for its customers and the wider community. That's the passion that drives me forward. 

Join us this coming 26 June for Content360 Hong Kong, a one-day-two-streams extravaganza under the theme of "Content that captivates". Get together with our fellow marketers to learn about AI in content creation, integration of content with commerce and cross-border targeting, and find the recipe for success within the content marketing world! 

Related articles:

What's keeping me up: McDonald's HK's Tina Chao
What's keeping me up: HSBC HK's Cheuk Shum

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