3 keys to becoming the “best of the best” employer

Five values have been key to the business success of specialist trucking insurance provider National Transport Insurance (NTI), according to its CEO, Tony Clark.

“Our vision was to be the leading specialist insurer focused on road transport,” according to Clark, who says a values-driven approach has been key to the realisation of this vision.

“Twelve years ago we put in place a set of values that are still used actively now.”

The five values: honesty and integrity, respect for others, responsibility for outcomes, a bias for action, and staying close to the customer, have given the business a key competitive advantage in a business sector in which customer service plays a significant role, he said.

NTI is a joint venture owned by Suncorp and IAG, offers insurance products which cover general carriers; refrigerated, grain, livestock and container carriers; tippers; agitators; earthmoving equipment; and tankers.

The second key to the growth of the business has a clear focus on customer service and expertise as a differentiator, according to Clark.

“We make sure all of our people understand all of our financial numbers on a monthly basis, and I personally run through the results quarterly”

“We want to be an expert in our business, and there has been a very deliberate strategy, especially from a HR perspective, around realising this.

“This service differentiation in a highly competitive and what can be a price-driven market is important, especially in a market that is low growth and which has new entrants and other low cost start-ups continually entering the market space.

“And our research has told us that we get trucks back on the road on average 20 per cent faster than any of our competitors because of our close work with customers,” he said.

Thirdly, Clark said culture has played a key role in the success of NTI, which was recognised as the Best of the Best Aon Hewitt Best Employers earlier this year, after it experienced a 19 per cent increase in engagement between 2012 and 2014.

“We talk with our people about having a culture that inspires effort and nurtures them and rewards success,” he said.

“This is clearly stated in the mission of our business, and as a result, we’ve been fortunate enough to return above target results in 11 out of the last 12 years of the organisation.

“We make sure all of our people understand all of our financial numbers on a monthly basis, and I personally run through the results quarterly.

“In the process we tell stories about what people have done to go above and beyond the call of duty, and this helps people understand the behaviours that we want in exceeding our customers’ expectations.”

With about 200 employees, NTI was named Small/Medium General Insurer of the Year and Claims Service Provider of the Year at the Australian Insurance Awards in 2013, and has a 96 per cent satisfaction for insured clients since 2010.

For the full interview with Clark about NTI’s business and HR success, see the next issue of Inside HR magazine.