winning secrets, silo mentality, pacific cross, communication

"Communication is critical to ensuring that we reach out to all, leaving no one behind, in terms of the development, security, and safety needs of our people," Wolfgang Droste, Pacific Cross Group CEO, affirms.

Pacific Cross Insurance is a market specialist in medical, travel, HMO, and personal accident insurance. Based in the Philippines and with sister companies in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, it is part of a wider group of health insurance businesses operating across Asia, with a particular focus on the ASEAN region. 

At the inaugural edition of HR Excellence Awards, Philippines in 2022, Pacific Cross Insurance was a proud winner of three awards:

  • Gold for Excellence in Business Transformation,
  • Silver for Excellence in Learning and Development, and
  • Bronze for Excellence in COVID 19-Response

In this interview, Wolfgang Droste, Pacific Cross Group CEO, tells HRO all about the company's three-year transformation from one that operated in silos, to one that embraced unity through a focus on engagement, development, and wellbeing.

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs and lows of your winning strategy?

The new management entering the company in 2018 quickly realised that the group of companies with operations in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong had no synergies at all. The management of local operations operated in silos. Other than some uniformity in product offerings, there was a little commonality. We have since embarked on a journey to unify the company. Our OneCompany project encompasses a uniform admin and accounting platform, the introduction of uniform pricing and reserving standards, a uniform customer service philosophy, and increased alignment of all our operating standards and our people system, which we now call, OneHR.

Importantly, the introduction of the Management Employees Incentive Programme (MEIP) based on group performance makes the OneCompany concept tangible for all staff.

Q How did the HR team identify and align the business & employee needs, and craft this perfect solution?

This was the result of a three-year project with progressive development and consultative collaboration with the different department heads and the core HR team with guidance and support from the Group. The company continues to look for ways to make learning more accessible to employees and have access anytime, anywhere. Since the company is focusing on a future-forward mentality and the digitalisation of systems, why not adapt the same for the other facets of the business, including training & development. For the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reached out to the leaders and checked on how their people are doing and what kind of support and assistance they would need in the short and long term.

Communication is critical to ensuring that we reach out to all, leaving no one behind, in terms of the development, security, and safety needs of our people.

Q Could you share the results that your strategy has delivered – be it on the business, HR, or people side?

The alignment of all our operating standards and our people system, which we now call, OneHR. The strategy allowed the company to engage employees positively, taking care of and extending support for the holistic wellbeing of all our staff, continuing employee development focusing on skills that they will need to prepare them for transformation and digitalisation, and responding to the pandemic covering mental, physical, emotional and digital requirements, without taking a toll on cost and expense.

Even with the limitation of face-to-face activities, we are able to connect with our employees through our electronic conferencing platforms and provide continued development through our learning management system, which is available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Q What is your message to all the stakeholders who have supported you in this journey?

To be the best in class in our industry and the chosen provider of our customers, we have to excel every day as a group. As we continue to pursue our goals and strategies to become a successful group, we strive to drive the “One Company, One People" strategy, to align all countries with our group initiatives, sharing the best practices across borders, while respecting the culture and environment within each territory.

Cutting across divisions and countries, exploring creative and innovative ideas, maximising talents from within, and developing programmes that would engage, develop, and empower our employees to become better at what they do. The recognition and success that the company is getting are because of its people and the leadership team that fosters camaraderie and teamwork. Moving as one, towards the future of a better Pacific Cross.

Q What are you most excited about when you think about the future of HR?

We strive to provide the best service and value-for-money for our clients’ medical and travel insurance needs, and having employees who are client-focused makes their experience better.

Human resources (HR) is involved in the end-to-end journey of an employee lifecycle. HR is the heart of every organisation. HR is not immune to change, innovation, digitalisation, and the like.

We should be able to adapt and embrace them first, better than anyone else, in order to retain our talents, develop fitting/customised programmes that our organisation, people, and company require in order for us to succeed.

Award-giving bodies such as the HR Excellence Awards are more than just a conduit to showcase and recognise efforts; it creates a channel for organizations coming from different industries to inspire and share their success in order for others to get motivated to strive to be better at providing services to their people.

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Wolfgang Droste, Pacific Cross Group CEO


Images / Provided (lead: Pacific Cross team; in-line image: Interviewee Wolfgang Droste)

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