Formed in late 2016, the customer science team supports Aviva’s ambition to create engaging, relevant customer experiences through the intelligent use of data science. Based in the Aviva digital garage in Hoxton Square, London, the team sits alongside more established insurance analysts as part of the 700-strong global data science practice.
Described as a “new muscle” for Aviva, the team delivers commercial impact through using data to understand customers better and make appropriate recommendations. There is a culture of continual improvement and a determination to establish a great working culture and environment.
This starts with the location itself - a distinctive, open-plan, high-quality space with the feel of a start-up. As well as the physical environment and locale, there is a strong focus on wellbeing, with activities ranging from exercise and yoga through to monthly events, such as cookery lessons.
Aviva has a real commitment to diversity, aiming to be the first FTSE 100 company with at least 30% female members of its executive committee. Within the customer science team, there is a near balance of genders, while one-third are non-UK nationals. Recruitment practices have been adopted, such as anonymous application screening, to ensure inclusivity remains a factor, together with equal paid parental leave, being a living wage employer and a range of social responsibility initiatives.
The working culture is based around empowering practitioners and providing coaching and support. A change forum is used to flag team issues and opportunities, with input to action plans. The experienced leadership team provides support and budget as needed. Progress and learnings are shared during fortnightly showcases, with offsite get-togethers to shape strategic direction, while hackathons are run to bring data science techniques to bear on real customer problems.
Learning and development plans are in place, supported by online resources, a physical library, coaching and feedback sessions, as well as self-organised lunch and learn sessions. Quantum University builds data science skills further, while external partnerships - such as with the Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery which Aviva helped to co-found - allow for further knowledge-sharing.
Cutting-edge data platforms have been put in place and a partnership with IT ensures regulatory compliance alongside effective data science. Combined with competitive salaries and accelerated recognition bonuses, the customer science team receives a high volume of applications and enjoys a high retention rate.
This is the second year in a row that the Aviva customer science team has won the Best place to work in data award.