Essential pillars of Swiss Life’s successful performance culture are respectful interaction and trustworthy cooperation within the company, which in turn enable open dialogue among employees at all management levels. This foundation of trust makes it possible to question current practice and to develop and implement new ideas. So as to anticipate and respond to the constant flux, there is an emphasis on life-long learning plus the professional and personal development of all employees. The recognition and appreciation of performance ensure above- average employee engagement, which benefits customers, shareholders and investors.
Swiss Life’s management and leadership culture is a product of its corporate values (“Support individuality”, “Create confidence” and “Prove reliability”), which are based on its brand promise; this last expresses the way employees and management at Swiss Life think, feel and act. The resulting successful management and communication style is set out in the Swiss Life Group’s leadership priorities. Proceeding from this foundation, management and communication in day-to-day work mean the creation of credibility and trust, showing direction and providing perspective, and making goals reality together. In addition, managers must set an example.
Swiss Life’s leadership priorities:
- We act as if Swiss Life were our own business
- We communicate openly and clearly
- We trust, motivate, empower and support people
- We develop efficient teams across the company
- We deliver results on time
- We accept accountability – follow through and act consequently
Group-wide standard processes are used to provide optimal support to managers and employees.
Swiss Life’s leadership processes:
- Performance reviews with all employees
- Performance assessments with all employees (setting of objectives and subsequent performance assessment)
- Professional development interviews and measures
- Decisions on salaries and promotions
- Strategy and value-oriented behaviour – as per the Group-wide competency model
- Assessment and management of employee risks
Newly hired employees by gender per segment
|Number as at 31.12.2017||Men||in %||Women||in %|
Departures of employees by gender per segment
|Number as at 31.12.2017||Men||in %||Women||in %|
The Swiss Life Group performs an Employee Survey every two years in cooperation with an independent research institute1. The participation rate in 2017 was above average, at 87% (+1% compared to the most recent survey, in 2015). The results remained stable at high overall values at the Swiss Life Group level.
Extract from the results of the 2017 Employee Survey
At 86% (+1% over 2015), Swiss Life Group employee engagement is above average, as the results of the 2017 survey demonstrate. The value is 14 percentage points over the “Financial industry in Europe” external benchmark.
Eighty-nine percent of employees (+1% over 2015) support their unit’s strategy and direction, a value 18 percentage points above that of the external benchmark.
1 Source: Global Employee Engagement Survey, IPSOS (Suisse) SA 2017
Eighty-seven percent (+1% over 2015) of employees agree that they are encouraged to take initiative in their work, 17 percentage points over the external benchmark.
Eighty-eight percent (+2% over 2015) of employees confirm that their direct line manager communicates candidly and honestly, which is 14 percentage points above the external benchmark.
Despite excellent results, managers are discussing their team’s numbers with their colleagues and implementing strategic measures where called for.
Employer initiative – “Actively shaping your career”
Swiss Life is not only publicly committed to promoting a “longer self-determined life”: this commitment also applies to its employees, for whom the company has launched the Group-wide “Actively shaping your career” initiative. The aim is to support employees as they exploit the opportunities and challenges of their professional lives throughout all phases of their career to the maximum. To this end, three success factors have been identified: “Ensuring employability through constant development”, “Valuing and exploiting diversity” and “Maintaining long-term work ability”. These three focuses will ensure that individual resources are enhanced and various operational demands and personal requirements are taken into account, and harmonised with one another, during the various phases of an employee’s professional and personal life. That is how Swiss Life meets the current and future challenges of the working world.
The following points are among the steps taken at the various locations:
- Continuous training and development for employees of all ages
- Systematic career analyses and situation reviews for all ages
- Enabling part-time work in old age
- Flexible working hours and sites offered to all generations
- Promoting cooperation among generations
- Childcare offerings and support for those caring for relatives
- Offering time-out models
- Diverse range of offerings for the promotion and maintenance of health
- Social counselling offers
Training & Development
Swiss Life continuously invests in the internal and external training and development of its employees. True to the principle of lifelong learning, employees, specialists and managers are offered a range of learning opportunities on specialist topics enhanced by modules on social and methodological skills.
Young employees with potential have the opportunity to undertake all sorts of vocational courses, apprenticeships, placements, graduate programmes and combined university degrees. In 2017, 340 employees (apprentices and trainees) took advantage of these educational offerings. The Swiss Life Group employs these measures to help ensure its future management and professional requirements. In 2017, the rate of transfers to a continuing employment relationship was 80%.
Expenses for training and development within the Group in 2017 amounted to CHF 28.6 million, or some CHF 2082 per employee. As a proportion of staff costs, the outlay for training and development is 2.3%. The investment is earmarked for a varied, needs-based training offering.
Supplementary to the classic training options, learning content is also offered on a digital platform to allow management and employees to add to their training efficiently without regard to time or place. The platform permits quick access to standardised management processes, skills-oriented training and other topics associated with social and methodological skills. Swiss Life enhances these offerings with customised training, advising and coaching.
Swiss Life provides targeted support to junior staff with potential. For example, employees displaying a high level of performance and potential are nominated each year for a talent programme. The initiative supports efforts to open up career paths within the company – in management, project management or specialist functions. On this basis, key positions can be filled with budding and qualified young managers from within the company.
The individual divisional talent pools help to prepare future first and second-level managers (team leaders and department heads) as well as project managers and specialists for their future roles through training modules and project work.
The Key Persons Programme (KPP) is intended for Swiss Life Group management, specialists and project managers who are already in a central function or show potential for such a function. The aim of the Group-wide programme is to prepare people who show the desire and ability to help shape the company’s future in their own areas for a key position so they can live up to their role as decision maker. The programme also plays a role in employee and succession planning. Within a 12-month period, the participants acquire a detailed insight into the Swiss Life Group and its individual divisions, give and receive new impulses and apply what they have learnt to their daily work. The programme is based on the following four modules:
- Leadership (communication)
- Innovation, including dealing with competition and trends
- Corporate strategy
Alumni of the Key Persons Programme meet the participants every year at the “Shaping the Future Day”, where there is in-depth analysis of the Swiss Life Group’s strategic orientation, an update and ensuing discussion on the progress of the Group-wide programme with the Corporate Executive Board.
Mutual respect fosters trust and helps create a comfortable working atmosphere for employees. Personal well-being is also a focus of the Employee Survey, which asks about such issues as diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, mutual respect, workload and workplace atmosphere. Eighty-three percent of employees rate these factors as generally positive (no change from 2015). This value is 11 percentage points over the “Financial industry in Europe” external benchmark 1 . Equal opportunities and non-discrimination are observed on a daily basis at Swiss Life. Eightynine percent of employees say they feel highly respected in their team (+3% over 2015). This value is 12 percentage points over the “Financial industry in Europe” external benchmark.
1 Source: Global Employee Engagement Survey, IPSOS (Suisse) SA 2017
The principles by which we work together at the Swiss Life Group are set down in the Code of Conduct, valid Group-wide. Swiss Life undertakes to offer its employees a work environment characterised by respect and mutual recognition, and to uphold such an environment. Among these is our zero-tolerance policy regarding mobbing and discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, confession, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, marital status, political views or other attributes.
The Swiss Life competency model valid for all employees is applied to the Group-wide management processes. It explicitly defines, among other things, responsible behaviour, particularly as regards compliance standards, laws and risks. Employees are regularly informed about the legal framework in which they operate, backed up by training courses to ensure they behave with integrity and in conformity with the law. Swiss Life has established management processes and informal channels (e.g. an Ombudsman managed by a third party) for reporting and dealing with cases of discrimination or complaints.
Fair employment procedures free of discrimination
In accordance with valid national and international law, the Swiss Life Group follows fair employment procedures free of discrimination. Recruitment or promotion is based exclusively on ability, competence and potential in view of the requirements of the position in question. Fair and equal compensation for all employees is ensured by the Group-wide Group Compensation Policy. Swiss Life has used instruments for a number of years in all its major national companies to review and ensure equal pay for men and women. In Switzerland, for example, Logib software based on data provided by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office is used to review equal treatment.
Health and Security
The Swiss Life Group aims to ensure and maintain a safe and healthy working environment for all employees. The nature of the work Swiss Life performs as a service provider means that general health and safety risks are relatively low. The framework conditions for health and security at the workplace are provided by the local regulatory measures governing each Swiss Life company. Furthermore, all companies implement measures and initiatives aimed at preserving employee health.
Occupational safety and health management
Security at the workplace (fittings, work stations, instructions) is continuously monitored and adapted to changing requirements.
Good working conditions influence employee health. Swiss Life supports this strategically by promoting uniform work structuring, providing a variety of tasks, fostering social interaction, enabling autonomy, room to manoeuvre and learning and development opportunities, ensuring meaningfulness and showing appreciation for its employees and their performance and contributions. The measures to maintain employee health, promote good working conditions and prevent incapacity to work are based on three pillars:
- Early intervention
All employees of the Swiss Life Group have access to online offerings consisting of texts, short videos, checklists and learning programmes on the topic of “Health and well-being”, which they can use anytime and anywhere they like. The topics on the online platform are divided among three groups: meaningfulness, dealing with stress and dealing with others (line managers, colleagues).
In addition, the divisions – in collaboration with their social partners – provide supplementary services in movement and sport, massages and therapy, relaxation rooms and all types of consulting (nutrition, social counselling, prevention etc.).
The employee representatives and Corporate Executive Board maintain close contact with each other. Since 1996, Swiss Life has had a European Works Council (pursuant to EU Directives 94/45/EC and 2009/38/EC).
The nine-person “Europa Forum”, a committee comprising delegates from four countries, meets regularly with representatives of the Corporate Executive Board at ordinary and extraordinary meetings. It deals with transnational information and consultation on topics which affect all Swiss Life employees. Focal points in 2017 were: corporate strategy and strategy development, prevention and health maintenance, making work flexible, continuing education and e-learning, and intergenerational dialogue.
What is more, Swiss Life maintains local employee representation in numerous countries as legally required.
Number of agreements signedSwitzerland
- The agreement concerning “simplified recording of working hours”, which entered into force on 1 April 2016, was formally confirmed at the annual review and will be continued.
- In 2017 the staff committee concentrated on providing support for the revision of staff regulations for employees on monthly and hourly pay as well as on collaborating on subprojects of the “Actively shaping your career” initiative.
- As part of the 2018 salary review, the staff committee made a formal application to the Executive Board for a salary increase of 1.5%.
- Agreement on employment and competence planning (Gestion prévisionnelle des emplois et des compétences, GPEC)
- Second addendum to the hotline agreement to ensure attention to the special requirements of Customer Services
- Mobile Office agreement
- Agreement on distribution of profits
- Agreement on mandate extension for employee representatives
- Agreement on status and compensation
- Mandatory annual wage negotiations 2018 (NAO)
- Agreement on working hours
- Agreement on compensation for absence
- Summary of individual regulations concerning a framework agreement on “Rollout, deployment and further development of all currently available technical features (IT systems) or those in use in future”.
- Work agreement on “Rollout and use of the LOGA personnel administration software”.
- Work agreement on “Basic salary increases in 2017 for non-management, non-pay-scale employees for the purposes of retaining high performers at Swiss Life Germany and creating performance incentives”.
- Work agreement on “Regulations concerning working hours”: employees are given the opportunity to donate the net amount resulting from payment of time credits from their accumulated flextime or long-term account to the Swiss Life “Stiftung für Chancenreichtum und Zukunft” (Foundation for Opportunities and the Future).
- Work agreement on “Team screening”: this involves a comprehensive, modular advisory concept restricted at the moment to one unit.
- Group works agreement on “Enterprise organisational change”
- Group works agreement “One Company works council structure”
- Group works agreement “Transitional arrangements (works council structure)”
In the Luxembourg financial sector as well as in the insurance sector, salary agreements are signed at sector level. The most recent agreement was concluded in June 2015 between employee and employer representatives for a period of three years. Renewal negotiations began in 2017. Swiss Life plays an active role in these negotiations, seeking to reconcile the rights of employees with those of the employer. The aim is to maintain stipulations that allow employees to shape a self-determined future, both financially and in terms of employability, while expanding the employer’s cost control and further developing performance-based compensation.
Number of Works Council members broken down by full time and part timeSwitzerland
Nine members; the chairwoman enjoys up to 20% work dispensation for work on the staff committee, the vice chairwoman up to 15% and the members up to 10%.France
70 part-time membersGermany
- Eleven members, two of them with 50% work dispensation for Works Council activities (Works Council chair and speaker of the PR committee), nine members with no dispensation.
- 7 persons: six without dispensation and one with 50% dispensation (Works Council chair Sales Force)
- Five persons (2 representatives of Works Council Internal Services, 2 representatives of Works Council Sales Force, 1 representative of the severely handicapped)
- Corpus Sireo Real Estate GmbH Works Council (re-election in September 2017): Eleven members, one member with 100% work dispensation (Works Council chair), all other members without dispensation
The number of employee representatives and the time required for their work are directly proportional to the number of employees. In the Global Solutions area in Luxembourg, the current employee representation consists of four ordinary representatives and four deputies. The employee representatives have at their disposal a total of 16 hours a week to perform their mandate.
The Swiss Life Products team in Luxembourg has reached the threshold of 15 employees and will thus elect its own employee representation in 2019.Asset Managers Luxemburg
- Two active delegates working full time
- Two deputy delegates working full time
- One security delegate working full time