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Responsibility for Employees

The success of Swiss Life is based on the skills and performance of its staff. Swiss Life wants to find the most suitable employees on the labour market, get them interested in working for the company, retain them and support their further development.

The Swiss Life purpose, enabling people to lead a self-determined life, also provides the framework for performance-driven collaboration within the company. Building on this, Swiss Life offers its employees and management a work environment in which they can act with selfdetermination and personal responsibility and shape their professional career and further development in every phase of life.

A successful management and communication style is set out in the Swiss Life Group’s people leadership competencies. Management and communication mean in day-to-day work the creation of credibility and trust, providing direction and perspective, and making goals reality together.

Swiss Life revised its behavioural principles in 2018. One of their focuses is self-determination and personal responsibility on the part of employees – qualities expected by the employees of themselves. Management give their employees confidence, provide them with competencies and responsibilities and encourage independent work and activities. The resulting autonomy has a positive effect on employee engagement and promotes innovation.

The following behavioural principles are valid for all Swiss Life Group employees as of January 2019:

  • I think consistently from the customer’s perspective.
  • I collaborate effectively in the best interests of the company.
  • I act in an efficient and goal-oriented way.
  • I work in a committed and agile manner.
  • I build trust.
  • I pursue continual self-development.

The following principles are valid for management as of January 2019:

  • I think and act in an exemplary manner and in the best interests of the company.
  • I create meaning and understanding within the context of our purpose.
  • I trust my employees.
  • I encourage appreciative collaboration.
  • I promote the development of my employees.
  • I set and achieve ambitious goals.

Group-wide standard processes are used to provide optimal support to managers and employees.

Swiss Life’s management processes in overview:

  • Performance reviews with all employees
  • Performance assessments with all employees (setting of objectives and 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 31.12.2018Menin %Womenin %
Asset Managers19849.919950.1

Departures of employees by gender per segment

Number as at 31.12.2018Menin %Womenin %
Asset Managers13145.315854.7

Employee engagement

The Swiss Life Group performs periodic employee surveys in cooperation with an independent research institute.1 The last survey was carried out in 2017 and enjoyed a participation rate of 87% (+1 percentage point compared to the 2015 survey). At 86%, employee engagement at the Swiss Life Group is above average (+1 percentage point compared to the 2015 survey), 14 percentage points over the “Financial industry in Europe” external benchmark.

Employer initiative – “Actively shaping your career”

Since 2016, Swiss Life has been publicly committed to the issue of a “self-determined life”. As part of this commitment, the company has been running its “Actively shaping your career” campaign over the past three years. The initiative aims to support employees as they optimally steer their professional lives throughout all phases of their career. 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 employees’ individual resources are enhanced while at the same time 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. By the end of 2018, all of the initiative’s measures had been implemented according to plan at the Swiss location, and implementation is also well under way in the divisions. The measures include:

“Ensuring employability through constant development”

  • Continuous training and development for employees of all ages
  • Systematic career analyses and situation reviews for employees of all ages
  • Enabling part-time work in old age

“Valuing and exploiting diversity”

  • Flexible working hours and sites offered
  • Promoting cooperation among generations
  • Childcare offerings and support for those caring for relatives

“Maintaining long-term work ability”

  • Offering time-out models
  • Diverse range of offerings for the promotion and maintenance of health
  • Social counselling offers
1 Ipsos (Switzerland) SA, 2017

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 learning opportunities on specialist topics, enhanced by modules on social and methodological skills.

In France, for example, all employees have received training on the topic of “digitalisation”. The initiative, the brainchild of the “Fédération française de l’assurance”, intends to train employees in the use of digital communication and teach them tips and tricks for their work in the digital age. Since the so-called “Digital Passport” received by participants is recognised in the industry, this measure also serves to maintain employability.

Swiss Life International launched its “Self-Career Management” programme at all locations in 2018, intended to sensitise employees to the continuous evolution of professional demands. To this end, regular assessments and coaching sessions are held featuring constructive consulting to allow employees to keep up to date with the times in a strategic and responsible manner.

Young employees with potential have the opportunity to undertake all sorts of vocational courses, apprenticeships, placements, graduate programmes and combined university degrees. An average of around 350 employees (apprentices and trainees) take part in the courses offered every year. The Swiss Life Group employs this measure to help ensure its future management and professional requirements. The rate of transfers to a continuing employment relationship is 80% on average.

Expenses for training and development within the Group amount on average to CHF 28 million (including around CHF 9.5 million for staff in training), or some CHF 2080 per employee annually. As a proportion of staff costs, the outlay for training and development is approximately 2%. 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 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.

Talent Development

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. This lays the groundwork for key positions to be filled with budding and qualified young managers from within the company.

The talent pools in the individual divisions 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 key 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 most important business areas within the Swiss Life Group, give and receive new impulses and apply what they have learnt to their daily work. The KPP’s four focus themes are as follows:

  • Personnel management and communication
  • Finance
  • Innovation
  • Corporate strategy

Alumni of the Key Persons Programme meet the participants every year at the “Shaping the Future Day”, at which the strategy and implementation status of the current Group-wide programme are discussed in detail with the Corporate Executive Board.


Mutual respect is the precondition for a work environment based on trust, in which employees are comfortable. Personal well-being, which includes the aspects of diversity and inclusion, worklife balance, mutual respect, workload and workplace atmosphere, was also a topic of the last Employee Survey, carried out in 2017. 83% of employees gave these factors an overall positive rating. This value is 11 percentage points over the “Financial industry in Europe” external benchmark.

Equal opportunities and non-discrimination are also observed on a daily basis at Swiss Life, with 89% of employees saying they feel very respected in their team (+3 percentage points over 2015). This value is 12 percentage points over the “Financial industry in Europe” external benchmark.

Swiss Life employs a number of specialists with great sector-specific knowledge and ability. Both managers and specialists are of prime importance to the corporate success of Swiss Life.

The fostering of both female and male employees as part of diversity activities is thus reflected not only in the careers of managers, but also in those of specialists.

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 offers its employees a work environment characterised by respect and esteem. 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 was comprehensively revised and updated in 2018. The competency model sets out 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 processes and instruments for a number of years in all its national companies to review and ensure equal pay for men and women. In Switzerland, for example, Logib software from the Federal Office for Gender Equality is used to review equal treatment. This year’s review, with the involvement of the staff committee, indicates no significant deviations among the functional groups under analysis.

Employees by contract type

Total 9298 as at 31.12.2018     
Menin %Womenin %Total in %
Employees full-time4 596593 1744184
Employees part-time345221 1837816
Permanent employment contracts4 171464 8325497
Temporary employment contracts10335192653

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 it performs as a service provider means that general health and safety risks are relatively low in a service provider like Swiss Life. 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:

  • Prevention
  • Early intervention
  • Reintegration

All employees of the Swiss Life Group have access to online offerings consisting of text content, 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, such as nutritional and social counselling and prevention.

Social Partnership

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. The focuses in 2018 were: Strategy 2021, personnel management, digitalisation and employee qualification, the new competency model, performance testing, employee surveys, compensation, maintenance of employee marketability, diversity and inclusion, promotion of health and well-being.

What is more, Swiss Life maintains local employee representation in numerous countries as legally required.

Number of agreements signed


Swiss Life Switzerland

  • 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 2018 the staff committee continued to work on various sub-projects of the “Actively shaping your career” initiative.
  • As part of the 2019 salary review, the staff committee made a formal application to the Executive Board for a salary increase.
  • The regulations of the staff committee of Swiss Life Ltd in Switzerland were specified in certain particulars and amended as needed, at the behest of the staff committee. They enter into effect on 1 January 2019.
  • The staff committee initiated the revision and expansion of the guideline for the protection of non-smokers (entry into force on 1 January 2019), proposed building measures to better define smoking areas and supported raising awareness of the issue among employees.

Swiss Life France
A total of 13 agreements were reached in 2018:

  • Three annual wage negotiations 2018 (NAO): salary agreements
  • Agreement on electronic voting
  • Third addendum to the hotline agreement to ensure attention to the special requirements of Customer Services
  • Addendum to the agreement on trade union rights
  • Agreement on the reimbursement of healthcare costs
  • Agreement on distribution of profits
  • Agreement on the functioning of employee representation bodies
  • Agreement on trade union rights
  • Agreement on the recognition of an economic and social entity (UES)
  • Pre-electoral agreement

Asset Managers France
Swiss Life Asset Management Ltd

  • Mobile Office agreement

Swiss Life Real Estate Management SA

  • Agreement on distribution of profits
  • Confirmation of the staff committee

Swiss Life Germany

In spring 2018, cyclical elections were held in Germany for the various Works Council committees.

  • In addition to various adjustments to the works agreements due to the GDPR, the Works Council made a strong commitment to health management and, via its health team in cooperation with HR, is further expanding its comprehensive portfolio of health campaigns.
  • As part of the principles of remuneration, the Works Council and the employer renegotiated salary adjustments. The result of the negotiations reflects both the cost factor and the salary adjustment due to cost of living.
  • The VertriebsWerk programme in intermediary distribution takes strategic challenges of the future into account. It was necessary to conclude a reconciliation of interests and a redundancy agreement in order to implement the measures. The parties carried out negotiations and implementation constructively and with an eye to the relevant requirements.

Asset Managers Germany
The following works agreements were reached in 2018 for Swiss Life Asset Management GmbH and Swiss Life Invest:

  • Mobile Office
  • Team portfolio
  • Calculation of variable compensation (bonus payment) for 2017
  • Basic salary adjustment process for non-management, non-pay-scale employees

Corpus Sireo
Works agreements 2018:

  • Regulation concerning working hours at Corpus Sireo
  • Dealing with working time regulations from old contracts prior to 1 July 2017
  • Mobile Office
  • Supplementary framework conditions for employment relationships at Corpus Sireo
  • Voluntary social security benefits – Spendit Card
  • MITE project time recording
  • Deployment and use of “Competence Booster” at Corpus Sireo
  • Company framework agreement IT

Swiss Life Luxembourg
In the Luxembourg financial sector as well as in the insurance sector, salary agreements are agreed at sector level. A new agreement was signed between employee and employer representatives in June 2018. The most recent negotiations concerned two objectives, supported by both parties:

  • Maintaining the competitive position enjoyed by the Luxembourg insurance sector on the labour market, especially in times in which financial institutions have decided, owing to Brexit, to move their activities to Luxembourg or to expand into Luxembourg
  • Ensuring appropriate investment in the retraining of insurance workers and adapting skills to future workplace demands

Asset Managers Luxembourg
The staff committee of Swiss Life Fund Management (LUX) S.A. met a total of six times in 2018. Three of these meetings featured a conversation with the Executive Board. The staff committee also organised several employee events. No formal agreements were reached between the staff committee and the Executive Board in 2018.

Number of Works Council members broken down by full-time and part-time


Swiss Life Switzerland
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%.


Swiss Life France
61 part-time members

Swiss Life Asset Managers France

Swiss Life Asset Management Ltd
A total of six members since 10 March 2016, of whom none has dispensation.

Swiss Life Real Estate Management SA
Eleven members since 27 April 2018, of whom none has dispensation.


Swiss Life Germany
The Works Council Internal Services (responsible for the German branch in Garching as well as Swiss Life Partner GmbH and Schweizer Leben PensionsManagement GmbH) is composed as follows:

  • Eleven members, of whom the Works Council chair with 100% work dispensation for Works Council activities.
  • The Works Council Sales Force is responsible for intermediary distribution at the branch office and is composed as follows:

  • Seven persons, of whom none has dispensation.
  • The Central Works Council as the overarching body of all operations consists of five persons (2 representatives of Works Council Internal Services, 2 representatives of Works Council Sales Force, 1 representative of the severely handicapped). The Central Works Council chair is also chair of the Works Council Internal Services, member of the business committee and national representative to the Europa Forum.

    Asset Managers Germany

  • In March 2018, the workforces of Swiss Life Asset Management GmbH and Swiss Life Invest elected their own Works Council, consisting of three Works Council members. All members work without dispensation.
  • Corpus Sireo

  • The Works Council of Corpus Sireo Real Estate GmbH consists of eleven members, one member with 100% work dispensation (Works Council chair), all other members without dispensation.

Swiss Life Luxembourg
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 future employee representation consists of five ordinary representatives and five deputies. The employee representatives have at their disposal 16 hours a week to exercise 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 Luxembourg

The staff committee of Swiss Life Fund Management (LUX) S.A. consists of two active delegates, two deputy delegates and one security delegate. All delegates work without dispensation.