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Sustainability as an employer

The success of Swiss Life is based on the skills and engagement of its staff. Swiss Life promotes the continuous development of its employees and offers them a working environment where they can take responsibility.

Leadership and employee communication

As a basis for successful leadership and communication, the Swiss Life Group has issued behavioural principles that are applicable throughout the Group. The focus is on encouraging employees to take personal responsibility. By delegating competencies and responsibility to employees, managers do not simply encourage their innovative capability and ability to act independently, they also express respect and appreciation, which leads to greater engagement from everyone. Through their leadership and communication, line managers establish credibility and trust in their daily work, provide guidance and perspective, and put shared goals into practice.

The behavioural principles of the Swiss Life Group:

  • I think and act in an exemplary manner and in the best interests of the company
  • 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 by listening and communicating openly.
  • I pursue continual self-development.

The behavioural principles for managers in the Swiss Life Group:

  • 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.

Transparent human resources management through standardised processes

The following Group-wide standard HR management processes are used to provide optimal support to managers and employees.

  • 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 set out in the Group-wide behavioural principles for employees and management
  • Assessment and management of employee risks

Newly hired employees by gender per segment

Total 2 125 as at 31.12.2019Menin %Womenin %
Asset Managers29142.938757.1
TOTAL1 05150.51 07449.5

Departures of employees by gender per segment

Total 1 719 as at 31.12.2019Menin %Womenin %
Asset Managers22346.425853.6

Employee Development and Retention

Swiss Life performs a Group-wide employee survey every two years in cooperation with an independent research institute1. The participation rate in the 2019 survey was 89% (+2 percentage points compared with the 2017 survey). The engagement score for the Swiss Life Group shows the extent to which employees are prepared to go the extra mile for Swiss Life. It is above the average at 73%. That is 6 percentage points higher than the score for the peer group comprising the “global financial industry” and only 1 percentage point below the external benchmark comprising “the most successful companies worldwide”. In the 2019 employee survey, Swiss Life refined the questions and specifically included enablement for the first time. Enablement describes the extent to which employees feel they are able to do an interesting job that reflects their abilities and the extent to which working conditions facilitate productive work. The score was 78% (4 percentage points above the external benchmark comprising “the most successful companies worldwide” and 10 percentage points above the external benchmark comprising the “global financial industry”).

Actively shaping your career

Swiss Life plays an active public role in “self-determined living”. The same aspiration is implemented within the company: Swiss Life provides an extensive range of offers and opportunities for its employees to help them shape their working lives themselves through all phases of their career. In its Group-wide “Actively shaping your career” programme, Swiss Life focuses on three success factors: “Ensuring employability through constant development”, “Valuing and exploiting diversity” and “Maintaining long-term work ability”. In this way, Swiss Life aims to strengthen employees’ individual resources. This takes into account and balances different operational requirements and personal needs in various phases of working and private life.

“Actively shaping your career” defines the following success factors and activities:

“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”

  • Offering flexible working models
  • Promoting cooperation among generations
  • Childcare offerings and support for those caring for relatives
  • Specific training for managers in leading diverse teams

“Maintaining long-term work ability”

  • Offering time-out models
  • Diverse range of offerings for the promotion and maintenance of health
  • Social counselling offers
1 Korn Ferry, 2019

Training and Development

Swiss Life anticipates the rapid changes in professional knowledge and methodology in the world of work by offering its employees a wide range of training and development activities.

All divisions have a wide range of training offers for managers and for employees who are newly promoted to a management function. These focus on introducing and deepening knowledge of the behavioural principles for managers. In France, Swiss Life offers various management training courses in cooperation with “Grande Ecole de Commerce KEDGE Business School”, leading to a recognised certificate. Other training modules offered by the divisions are an onboarding module for managers joining the company, supervision and peer-to-peer coaching, team development workshops on future-oriented skills, inclusive management coaching and further modules focusing on social and methodological skills.

The continuing development modules offer content through a combination of conventional training formats and a digital platform so that managers and employees can undertake advanced training anytime, anywhere. The learning platform permits quick access to standardised management processes, skills-oriented training and other topics associated with social and methodological skills.

For the training and certification of sales and asset management staff, Swiss Life France has entered into a partnership with KEDGE Business School, EM Normandie Business School and Université Dauphine, Paris.

Young employees with potential have the opportunity to undertake all sorts of vocational courses, apprenticeships, placements, graduate programmes and combined university degrees. Here, Swiss Life places great value on offering them wide-ranging perspectives.

  • At Swiss Life Switzerland, 90% of trainees, interns and graduates on graduate training programmes are offered employment on completion of their training.
  • Swiss Life France has established partnerships with educational institutions in the fields of insurance, actuarial services, finance and engineering. The budding professionals receive support in the development of their abilities, for example through a network of managers and tutors.
  • At Swiss Life Germany, talented youngsters are offered a choice of training courses. In addition, there is a partnership with Hannover Center of Finance e.V., an initiative of Leibniz University in Hanover and various companies.
  • In 2019, the Luxembourg location held negotiations with the universities in Luxembourg, Brussels and Maastricht to develop and introduce partnership offers in order to offer perspective to young people at Swiss Life.
  • Asset Managers offers students employment opportunities while they are studying.

Talent Development

Swiss Life provides targeted support to junior staff with potential. For example, employees displaying a high level of performance and strong potential are nominated for a talent programme. These initiatives support efforts to open up career paths within the company – whether in people leadership, project management or specialist functions. This paves the way for key positions to be filled with 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 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:

  • People leadership and communication
  • Finance
  • Innovation
  • Corporate strategy

Alumni of the Key Persons Programme meet the participants every year at the “Shaping the Future Day”. This conference looks in further detail at strategically relevant issues in the context of implementation of the corporate programme, including discussing them with the Group Executive Board and other key people.

Collaboration and Diversity

Mutual respect is the precondition for a work environment based on trust, in which employees are comfortable. Personal well-being and equality of opportunity, which includes diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, mutual respect, workload and workplace atmosphere, were also addressed in the 2019 employee survey1. 76% of employees feel they receive support from their manager in achieving an appropriate work-life balance. That is 5 percentage points above the external benchmark comprising “the most successful companies worldwide” and 9 percentage points above the benchmark comprising the “global financial industry”.

Diversity and respect as the basis for collaboration based on trust

Both managers and specialists are of prime importance to the corporate success of Swiss Life. Swiss Life employs many specialists with enormous sector-specific knowledge and ability. By doing so, it aims to achieve a good balance between new career entrants, employees with experience and staff with substantial professional experience. To achieve this goal, Swiss Life offers flexible working models, for example, for employees in Switzerland from the age of 58. These enable employees to continue to work until they are 70. More than 30% of employees aged 58+ use Swiss Life in Switzerland’s flexible working models. Through offers like these, Swiss Life ensures that specialist knowledge is passed on to the next generation.

Swiss Life offers its employees a work environment characterised by individual responsibility, respect and esteem. Based on this, there are divisional directives and regulations that set out our zero-tolerance policy regarding mobbing and discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, confession, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, marital status, political views and other attributes.

The principles by which we work together at the Swiss Life Group are set down in the Code of Conduct, valid Group-wide. The Swiss Life behavioural principles, which are applicable for all employees, are integrated into Group-wide management processes. The behavioural principles set out, for example, principles of responsible behaviour, particularly with regard to 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 national and international law (such as the ILO conventions), the Swiss Life Group applies fair employment procedures that are free of discrimination. Recruitment and promotion are based exclusively on ability, skills and potential, in line with the requirements of the position in question. Fair and equal compensation for all employees is ensured by the Group Compensation Policy, which is applicable throughout the Group. At all its national companies Swiss Life has used processes and instruments for a number of years 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. The review conducted in 2019 with the involvement of the Human Resource Committee did not identify any significant differences in the functional groups analysed. The next review is scheduled for 2020.

Employees by contract type

Total 10 219 as at 31.12.2019Menin %Womenin %Total in %
Employees full-time4 937603 3294081
Employees part-time459241 4947619
Permanent employment contracts5 276534 6054797
Temporary employment contracts11634222663

Health and Safety

The Swiss Life Group aims to offer its employees a safe and healthy working environment. The nature of the work it 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

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 a range of additional services covering exercise and sport, massages and therapy, relaxation rooms and counselling of all types, e.g. nutrition and social counselling, as well as preventive measures (e.g. medical services, flu vaccines, preventing nicotine dependence, protection of non-smokers). Safety in the workplace (fittings, work stations, instructions) is continuously monitored and adapted to changing requirements.

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 ten-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 focal areas in 2019 were: HR strategy 2021, corporate culture, collaboration, people leadership, the 2019 Employee Survey and the new “Workday” HR management system.

At Swiss Life, collective bargaining takes place in the following countries and units on the basis of local laws (freedom of association and right to collective bargaining) (GRI 102-41):

  • Swiss Life Germany
  • Swiss Life in France
  • Collective bargaining agreement for insurance companies at Swiss Life Asset Management GmbH and Swiss Life Invest GmbH in Germany
  • Swiss Life Luxembourg: The collective bargaining agreement signed in 2018 remained in force in 2019 and ends in 2020. Negotiations between the trade unions and insurance sector will start in the course of the coming year.

In addition, Swiss Life has local employee representation in numerous countries as legally required.


Agreements signedNumber of Works Council members
broken down by full-time and part-time
Swiss Life Switzerland 
  • The agreement concerning recording of working hours, which entered into force on 1 April 2016, was formally confirmed at the annual review and will be continued.
  • In 2019 the staff committee was actively involved in designing the new “Workday” HR management system, especially with a view to employee experience, reporting, and the overviews of key performance indicators.
  • As part of the 2020 salary review, the staff committee made a formal application to the Executive Board for a salary increase.
  • The routine elections for the period 2020–2023 were held in autumn 2019. At the constitutive meeting in December 2019, the chair and the delegates to the European Works Council were decided.
  • Based on the extended directive on protection of non-smokers, which came into effect on 1 January 2019, implementation of measures to protect non-smokers at both Zurich locations was monitored.
  • In 2019, the staff committee answered around 300 enquiries from employees
  • 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%.


Agreements signedNumber of Works Council members
broken down by full-time and part-time
Swiss Life France 
Elections to the staff council were held electronically in January 2019. A new business and social committee was established. It has four sub-committees: “Occupational health and working conditions”, “Business and strategy”, “Social affairs” and “Workplace learning”.

A specific training programme is available to enable the employee representatives to develop their competencies.

  • Three annual wage negotiations in 2019 (NAO): salary agreements
  • extension of the mobile office agreement
  • third agreement on the mandate of administrative employees
  • 22 regular members of the Economic and social committee, 30 hours per month
  • including one secretary (25 hours per month), an assistant secretary (15 hours per month)
  • a treasurer (15 hours per month) an assistant treasurer (5 hours per month)
  • 14 trade union delegates (24 hours per month)
  • 4 central delegates (26 hours per month
  • three mediators, responsible for dealing with harassment/ mobbing
Swiss Life ASSET MANAGERS France 
The Adaptation Agreement (works agreement) which was signed unanimously following the merger, contains:

  • Amendment of working time regulations
  • Implementation of Home Office
  • Harmonisation of bonus and fringe benefits, profit sharing and employee savings plans, etc.
  • Employee referendum for the implementation of the agreement
  • Expansion of the Works Council
The following agreements have also been signed:

  • Adaptation agreement following the merger of 21 June 2019, followed by the employee referendum for implementation of the agreement
  • Agreement on additional Works Council elections on 3 July 2019
  • Pre-electoral agreement for the organisation of Works Council elections of 29 July 2019
  • Supplement to the profit sharing agreement of 28 June 2019
  • Supplement to the company savings plan in addition to the employer’s contribution of 16 April 2019
Prior to the merger of 1 April 2019 between Swiss Life REIM (France) and Swiss Life Asset Management (France), there were three representative union organisations (CFDT, CFE-CGC and CFTC) with a total of 14 Works Council members, nine for Swiss Life REIM (France) and five for Swiss Life Asset Management (France).

Following the merger on 1 April 2019, a union organisation (CFDT) was established with eleven members of the Works Council in accordance with the agreement on the additional Works Council elections in July 2019. No employee representative carries out his/her activity full-time.


Agreements signedNumber of Works Council members
broken down by full-time and part-time, area of responsibility
Swiss Life Germany 
The Works Council performs its duties through various committees in accordance with the local Works Constitution Act. To meet local requirements, various constructive works agreements have been concluded with management.

  • An extensive works agreement focuses on professional development, safeguarding knowledge management, defining training requirements and planning professional training
  • In cooperation with the HR department, in occupational health management, greater importance has been given to the special subject of resilience and psychological stress at work
  • An extensive works agreement focuses on continuing professional development at Swiss Life, without restrictions on entitlement to training (age, gender, department)
  • The Works Council has responded to the new working requirements (workplaces and technology) through a works agreement on more flexible working.
  • The Central Works Council as the overarching body of all operations consists of five persons (two representatives of Works Council Internal Services, two 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, a member of the business committee and spokesperson for the European Works Council of Swiss Life Ltd.
  • The Works Council Internal Services (responsible for the German branch in Garching as well as Swiss Life Partner Service- und Finanzvermittlungs GmbH and SLPM 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 comprises five people, none of whom has dispensation.
Asset Managers Germany
Swiss Life Investment Management Deutschland Holding GmbH
  • Interim agreement during the project phase for the introduction of the “Workday” human resources management system
The members of the Works Council representing CORPUS SIREO Real Estate GmbH, Swiss Life Asset Management GmbH and Swiss Life Invest GmbH established a Group Works Council on 29 October 2019. In connection with the establishment of Swiss Life Investment Management Deutschland Holding GmbH, the aim of the Group Works Council is to define cross-company issues.

The Group Works Council has four members, who are appointed by the above works councils. One member of the works council at Corpus Sireo with 100% dispensation is also a member of the European Works Council.
Swiss Life Asset Management GmbH and Swiss Life Invest GmbH 
  • Works agreement on whistleblowing (supplementary agreement to the Code of Conduct of the Swiss Life Group)
  • Calculation of variable compensation (bonus) for 2018
  • Basic salary adjustment process for non-management, non-pay-scale employees as at 1 April 2019
  • Occupational pension provisions through deferred compensation (additional pension provision) including all additional benefit
  • Framework agreement on IT
  • Framework agreement on Office 365
  • Agreement on the use of the Rosetta Stone language course
The Works Council of Swiss Life Management GmbH and Swiss Life Invest GmbH comprises three members. All members work without dispensation.
Corpus Sireo 
  • Regulation concerning working hours at Corpus Sireo
  • Dealing with working time regulations from old contracts prior to 1 July 2017
  • Mobile working
  • 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 on IT
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.


Agreements signedNumber of Works Council members
broken down by full-time and part-time, area of responsibility
Swiss Life Luxembourg 
Elections were held in March 2019 and the newly elected staff committee started its work in April.

  • The new staff committee is continuing to concentrate on its key role in facilitating the flow of information between staff and the management in order to avoid potential conflicts.
  • Ensuring appropriate investment in the retraining of insurance workers and adapting skills to future workplace demands
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 (Luxembourg) S.A. team has reached the threshold of 15 employees and thus elected its own employee representation in 2019.
Asset Managers Luxembourg 
The staff committee of Swiss Life Asset Managers Luxembourg was reelected in March 2019 and met four times in 2019. The staff committee meets the Executive Board every quarter. No formal agreements were reached between the staff committee and the Executive Board in 2019.The staff committee of Swiss Life Asset Managers Luxembourg consists of two active delegates, two deputy delegates and one security delegate. All delegates work without dispensation.

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