Human Capital | A qualified and committed workforce is one of Swiss Life’s strategic success factors. To enhance the commitment and expertise of its employees and management, the company consistently invests in training and development. In 2008 Swiss Life continued to pursue a performance culture and to demonstrate its commitment as a responsible employer.

Swiss Life’s success depends on a qualified workforce with an above-average level of commitment. Human capital management measures are thus aimed at finding and retaining the right employees and enabling them to systematically develop their skills. In doing so, Swiss Life consistently applies the corporate strategy and corporate values.

PERFORMANCE CULTURE | Swiss Life recognises the value of a performance-oriented corporate culture. The company introduced various measures in 2008 to strengthen this culture.

For instance, management and employees took part in a Group-wide project with the aim of aligning the competency model to the new strategic priorities. The competency model describes the strategy and value-driven behaviour of management and employees. Now, more emphasis is being placed on the competencies of innovativeness, client focus and coping with change. The updated competency model forms part of the employee appraisal system, which is a central element of the performance culture. It will be applied for the first time in the objectives-setting process for 2009.

Commitment | One of Swiss Life’s key indicators is the commitment value. This reveals to what extent employees identify with the company and their job. In 2008, the average commitment value for staff in the Swiss Life Group was 76 out of a possible 100 index points, thereby remaining stable vis-à-vis the previous year. Some business areas exceeded the target value of 80 index points in the year under review.

Commitment is greatly impacted by the way in which managers behave towards their staff. Taking the competency model as a basis, the Private Placement Life Insurance unit – with locations in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore and Dubai – held various events to promote a mutual understanding of leadership, for example.

TALENT DEVELOPMENT | One of Swiss Life’s priorities is to offer opportunities for further development to employees and management on an ongoing basis, and to motivate them to remain with the company. Swiss Life therefore offers employees who demonstrate a high level of performance and the relevant potential the opportunity to complete a development programme while continuing to work.

Since 2005, eighteen management talents at senior management level have successfully completed an internal development programme of several years’ duration. In a series of five modules, the participants worked on strategically relevant subjects such as self-management, client orientation, financial management, strategy and cross-border cooperation. They have thus been thoroughly prepared for future management duties. All participants are still employed at the company. 80% have already assumed a new, more responsible, position within the Group.

Swiss Life’s companies and units in the various countries also set great store on offering staff development perspectives. In the process of implementing a new organisational structure, the Corporate Solutions business unit was also able to offer development opportunities to managers. Thus, in 2008, five managerial vacancies were filled by internal candidates.

In Germany, too, Swiss Life has stepped up its investment in the promotion of talent. In 2008, around one third of the vacant managerial positions in Internal Services, the sales force and executive management were filled by existing staff.

DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES | However, Swiss Life does not just focus on providing staff with opportunities for development, training is also important to the company. Expenses for staff training and development in 2008 amounted to approximately CHF 22.5 million – around CHF 3100 per employee. Expressed as a ratio of the entire personnel expenses, the costs for training and development came to 3.1%, as in the previous year.

In Germany, for instance, Swiss Life has implemented a training module in which participants can study business administration and, at the same time, train to become an insurance and financial advisor. In April 2008 the first three Swiss Life employees graduated from the course. One of them came top of the year, getting the best marks of all 200 students. All graduates have assumed new challenges within Swiss Life involving specialist tasks.

SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP | Following new legal requirements issued by the European Union, Swiss Life’s Corporate Executive Board set up the “Europa Forum” committee organisation (European works council) in 1996. Its aim is to foster and improve dialogue between the Corporate Executive Board and employee representatives. The council is comprised of representatives from all Swiss Life units and all the countries in which Swiss Life operates. The agreement on the Europa Forum was renewed two years ago. It is one of the most extensive, voluntary agreements in the European umbrella organisation and serves as a model for other European companies. In 2008 the Europa Forum’s main focus was the consequences of the sale of the Dutch and Belgian businesses and the acquisition of the majority participation in AWD.