Employees are the basis of Swiss Life’s success; the quality of the service it provides depends upon their expertise and commitment. The aim of human resources management is therefore to find the most suitable employees, to get them interested in working for Swiss Life, to retain them and systematically develop their skills. Swiss Life positions itself in the market as a responsible and attractive employer and promotes the engagement of its employees – both at work and in society.
PERFORMANCE CULTURE — The efficiency-enhancing programme with lasting success — The Group-wide initiative “My Milestones” launched in 2009 was also continued in the year under review. The goal is to accentuate Swiss Life’s values and employee competencies so as to strengthen the performance culture. Every market unit has launched a programme of measures to address these issues. The impact is visible in the employee survey. An impressive 78% of employees gave a positive rating for teamwork – this is 6% higher than the score achieved by the best employers in the European financial industry (72%). Furthermore, employees are very happy with their managers. They feel supported in achieving their goals; here the score of 74% puts Swiss Life in the top quartile of the European financial industry (73%). An above-average rating was given to the aspect of how much employees are involved by their managers in decisions which affect their work. The score of 74% was 8% higher than that achieved by the best employers in the European financial industry.
The performance culture is translated by managers and employees through standardised processes. These include employee performance reviews, setting objectives, appraisals, training measures and decisions on salary and promotions. All employees throughout the Group have completed an individual objectives setting and assessment process. The required strategy- and value-oriented behaviour of employees is described and evaluated in the Group Competency Model (GCM).
In Switzerland, outstanding group performance was once again rewarded with the “Team Award My Milestone”, as in previous years. This award was presented three times during the year under review – for instance to an interdisciplinary project team which worked for several months on different growth options for the Swiss business.
In France, Swiss Life gave all of its employees an individual social balance sheet for the second time. This shows every employee what he/she personally receives from the employer as a combination of salary and non-pecuniary benefits. This personal social balance increases the employee’s identification with the employer.
The AWD Group continued in 2011 to drive forward the implementation and development of its new corporate mission statement. Every year the focus is on one dimension in particular, to support the consistent implementation and execution of the mission and vision. In the year under review this value was “professionalism”, following on from “team spirit” in 2010. In 2012 “customer orientation” will be the focus theme.
PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT — Swiss Life employees go the extra mile — In 2011, Swiss Life conducted its new-style employee survey across the Group for the second time. This second survey was aimed at evaluating the initiatives and measures which were launched in the wake of the 2010 survey. As well as the achievement of these goals, employees assessed company-relevant subjects such as performance, customer orientation, innovation and change, as well as cooperation and management. The Group response rate was a very high 80%.
The Swiss Life Group engagement value is 59%. This is well above the average for companies in the European financial industry (52%). Both the response rate and the engagement value were significantly higher than in the last survey. The Group-wide engagement value alone increased by 3% compared with the previous year. This shows that Swiss Life employees demonstrate a high level of willingness to go the extra mile for their customers – a good prerequisite for keeping Swiss Life on course in the fiercely competitive life and pensions market.
As a result of the survey findings, measures have been taken to introduce improvements in all Swiss Life Group units. These measures are aimed at boosting the development of the company and employees in such a way as to establish a performance culture which is in line with the corporate strategy.
TALENT DEVELOPMENT — Target-oriented development of junior staff with potential — Swiss Life gives high priority to the ongoing development and motivation of employees. Every year the company nominates employees who demonstrate a high level of performance and potential for talent development (manager pool). Training modules and projects help to prepare these future first- and second-level managers (team leaders and department heads) for their future roles. The initiative supports efforts to open up career paths within the company and to fill key positions with budding and qualified young managers from among its own ranks. The AWD Group also runs its own talent programmes. In the two initiatives, GOLD and GOLD Alumni, employees are actively promoted on an ongoing basis, both professionally and personally.
A senior management programme (SMP) is in place at Swiss Life Group level for managers destined for senior management roles. Participants from all units work in a series of modules on the subjects of leadership, strategy and customer orientation, as well as financial management and presentation techniques, developing strategic projects for the Group. During the period under review, four international working groups worked on a series of topics. In 2011, 12 participants qualified from the Senior Manager Pool Class of 2009, while 13 future senior managers, including 4 women, commenced training in the Class of 2011.
The consistent promotion of up-and-coming managers can be regarded as a success. Since the introduction of the senior management programme in 2005, 74% of the graduates have been appointed to key senior management positions.
Swiss Life in France is proactive in its response to demographic changes within society. The “55+” programme is aimed at safeguarding expertise within the company and sustaining employee performance. The initiative involves the obligation to reserve 12% of posts for the over 55s. “55+” allows a flexible reduction in working hours, with partial salary adjustment in the final year of work.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT — Investment in employee development — Swiss Life places great value on internal and external employee training and development. Training and development focuses on management and specialist training for all employees, as well as on tailored courses covering social and methodological skills. Expenses for staff training and development within the Group in 2011 amounted to CHF 15.2 million – approximately CHF 2224 per employee. Expressed as a proportion of total personnel costs, the outlay for training and development came to 2.3%.
In the year under review, Swiss Life in Switzerland set up a programme for graduates of universities and colleges of higher education. The 18-month programme will commence in spring 2012. It complements Swiss Life’s existing training and development provisions for young talent. In the year under review, 21 young people qualified as specialists in three professions, and 12 trainees or interns gained work experience in the life insurance sector.
SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP — Intensive cooperation between employers and employees — Cooperation with Swiss Life’s European Works Council, the Europa Forum, was stepped up in 2011. It was strengthened with the signing of a new social partner agreement for an indefinite period. The nine-person committee with representatives from four countries meets regularly in ordinary and extraordinary meetings and deals with transnational information and consultation in relation to topics which affect all Swiss Life employees. The Europa Forum was founded in 1996.
Intensive social partnerships are also forged in the national companies, primarily in relation to topics arising from the operational requirements of the business units. The staff committee in Switzerland celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011. In a revision of the regulations, the decision was taken to increase the committee from seven to nine employee representatives for the 2012 legislative period.
In Switzerland the MILESTONE programme also entails a reduction of 520 positions between 2010 and 2012. Accompanying the reduction process, Swiss Life is implementing a programme of measures which were worked out with the social partners and have been in force since 2005. 314 employees in Switzerland underwent professional reorientation. They were individually supported and assisted by a team of specialists. 7% were able to find a new position internally and 63% externally. 14% of those released were given early retirement and 16% were referred to regional employment agencies (RAV).
Compared with 2010, the number of full-time positions Group-wide fell by 315 to 7168. This reduction is linked to the MILESTONE programme and affects all Group units. Net fluctuation was 5.2%.