Our responsibility as an employer is reflected in Baloise’s strategic orientation with a clear employee target: Baloise wants to be the leading employer in the sector in terms of employer attractiveness, aiming to be among the top 5% of employers in the financial sector in Europe by 2025. We offer our employees the space they need to contribute to the success of the company and develop both personally and professionally. As a leading employer, we create a working environment that focuses on the health and well-being of employees and where equality, inclusion and diversity are of the utmost importance.
Employer attractiveness is assessed every two years by means of the Employee Engagement Survey (EES), with results being discussed both in the Executive Committee and the individual teams. Every three months, a random selection of employees are also asked to rate the attractiveness of Baloise. These Pulse Checks are used to measure employer attractiveness throughout the Group based on the recommendation rate.
Activities and focus
We stand out in the market through our value culture, work environment and development focus, which are based on fair remuneration.
Fid out more in our Code of Conduct.
An environment in which our values are not just written on slides, but embodied every day, and in which we promote a respectful, non-hierarchical “equal footing attitude”. An environment characterised by a high degree of collaboration, personal responsibility, freedom and flexible working models.
An environment in which we all continue learning and developing, shape the way and leave our tracks. The will to change is firmly anchored in the company. In a learning environment where our employees can take their development into their own hands – both personally and professionally. The training centre at Head Office in Basel, which opened in 2021, is among the most modern in Switzerland.
The options available for learning are independent of function level, and are aimed equally at apprentices or students and the CEO, whether full or part-time. We encourage a change of perspective – involving temporary internal job changes over several months, and offer all employees LinkedIn Learning access, making up to 10% of their working hours available for training. The opportunity to build up an extensive network between employees brings new professional opportunities within Baloise as well as a valuable exchange of experience.
Participation and exchange
We offer our employees a range of possibilities for contributing their opinions and promoting exchange.
Baloise employees are experts in their individual fields. The Baloise Experts employee panel is intended to help gather experiences, ideas and opinions internally in a structured and professional manner. This approach makes it possible to gain important insights and derive concrete measures. Baloise Experts is a flexible complement to established initiatives such as the EES employee survey, which will continue to be important. All employees based in Switzerland can currently become Baloise Experts. Members of Baloise Experts are invited by e-mail at irregular intervals to participate in surveys on a voluntary and non-binding basis.
Employees have been surveyed on the topic of sustainability since 2019: How important is the topic for you? How is it handled by Baloise? What concrete improvements can we make? We received responses from 1,749 employees, so almost a quarter of all Baloise employees. In addition to the SDGs which employees believe Baloise should and can focus on, the survey also asked employees to rate their agreement with the statement: “It’s important to me that Baloise is committed to sustainability.” Overall, 97.4% fully or partly agreed (63% fully agreed), and 96.3% fully or partly agreed to the statement of “I’m convinced that Baloise can make an important contribution to a sustainable world.”
Since 2004, employee representatives from the national subsidiaries have met once a year with representatives of the Corporate Executive Committee in the European Forum. In the spirit of the Baloise value culture, this forum involves a promotion of cross-border dialogue, exchanges, mutual information and the ability to walk in each other’s shoes to obtain a better mutual understanding of the respective concerns. A harmonious development of economic activities is thus ensured taking into account all interests in the Group.
The European Panel deals with the following topics among others:
- The business condition, i.e. the economic and financial situation including developments and prospects
- Fundamental structural and strategic changes
- The current employment conditions and development of the employment situation
- Questions about personnel policy, training and education, as well as equal opportunities
The employee representatives are delegated from the national works councils and employee commissions. The representatives of the CEC are usually the Head of Corporate Division and the Head of Group Human Resources.
A different country association hosts the European Panel every year in alternating cycles. This gives delegates the opportunity to familiarise themselves with other locations as well.
Decisions by the employee representatives at the European Panel are made by the participants present through a majority vote, with each participant having one vote.
Outside the annual meeting, the Europa forum is represented by the managing committee. In addition to the speaker and their deputy, another elected employee representative is part of the committee. It must be observed that at least two countries must be represented.
The committee also represents the interests of those countries that are not represented by their own delegates in the European Panel due to a workforce of fewer than 50 employees. The managing committee remains in regular contact with representatives of the CEC through regular calls and meetings throughout the year. This ensures constant dialogue, rapid orientation and updates on current topics and new developments.
The employee commission has represented the interests of internal and external workers including apprentices of Bâloise Group companies since 19 December 1975.
- Right to information (e.g. information on provisions relating to commissions for officebased staff, commission cuts for field sales staff, early retirement in individual cases, business performance, business policy and objectives or terminations by Baloise)
- Right to participation (e.g. participation in the design of workplaces, meals, working hours, holiday entitlements, wage policy and fringe benefits, adjustments of the employment contract for field sales staff, the goal agreement and YearEnd Review system, employee pensions, social plan in case of large-scale redundancies as well as education and training)
- Right to codecision(e.g. codecision in the collective employment agreement [CEA] and the corporate health management committee)
- Right to selfadministration (e.g. selfadministration in agreements on purchasing discounts at third-party companies, leisure activities, insofar as they are supported by the company and the elections in the employee commission)
Baloise Insurance bases its employees’ jobs on the core labour standards set out by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as on national labour and social standards that significantly exceed these standards. This also applies to the Czech and Slovak branches of Baloise Insurance.
The German sections of the company are largely committed to a collective agreement through the Employers’ Association of Insurance Companies in Germany (Arbeitgeberverband der Versicherungsunternehmen in Deutschland e.V. – agv), and these collective agreements apply for all employees. In addition, there are elected works councillors in the predominantly German sections of the company.
Employee interests are represented supraregionally by the General Works Council in accordance with the Works Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz – BetrVG). Regionally, elected works councillors are active within the companies, and there are also youth and training representatives. Extensive company regulations (company agreements) have been agreed with the above, primarily covering employee (data) protection, flexible working hours and company benefits.
Baloise Insurance welcomes constructive and open dialogue with the representatives committees, even over and above its statutory obligations.
Since 2017, executives at Baloise Insurance have been assessing feedback from their employees on a regular basis as part of an anonymous management feedback initiative. Employees are also regularly given the opportunity to evaluate the company.
The interests of our employees in Belgium are represented by the union representatives in the form of a union delegation and the works council. The union delegation has authority in the following areas:
- Employment relationships
- Collective bargaining
- The application of social legislation, collective contracts, labour law and individual contracts
- The right to be heard by the ExCo or their representatives following collective disputes
- The right to assist an employee in submitting a single complaint to the line manager
- The right to be heard in a single dispute which cannot be resolved through an appeal
- The right to prior notice of changes in contractual and customary work and wage conditions.
The works council consists of an employer and an employees’ representative. The latter consists of a representation of employees, workers, managers and young employees (under the age of 25), depending on the distribution of the different categories within the company.
The works council has decision-making authority in various areas. These are in particular:
- Establishment and change of working regulations
- Determining the dates of annual leave and replacement days for holidays
- Perception of social tasks
- Booking a reporting period
- In addition, it receives information about the social data of the company (workplaces, working conditions, etc.), as well as about all other elements in this context which can influence this data such as economic and financial information with regard to the structure and business of the company, the economic and social prospects, etc.
This information can give rise to an exchange of ideas and conversation. They can also be useful for consultation at other levels, including negotiating with the union delegation.
There is also a committee for risk prevention and workplace protection (CPBW / Comité PB). The CBPW consists of an employer and an employees’ representative. The CPBW has authority in a range of decision-making, consultation, negotiation and information areas regarding the well-being of workers in the workplace: safety and health, design of workplaces, etc.
The employees’ representatives within the works council and the CPBW are elected by employees in social elections which take place every four years.
Baloise in Luxembourg has two different delegations (one each for Baloise Assurances Luxembourg SA and Baloise Vie Luxembourg SA) who act as staff representatives and are elected by secret ballot for a term of five years. The delegation meets with the Executive Committee three times a year and receives information on social data (fluctuations, illness, absences, etc.), economic and financial information on the structure and business of the company, economic and social perspectives, etc. This information forms the basis for exchange and dialogue with management and is essential for the delegations’ involvement in certain corporate decisions, which must be taken by mutual agreement between the management and the delegations.
According to the Employment Act, the general tasks of the delegations are to
- safeguard and defend the interests of company employees
- in terms of working conditions,
- job security, and
- social status;
- comment on all matters relating to working conditions, in particular the working of overtime;
- submit all individual or collective complaints to the employer;
- attempt to prevent and settle disputes between the employer and the employee;
- contact the labour inspectorate in the event of non-compliance with the legal or conventional regulations;
- contribute to protecting the working environment.
In addition to the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Secretary (committee), the delegation also consists of two delegates with very specific tasks – the Equal Opportunities Officer and the Health and Safety Officer.
- The Equal Opportunities Officer promotes equal treatment of male and female employees in terms of access to employment, training and career advancement, as well as pay and working conditions.
- The role of the Health and Safety Officer is to defend the interests of employees in relation to health and safety in the workplace, and to ensure that appropriate measures are taken for first aid, fire fighting and evacuation of employees.
Impact on employees
Employees’ skills are promoted through their work at Baloise, and they are given the freedom to develop these through their own abilities. In line with the motto: anything goes, nothing has to. The opportunity to build up an extensive network between employees brings new professional opportunities within Baloise as well as a valuable exchange of experience. Our aim is to establish the best match between the modern skills of our employees and the requirements of Baloise as a company.
Our culture: top employer
One manifestation of our corporate culture is our ambition to be among the top 5% of employers in the industry by 2025. With a promotion to the top 10% of European employers in the financial industry in 2021, we are fully on track to achieve this goal. Development is measured by a performance indicator that indicates how often Baloise is recommended as an employer. In addition, our culture and the cultural change that our Simply Safe strategy entails is not only supported and determined by management, but also considerably by our employees. In order to follow our strategy in terms of deeds, 200 highly committed and networked employees developed the Baloise CODE, which promotes cultural change across all hierarchies and makes it tangible. The Baloise CODE is consistent with the Baloise behavioural values: “Put yourself in other’s shoes”, “Act authentically and earn trust”, “Develop and engage – yourself and others”.
The level of loyalty among our employees is high, and networks between colleagues are strong. Within the long average period of employment of 12.1 years, employees can change perspectives and work in different positions.
In 2020, we were awarded the Friendly Work Space label by Health Promotion Switzerland for the fourth time in a row – scoring 4.83 out of a possible 5 points! The Friendly Work Space label is awarded to organisations that successfully implement their corporate health management (CHM) and make systematic efforts towards good working conditions for their employees.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
Different personalities, diverse expertise: diversity is the driving force behind our special corporate culture. Employees of all ages, genders, cultures, sexual orientations and attitudes shape the enterprise in many ways. Sexual harassment and discrimination of any form will not be tolerated, and will be punished by various bodies (HR Business Partner, Occupational Health Management, Employee Commission and Integrity Line).
Employees from various departments at Baloise are ambassadors and gauge the mood within their areas. How do we practice diversity and inclusion? What experiences are shared in the network? What measures are discussed and implemented? From here, the respective decisions flow into the Baloise world. The coordination centre forms part of the HR department in Switzerland. This is where fields of action are analysed, responsibilities are coordinated and measures are implemented.
As there is room for improvement in the current situation, particularly with regard to gender diversity in its management bodies, Baloise is committed to promoting the advancement of women: In 2020, the Corporate Executive Committee decided that in future, women should account for one third of all annual promotions and appointments. By deciding to focus on women when considering employees for promotion, we are laying the foundations for greater balance in the workplace. Diverse teams come up with better solutions and create a more pleasant working environment, which has a positive effect on customer satisfaction and, in turn, results. The proportion of women is to be significantly increased in the upper management levels in the future.
Further development at all levels
Through the opportunity for continuous further development and interdisciplinary knowledge transfer, we create the best match between employees with modern skills and the needs of Baloise as a company.
By enabling young professionals to enter the world of work through an apprenticeship, as trainees, temporary student employees or interns, Baloise is also investing in the future of the company and the workplace in the countries in which it operates. Baloise trains around 260 young people every year throughout the Group in total (as of 2020), which corresponds to a training rate of 3.4 per cent. The added value created forms the basis for a more secure future for employees and the company, and it also makes it possible to create new jobs or maintain existing ones
Baloise is also supporting its employees with the introduction of learning time in Switzerland, and by making the LinkedIn Learning platform available to them in a self-service approach. These measures are based on the conviction that everyone has an intrinsic motivation to learn. The LinkedIn Learning platform provides all employees with access to more than 15,000 video courses from leading industry experts, which can be used to gain new knowledge or expand existing knowledge in a self-determined and interest-based way. Since its launch in March 2020, employees throughout the Group have spent a total of more than 4,000 hours learning on the platform (as of the end of 2020).
The Baloise Kickbox concept gives all employees a chance to be part of the innovation process at Baloise, put their own ideas into practice and perhaps even become the CEO of a new start-up. The Kickbox concept is an approach, or innovation programme, that aims to promote entrepreneurship, helping employees to use their ideas to generate value for Baloise customers. At the same time, our employees acquire new skills that support their professional and personal development. They learn to take a more agile approach to their work, to apply new methods and quickly validate their ideas (or abandon them if appropriate) – qualities that have proven successful in today’s market.
A sustainability network has been active since 2019, which consists of all Baloise departments that influence and are influenced by the topic of sustainability within Baloise. This working group is equipped with the necessary professional expertise to develop the content for the topic of sustainability and to update it regularly; for example, the value-added model. The Group Strategy Board (GSB), which comprises the Corporate Executive Committee (CEC) and the CEOs of the national subsidiaries, decides on the implementation and application of the content. The Board of Directors is responsible for developing the sustainability approach, embedding it in the overall strategy and overseeing it. The described governance model was approved by the GSB and the Board of Directors in late 2019.