Back in the summer of 2018, three LGBTQ employees at Baloise got together and said: we want to make a difference. “While many people are open to different sexual orientations and gender identities in theory, open discourse and accepting these orientations and identities as something that is completely natural is sadly something that some people still find difficult. So we knew that we wanted to create a network,” says Andreas, one of the founding members of JUMP! Angela Matthes, CEO of Baloise Life Liechtenstein, is aslo one of the network’s big supporters. Angela completed her transition to a woman at Baloise in 2014 and received support from day one.
The network is not reserved exclusively for the LGBTQ community. All employees can join as “friends”. Désirée, an HR specialist, explains: “I joined the network as a friend because this sort of open-minded approach is par for the course for me, even though I’m not part of the community myself.” The network now boasts 20 members and 30 friends.
Baloise’s culture – open, diverse and sustainable
During our first strategic phase, Simply Safe 1, we moved into the top ten per cent of employers in the European financial industry and established a Diversity Board. During the next, second phase of our strategy, our goal is to rank among the top five per cent of employers in all sectors in Europe by 2025. “The more diverse our 7,300 employees in five different countries are, the richer our cultural experience. Our common denominator is mutual respect, and this is an aspect that Jump! makes a key contribution to with its open-minded approach. Employees who treat each other with respect are satisfied employees, and this forms the basis for our appeal as an employer,” says Caroline Schmid-Steiner, a Diversity Board member who is responsible for coordinating diversity-related issues.
There is a good reason why employees and their well-being are a key component of our approach for a sustainable Baloise: we can only survive in the long term if our employees feel happy at work. The JUMP! network makes a key contribution to promoting diversity at all levels.Kim Berrendorf, Head of the Sustainability Network
Even greater acceptance as a matter of course
JUMP! is committed to ensuring that the concerns of the LGBTQ community are purposely addressed as part of the diversity strategy and to raising awareness among employees who would not come into contact with the issue otherwise. Andreas is keen to emphasise: “On the one hand, we are striving to ensure that members of the LGBTQ community become more visible, and are accepted as a matter of course, in their day-to-day working lives, while on the other, we also want to show that Baloise is a diverse and tolerant employer that supports us in our endeavours.”
Network extending beyond Baloise itself
Normally, the network meets for after-work drinks once a month and also organises other events on a regular basis. “Good examples include the information event on the various legal questions that members of the LGBTQ community have in the workplace, such as protection against discrimination and ‘marriage for everyone’,” says Andreas. “We also baked around 800 cookies for Pride Week and distributed them to Baloise employees.” JUMP! joins forces with LGBTQ networks at other companies to organise larger events. “Our participation in the Zurich Pride event with networks from two other insurance companies that we shared a float and a DJ with was a real highlight. We wanted to show that even sectors that are considered more conservative are committed to supporting the LGBTQ community, and not just at the Pride event, but rather throughout the year in the various different companies.” JUMP! is also involved in a process of active dialogue with various LGBTQ organisations and networks dealing with LGBTQ issues throughout the year, e.g. how to deal with homophobia in the working world or best practices among managers. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the events are being held as virtual events and we hope that we can once again look forward to a colourful Pride event in Zurich in June 2021.”