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Annual Report 2016

Diversity and inclusion in our workforce

One of the key aspirations of our People Strategy is to attract and engage talented employees from different backgrounds by living a flexible, inclusive and open culture where dialogue and different perspectives are valued. This aspiration is reflected in our diversity and inclusion (D&I) vision: “See, feel and live diversity – diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, generation, sexual orientation (LGBT), physical abilities, personalities and experiences – at all levels, functions and regions of Swiss Re”.

We are committed to this vision because it supports an environment in which our employees value each other’s differences and where they can all bring their authentic selves to the workplace – an environment in which our inclusive culture enables us to truly live our “smarter together” brand promise.

Living up to this promise, our global D&I community, a committed group of business D&I Champions, local D&I Councils and inclusive Employee Networks, continued their strong efforts to ensure our diversity and inclusion framework is firmly embedded in our corporate culture. These efforts are reflected in our 2016 employee engagement results, which tell us that our employees are positive about SwissRe’s open and inclusive culture, and that they see the value we place on diversity.

Advancement of women

Almost half of Swiss Re’s global workforce are women and we are steadily improving gender balance at management levels. To underline our commitment to reducing bias in talent decision-making, this year we integrated line manager training and tools into the recruiting process and across the talent life cycle. As part of our new employer brand positioning, we systematically apply D&I best practices, such as forming diverse hiring panels and using gendersensitive language and visuals in all job advertisements.

Women in management positions (in %)







“Executive/senior management positions” comprises the management levels of Director/Senior Vice President upwards. “All management positions” refers to Vice President and above.

Executive/senior management positions1




All management positions1




Total workforce




Bridging generations

To ensure Swiss Re attracts and retains the talent needed for the future and remains an employer of choice, it is important we understand the diverse needs of the multiple generations making up our workforce. In particular, we are focusing on building dialogue across different age groups to break the stereotypes attached to generational preferences and workstyles.

Agile working

Our future success depends on our ability to create a flexible, global workforce that is responsive and highly resilient in responding to the needs of our business. Swiss Re follows an integrated, future-focused strategy that brings together our physical workplace, technology and people management practices to take us to the next level. As part of our agile workplace initiative, line managers and employees are being trained in how to foster inclusiveness and engagement in teams working more flexibly.

We have made considerable efforts to ensure our employees own the way they work and can effectively collaborate in an agile and flexible working environment. This is reflected in a variety of formal and informal flexible working arrangements that focus on performance outcomes versus face time. Our trademarked programme, Own the Way You Work™, is a cultural change initiative which gives managers and employees autonomy to decide how, when and where work is carried out, in compliance with the applicable laws, rules and regulations of their particular region. This has become a differentiating part of Swiss Re’s employee value proposition.

Inclusive culture

A key aspect of our People Strategy is to prevent stereotyping of individuals based on any dimensions of diversity. It centres on raising awareness of the “unconscious biases” that every one of us have and which can unintentionally influence our decision-making and our behaviour towards others. Besides the ongoing self-awareness and skills training in reducing bias throughout Swiss Re, line managers and employees participate in a variety of face-to-face and web-based training that promotes self-awareness and skills in reducing bias such as those related to generations, sexual orientation and gender.

Code of Conduct

In line with Swiss Re’s policy of fostering diversity, we have strong provisions in place to penalise any infringing behaviour. Our Code of Conduct, of which we published an updated version in 2016, clearly states that discrimination in the workplace against any employee or job applicant based on the person’s age, (dis)ability, origin, gender, religion or sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by local law, is not tolerated under any circumstances. We encourage our employees to report violations of the Code of Conduct, laws, rules or regulations, and make it clear to them that reporting in good faith is treated with discretion and that retaliation will not be tolerated.