Listening to our employees

We foster a culture of open dialogue and frequent feedback at all levels, where employees and managers engage in regular, personal exchange. In particular, we want to assess our progress in fostering an engaging work environment and an agile, commercial culture, which are both key to our present and future success.

For the past five years, we sought feedback from all our employees in a more formal manner through an annual Employee Engagement Survey (EES), run by our external provider Aon, now known as Kincentric. Besides helping to foster an open culture, it has also enabled us to measure progress against the objectives of our People Strategy.

A key feedback received from our line managers, which is supported by external trends, is the need to become more flexible in our survey approach. Acting on this, we have shifted from an annual survey to a pulse check approach: shorter, more regular and lighter surveys on themes important to evolve our organisation. This also enables us to act more quickly on the results and take targeted actions.

The first of these pulses carried out early in 2019 focused on the topics of engagement and agility, while also measuring progress on specific priorities such as talent, pay and leaders creating excitement for the future.

As with our annual surveys in previous years, we experienced high response rates for our pulses: 80% in May and 69% in November. Our Group Employee Engagement score established in the May pulse was 64%, 2 percentage points lower than in 2018 and slightly below Aon’s Global Finance & Insurance industry average. The Engagement score is calculated based on how employees speak about their organisation, on their desire to work for it and their motivation to contribute to business success. We continue to compare our results with external benchmarks.

One question was whether our employees have plenty of good things to say about Swiss Re, another whether they recommend Swiss Re as an employer. We are pleased that both questions scored excellent results: 72% (2 percentage points higer than in 2018) and 74% (1 percentage point higher), respectively.

Given our desire to build a more agile culture, we place special emphasis on measuring our progress in this respect. One of Swiss Re’s biggest strengths has been reconfirmed by our employees – that we have an environment that is open to and inclusive of individual differences (68%). We also continue to focus on speed as an opportunity. When, in November, we checked the pulse on whether our employees are experiencing progress on agility, 59% of them responded positively, which is encouraging.