This section describes the impacts of our employees on our business activities and relationships, along with the impacts of UNIQA’s business activities and relationships on our employees. The focus here is on our “People and culture” strategy as well as the associated concepts and measures.
We have also put measures in place for our employees with the new UNIQA 3.0 strategic programme. Our overriding objective is to become the most attractive employer in the industry by 2024. In specific terms, we want to achieve a minimum of 4.5 stars on a scale of 1 to 5. In order to fulfil this target, a wide range of measures were drawn up in 2021. These measures will be implemented in 2022 and the coming years. We also want to use these measures as the basis for establishing standards for HR management in our international subsidiaries as well. In doing so, this should ensure Group-wide standards in key HR processes across all country organisations, which will help contribute towards an excellent employee experience.
Five key action items have been defined in particular for this purpose, namely Employee Experience, Employee Engagement, Learning and Leadership, Digital Skills and Future of Work. The following action items specifically form part of these Group-wide standards: uniform recruitment process, uniform onboarding process, uniform assessment and feedback process for managers, Inspiring Coach Compass, Group-wide performance management, digitised HR services.
In 2021, we paid particular attention, on the one hand, to supporting cost savings that were in progress in Austria, and on the other, to projects intended to make UNIQA the most attractive employer in our market by 2024. Once again in 2021, our primary focus was on protecting our employees during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, minimising health risks and ensuring flexible working conditions were in place. As Austria’s largest health insurer, we have been clear advocates of getting vaccinated and actively encourage our employees to do so.
Socially responsible job cuts in Austria
In order to deal with the major challenges, the insurance industry currently faces and be able to offer our customers competitive services in future too, we have set up a new, customer-centric organisational structure here in Austria. The aim was to reduce the complexity of the structures and processes in place as well as reduce absolute costs and the cost ratio. The associated organisational changes resulted in the loss of numerous jobs. In order to ensure these job cuts were as socially acceptable as possible, we agreed a social plan with the Works Council. We have worked incredibly hard to ensure the termination of employment contracts with employees, some of whom are long-serving, is conducted with due care. Alongside one-off payments and a hardship fund, we have also offered longer-term retirement models as well as an employment foundation and outplacements. All terminations were completed subject to mutual consent; thanks to the attractive nature of the provision arising from the social plan, we managed to achieve an acceptance rate of 90 per cent. A total of 371 jobs in Austria were cut as a result of this, of which 279 were back office jobs and 92 were sales force jobs.
New hybrid world of work at UNIQA
In order to make the changes required as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic as acceptable as possible for both our customers and employees, we have established a new standard for geographically flexible working in Austria by making working from home easier. A works agreement in place creates uniform framework conditions; employees can choose from three working models involving more or less working from home and create an overall package to suit them, whether working in the office, working from home or mobile working. By doing so, we want to make a conscious effort towards greater self-determination, trust and flexibility. The working culture at UNIQA is also being redefined together with our employees.
Health and satisfaction
The UNIQA employee survey in Austria was conducted once again in 2021. The participation rate was 72.4 per cent. The questions asked covered topics such as the situation at work, work processes, management structure, alignment with targets, professional development, company image and overall satisfaction. The overall satisfaction rate was 76 out of 100 possible points. The newly introduced Integration Index showed that the feeling of belonging and being one’s own self at UNIQA is very strong among most respondents. However, when compared to the last employee survey in 2019, the results this time indicate a declining rating.
Our UNIQA Works Council plays a key role in the health and satisfaction of our employees. Its work covers the four “Social”, Economic”, “Health” and “Cultural” areas. All activities in these areas have a profound impact on the satisfaction of our employees and, as a result, on UNIQA’s success. In addition to medical check-ups, vaccinations and special vital events related to fitness and work-life balance, our joint service provision also includes support to ensure better mental health. Given that social contact is extremely important at a time when restrictions are in force, works trips and other organised meetings play a key role in strengthening our UNIQA community and promoting unity among our colleagues. The UNIQA Works Council also plays a key role in compiling new benefits or improving existing benefits, such as participation in the company’s success, the pension fund system, Group health insurance or the “l iving better together” programme.
The UNIQA volunteer day was introduced in 2013. It is a voluntarily granted day off work where the focus is on social engagement for the benefit of disadvantaged people. By November 2021, around 900 days have been utilised as volunteer days. Using the average daily working time of eight hours as the basis, this equates to 7,168 hours of voluntary work.
Training and education
Learning while working is part of everyday life at UNIQA. All of our back office and sales force employees in Austria have had access to our online platform for this purpose for many years. The digitalisation of our education provision has become a pivotal part of our training, particularly during the pandemic, and allows people to expand their knowledge digitally at their own pace. This provision not only includes familiar e-learning courses but also specific webinars too. Many formats, including our Lunch and Learn learning format, were converted in their entirety to webinar format, owing to the extra flexibility involved and excellent feedback we obtained. We have therefore given all employees in Austria the opportunity to participate, while the record function allows you to check out webinars at a later point in time. In 2021, we hosted a total of seven online Lunch and Learn events involving around 1,000 employees, as well as 1,423 webinars and 325 in-person training sessions.
Since February 2021, all employees have also had access to GoodHabitz training sessions via the training platform. These sessions include, for example, training on personal development, language, management and teamwork or on productivity. The training sessions can be held online, in hybrid form or face-to-face as they take place in three sections, starting with the kick-off, then a self-learning phase, and finally the wrap-up. The required number of licences will be expanded from 1,000 to 5,000 in 2022 to enable our sales force employees throughout Austria to make use of these training sessions in future too.
Leadership and management
The Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying digitalisation of the world of work have also accelerated the demands placed on our managers. What this involves in particular is coming up with new ways of communicating and working that are fit for the future and efficient. Our leadership development programme entitled #leader_ship aims to build our managers’ skills in leading and managing employees. The focus is on the personal and future-driven development of managers themselves and of employees too. Our goal is to help them identify their own areas for development and work toward continual improvement in these areas. The aim is to enable managers to take key roles in our organisation and to encourage them to hold development-oriented discussions with employees. It also aims to improve their leadership skills in working with diverse teams and the various ways of working and lifestyles inherent in these teams. We have also introduced the Inspiring Coach Compass, a new tool that contributes to providing feedback to and developing top managers.
2021 also saw the creation of a new management mission statement, which is based on the guiding principles defined in the UNIQA 3.0 corporate strategy. It is used as a guide, provides inspiration and acts as a signpost to create a culture of inspiring coaches, strengthen collaboration, motivate employees to take personal responsibility and increase efficiency.
We also want to actively reshape our corporate culture as the basis for implementing the UNIQA 3.0 strategic programme. By doing so, we will create the cultural framework within which we can achieve our ambitious targets as inspiring coaches. We have started a Group-wide cultural transformation programme for this purpose and set up a culture office as a centre of competence. A Group-wide survey was carried out in the first two quarters of 2021 in order to survey the status quo as regards the corporate culture. Using this as the basis, we then defined a target culture that is based on three dimensions and linked to our guiding principles. We trialled best practices in cultural change in the final two quarters of 2021 and successfully implemented a number of pilot projects. The Group-wide roll-out of these projects is scheduled to take place this year.
Target achievement in 2021
Targets for 2022
Most attractive employer in the industry
As part of our UNIQA 3.0 strategy, we have set ourselves the long-term goal of becoming the best employer in the industry by 2024. In order to fulfil this target, a wide range of measures were drawn up based on five action items: Employee Experience, Employee Engagement, Learning and Leadership, Digital Skills and Future of Work
Continuation and implementation of measures defined in 2021, including, for example, the introduction of uniform standards for HR management in all countries, which will help contribute towards an excellent employee experience throughout the entire Group.