Pushing for equality


Equal pay and work-family compatibility: these are two subjects that Daniel Zimmermann, Head of Human Resources Management, and his team at CSS are working hard on.

Interview with Daniel Zimmermann

As Head of Human Resources Management at CSS, Daniel Zimmermann’s particular concern is the staff’s well-being. In the interview, Daniel Zimmermann explains how CSS is taking action to achieve equality and finding ways to meet its staff’s growing needs.

Daniel Zimmermann, Leiter Human Resources Management
As a father of three, Daniel Zimmermann, Head of Human Resources Management, knows from his own experience the challenges of combining work and family life.

CSS has succeeded in practically eliminating the pay gap between women and men in just a few years. How did CSS manage this?

We’ve been working constantly on this topic over the past few years, and set our focus on achieving equality between genders and generations. The managers play an important role in this success. Through working with our HR advisors, their awareness of the issue of equal pay has been raised and steps taken to resolve it together. The annual salary reviews, for example, present the perfect opportunity for this. We also ensure that the agreed salaries are fair from the outset, i.e. from the recruitment stage. In addition, we regularly and systematically analyse our salary structure and compare it with developments on the market.

What other measures contribute to equal pay at CSS?

One example is when it comes to salary reviews: we set the criteria for distributing resources. In concrete terms, this means that we assist line managers by supplying clearly defined principles for salary increases. The principles define the conditions for the distribution. After the salary reviews have been completed, we at HR evaluate the impact each year and measure the improvement. To simplify matters, we use a standardised benchmark for calculating salaries. All salaries are based on 100% working hours.

The effect of unconscious bias

Recently, we’ve been working hard on the topic of unconscious bias. We make staff aware of these “pigeonholes” in the head and show how they influence decisions. This awareness contributes to an improvement in equal pay.

In Switzerland, we’ve made advances in terms of work-family compatibility and have improved the framework conditions, but there’s still a lot to do.
Daniel Zimmermann, Head of Human Resources Management and member of the Group Executive Board

Work-family compatibility is another key topic. What makes CSS special in this area?

CSS firmly believes in the importance of diversity and a balance of genders in the workplace. This is why the company is taking action at various levels. One step we took was to improve framework conditions to make it easier for staff to combine family and career: for example, we offer as many jobs as possible as part-time positions – especially in senior management. We co-finance professional childcare and grant generous maternity and paternity leave. Another example: working parents can take sabbaticals to spend more time at one go with their families.

What does work-family compatibility mean to you personally?

As a father of three, I know how valuable it is to be able to combine a family with a career. There’s always a lot to plan and organise, but you also have to deal with the unexpected. A good basis for work-family compatibility is an enormous relief at such times. But it's not just families with young children that are affected. I know many people responsible for the care of other family members who do valuable unpaid work during non-working hours. In Switzerland, we’ve made advances in terms of work-family compatibility and have improved the framework conditions, but there’s still a lot to do.

Where do you see a need for action? What challenges do we face?

I see three major challenges in the future: the shortage of skilled labour, demands from the younger generation for a new and different working world, and the need for good workplace health.

A sense of purpose at work

In times of skilled labour shortages, attractive working conditions become increasingly important on the labour market, along with equal pay, advantageous training and development opportunities, and innovative working methods. There's a rising need among employees for a sense of value and purpose. It’s therefore vital for us as a company to be able to convey this sense of purpose. Our hybrid forms of work give staff members a lot of flexibility, but also increase the physical distance between them: this makes the personal connection between employees all the more important. HR has the task of designing a working world that provides an ideal balance between personal freedom, a strong sense of community and delivering real value to clients and the company.

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In our diverse working environment, we provide opportunities for you to move ahead.


The original interview was published on 21/06/2023 on the website of the Swiss Insurance Association. Excerpts were used for this website.

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