Introducing and establishing a work-life balance programme for better compatibility of work and private life
- Name of the companyuniVersa VersicherungsunternehmenCorporate headquartersGermanySize and sectorhealth, life and general insurance, 770 office-based staffWebsite
Background to introducing the measure
In 2006, the company undertook a study looking at the demographic challenge and the special framing conditions at uniVersa. This found that due to the existing age structure and the forecasts for the near future, particularly for the company location in Nuremberg, there was no acute need for action. Nevertheless, various measures were introduced for the following years to secure this positive starting situation and regular monitoring of the demographic situation was planned. In 2012, a fresh study of these issues was conducted, which largely confirmed the favourable starting situation and supported the company in continuing and in some cases intensifying the measures already introduced. A key element is the work-life balance programme introduced in recent years at uniVersa, enabling employees to achieve greater balance between work and private life and thereby making a major contribution to employee loyalty and the company's attractiveness as an employer.
In 2010, uniVersa HR officers attended a qualification programme run by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the Bertelsmann Foundation on work-life competence. This was followed up by creating a concept framework for the existing measures in a work-life balance programme and further development of these measures. From 2012 on, an annual Work-Life Balance report has been conducted.
uniVersa Lebensversicherung a.G., uniVersa Krankenversicherung a.G., uniVersa Allgemeine Versicherung AG
Object of the measure
Following successful attendance of the Bertelsmann Foundation qualification programme, the existing support measures for improving work-life balance were bundled in a structured programme and continuously expanded. The approach chosen was geared to life phases, so that staff of all ages can benefit from the measures and a consolidation of staff loyalty can be achieved. The following elements therefore contribute to achieving greater balance between work and private life at uniVersa:
Company agreement on flexible working time and teleworking
The existing company agreements on flexible working time and on teleworking enable employees to achieve the greatest possible flexibility on organising their own personal working conditions. The management and the Works Council agreed a working time arrangement which makes no provision for core time but for arbitrary part-time factors, thus resulting in a wide variety of possible part-time models. The scope for working from home in some cases as part of an individual teleworking agreement rounds off the opportunities for agreeing the work for uniVersa in the best possible way to fit with an employee's personal situation in life.
Information offers for parents-to-be
An information folder was put together for mothers- and fathers-to-be, which is handed over at a face-to-face advice meeting. It contains general and regional information on maternity leave, parental leave and pay, child allowance, maternity hospitals, midwives, etc. In addition, a personal gift from the company for the birth was introduced.
Contact with employees during parental leave
Due to the low average age and the high percentage of women in the work force, at uniVersa the number of employees taking parental leave is regularly very high. The aim of the work-life balance programme is to maintain close and good contact during this period, thereby increasing the prospects of early re-entry. The regularly-published in-house magazine is sent to the home of the employees in question, who are also invited to company events such as the staff celebration. Furthermore, they are invited to attend a special parental leave employees meeting twice a year; at that meeting, there is a presentation on a family-specific subject and an update on current developments within the company.
Holiday and after-school care for children of employees
Since 2010, uniVersa has offered the opportunity of pedagogically-qualified holiday childcare in the first three weeks of the summer holidays. For this, a childcare option is arranged for employees close to the company's head office and for children aged from 3 to 12, in a cooperation with other Nuremberg companies.
In Bavaria, another constraint on working parents is often the „Day of Prayer and Repentance“ („Buß- und Bettag“), which - whilst it is not a statutory holiday - is a day when the schools are closed. To ease the burden on employees, since 2012 the company has offered a childcare facility on its own premises for this day.
Support offer for employees caring for relatives
For employees who are caring for a near relative or who are suddenly put into this situation, the company offers meetings to give face-to-face advice. This is handled by an external partner so that the private life of the employee in question remains confidential; uniVersa meets the costs of a three-hour advisory session. In addition, the company arranges information events on the subject of „Caring for family members“ for staff on an ad-hoc basis.
Cooperation with the online platform betreut.de
The company offers its employees free access to the online platform „betreut.de“. Via this portal, it is possible to search for daily help such as childcare workers, tutors, carers, home helps and animal-sitters.
Effects and benefits realised
The measures outlined are well-received by the staff, who make frequent use of them. The work-life balance programme has also been accepted well by the employee representatives.
Overall, there has been a noticeable improvement in the perception of employer attractiveness, and the high degree of loyalty to the company amongst staff has been maintained.
Key success factors/obstacles
- Offers of support that are as closely matched to needs as possible
- A broad offer, geared to employees in all phases of life
- Adequate information to staff about the various support options
- Participation by management, which supports the programme to the fullest possible extent and ideally makes active use of it