Top Workplace: Credit Suisse Awarded the Friendly Workspace Label
Credit Suisse Perspectives

Top Workplace: Credit Suisse Awarded the Friendly Workspace Label

Credit Suisse officially became a "Friendly Workspace" last fall. Health Promotion Switzerland (Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz) has awarded the bank this globally unique quality label for its workplace health management.

It has been a long time since placing a bowl of fresh apples at the reception every morning or providing a water dispenser in open-plan offices was enough for a company to qualify as showing special concern for its employees' health. The pace of work is steadily increasing, the pressure is rising, and, during times of restructuring, uncertainty also grows. "That's why it's particularly important right now to take employees' health and concerns seriously," says Martin Raske, Head of HR Advisory Services Switzerland. "Although we have always invested a lot in our employees' health, our latest surveys showed that many people are not aware of our efforts, or take these things for granted," he continues. These results gave the people in charge food for thought. In their view, the results were neither complete nor balanced.

Activities Summarized on 70 Pages

What could be done? All the units and staff involved in workplace health management gathered for a round table at the beginning of 2016. The full range of activities was discussed, from workplace safety and ergonomics to preventive training, and absence and case management. "We soon realized that we needed to bring together all the things on offer, make them more visible, and project them outside the organization," says Raske. After analyzing the situation, those responsible decided they wanted to achieve this in the form of the Friendly Workspace label (FWS). The aim of this unique seal of approval is to create a sense of recognition and respect for employees. So they got to work. At peak times, there were 40 to 50 people involved in the project. They assembled documents, policies, and presentations. By the end, they had a hefty 70-page report. "We were surprised by its volume ourselves," says Raske. "We didn't have anything of this standard in the past, and that alone made the huge amount of work worthwhile."

Top Marks for the Wide Range

Then came the moment of truth. The self-assessment and the evaluation by two professional consultants from Health Promotion Switzerland showed that CS is exemplary in terms of corporate social responsibility and volunteering. "We make it possible for an above-average number of employees to undertake volunteering assignments alongside their job," Raske explains. The workplace aspect is also highly rated: All offices for all employees are CO2 neutral, and one missing Minergie standard is compensated for. According to Raske, CS also receives top marks for its diverse offering. There are relaxing massages, yoga, sporting events, and fitness studios on offer at the larger locations, and balanced meals at the staff restaurants. And that's not all: Dedicated teams deal with lighting, ventilation, and ergonomics at the workplace. It's no surprise that occupational accident rates are now at a record low. In Smart Working areas, at least one in four desks is now a back-friendly stand-up desk. The company is also highly successful when it comes to making employees more resilient, and helping them to lower their stress levels. A total of six areas were examined in the assessment: workplace health management and company policy, human resources and work organization, planning of workplace health management, social responsibility, implementation of workplace health management, and overall evaluation of workplace health management.

18,000 Workspaces Are Certified

But there's still some way to go. "We haven't managed to create coherent, comprehensive reporting across all our activities yet," Raske concedes. One of the objectives now, he adds, is to give Senior Management an overall picture of the current situation so that the activities can be incorporated into the company's ongoing strategic planning. On balance, Raske is more than satisfied with the certification: "We can be proud. To date, Health Promotion Switzerland has only recognized around 60 companies." What's more, Credit Suisse is the company with the largest number of certified workspaces, namely 18,000. And in the financial sector, Zürcher Kantonalbank is the only one of Credit Suisse's peers to be certified. Credit Suisse now has three years until recertification, giving it time to close the gaps that have been identified and improve its health management offering even further.

All Individuals Are Responsible for Themselves

But what does the label mean for individuals? What can they do about their health in the workplace? For example, Raske explains that employee initiatives such as a corporate run, or a search for fellow runners, can be publicized via the internal Corporate Health Round Table page. One thing is clear: The ideas that have the best chance of being widely implemented are those that do not incur substantial costs and can be implemented with reasonable staffing levels. If individuals have health issues, they should first contact their line manager. Raske makes the following promise: "This year, we will be launching a major management campaign in Switzerland to raise managers' awareness about healthcare issues and the Friendly Workspace label." But Raske concedes that managers are not doctors. When difficult health-related situations are involved, HR's Health Management or Case Management looks for solutions. For Raske, one thing is certain: "We offer a wide range of activities, expert support, and platforms. But the important thing is how we interact with one another, how much respect we show our colleagues, and the extent to which we are really interested in each other. Every employee can contribute to making every single workspace a Friendly Workspace."

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