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Case study: How Swisscom promotes workplace diversity

Headquartered in Ittigen, close to the capital city Berne, Swisscom is the leading provider of communication, IT and entertainment in Switzerland, offering residential customers an extensive range of digital TV, mobile telecommunications and other services. Swisscom strongly values the diversity of its employees, as it is the different perspectives, experiences, ideas and skills of every individual that make Swisscom a successful, innovative and creative company.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Swisscom published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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To encourage workplace diversity, Swisscom pays attention to the factors of gender, inclusion, generations and language region in everything it does  Tweet This! and has defined KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the various dimensions of diversity which it monitors and, if necessary, implements measures to achieve. In order to promote workplace diversity Swisscom took action to:
  • promote gender equality
  • employ people of all ages
  • employ people of different nationalities
  • promote inclusion
  • combat discrimination

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Swisscom identified a range of material issues, such as data protection, accessibility, energy efficiency, media protection for minors and promoting media skills, climate protection. Among these, promoting workplace diversity stands out as a key material issue for Swisscom.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Swisscom engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Customers
Partners/NGOs
Shareholders and ratings Agencies
Authorities and legislators
Suppliers
Media
Public
Social Partners
Employees and employee representation

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Swisscom engaged with its stakeholders through stakeholder surveys.


What actions were taken by
Swisscom to promote workplace diversity?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Swisscom reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace diversity:

  • Promoting gender equality
  • As a technology company, Swisscom operates in an industry that is still heavily male-dominated. The majority of those trained in the technical professions that Swisscom needs are men. Swisscom therefore supports initiatives that start with the choice of career, which include the “Digital Days for Girls”, at which female apprentices from ICT (information and communications technology) training courses explain to female students what their apprenticeship involves. This initiative has proven popular and is showing initial success: the proportion of young female professionals in ICT occupations has risen from 22.7% to 27.8% year-on-year. In diversity management, Swisscom follows the principle of designing relevant processes in recruitment, development, talent management and management culture to ensure that they counteract unconscious stereotyping and facilitate equal opportunities. In order to increase the popularity of offers such as part-time working for men, Swisscom encourages employees, particularly its male employees, to try out working part-time. Flexible working models and measures to reconcile work and family life also make an important contribution to the integration of all employees in different life situations. Swisscom therefore advertises the majority of jobs with flexible 80% to 100% working hours. Additionally, Swisscom enables women to further their education both internally and as part of the nationwide Advance Women initiative, and to expand their network so that they can move into more responsible positions. The Swisscom Group Executive Board has set itself the goal of steadily increasing the proportion of women in management. In order to achieve this goal, Swisscom has decided to increase the proportion of women in the top CEA levels. The proportion of women in management and in the top CEA levels is to increase by one percentage point each year. Swisscom is convinced that talent management and promotions will enable it to increase the integration of women in the company and a specific Succession Planning Committee is to give even greater emphasis to the concern for equality.
  • Employing people of all ages
  • Swisscom employs people of all ages. Collaboration and exchange between generations gives employees the opportunity to learn a great deal from one another. Employees who have reached the age of 58 can, if they wish, gradually step back from working life by taking partial retirement, while at the same time passing on their knowledge to the next generations. Since 2017, Swisscom has supported the “Check Your Chance” initiative of the Swiss Employers’ Association, which seeks to support young people in difficult situations as they embark upon a career. Swisscom is also a business partner to the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts for the integrative generation management project and a partner of the World Demographic & Ageing Forum (WDA Forum). The WDA Forum is an international, intergenerational platform which supports exchange on matters to do with the general public, older people and generations.
  • Employing people of different nationalities
  • People from 87 different nations work for Swisscom, at various locations in all regions of Switzerland. When recruiting new employees, wherever possible, Swisscom considers applicants from the respective region, as they are familiar with local customs. To attract talented people with the necessary profiles, Swisscom also maintains partnerships with universities in the separate linguistic regions of Switzerland.
  • Promoting inclusion
  • Swisscom actively supports the Compasso association as a member and sponsor. Compasso focuses on providing employers with information on how to deal with people with health problems. Swisscom builds on the individual strengths and abilities of each employee and where employees’ work performances are impaired due to health reasons, Swisscom attaches great importance to keeping them in the workforce and guaranteeing them meaningful continued employment. To promote inclusion, Swisscom reserves at least 1% of jobs for employees with physical or psychological impairments. In so doing, Swisscom fosters the integration of the persons in question into the workforce.
  • Combating discrimination
  • Swisscom does not tolerate any kind of discrimination or abuse of power. This principle is communicated to employees and, above all, to managers. In cases of discrimination, the neutral Care Gate contact point is available to all employees.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees

2) Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken

 

Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees corresponds to:

 Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.


 

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Swisscom, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Swisscom: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.