Listening is Winning: How Helvetia successfully implements its Employee Listening Strategy with Honestly
For several years now, the work environment in various industries and for companies of all sizes on an international scale has been undergoing significant changes. The business landscape is adapting to the "New Normal," with remote work emerging as a prominent working model within it. Additionally, employee engagement has become more relevant than ever as a productivity driver for companies. The focus is now on not only securing but also sustainably expanding business continuity while retaining top talent. Helvetia has been working towards this goal by utilizing Honestly's software since 2018.
As a leading international insurance company, Helvetia places employee engagement at the core of its operations. Listening to and understanding what employees think has become a key success factor, and this can be facilitated by intelligent systems. To achieve this, the company has closely collaborated with Honestly to implement a continuous “Employee Listening Strategy.” Thanks to this strategy, Helvetia is capable of promoting and elevating the company’s internal performance culture to new heights.
- Through their continuous Employee Listening Strategy, Helvetia remains up-to-date and aligned with employee insights in real-time. Honestly supports this effort with a solution that allows flexible data collection and provides clients with ample customization options.
- As an international company with locations in various countries, Helvetia places a strong emphasis on decentralized HR processes and effectively utilizes Honestly to achieve this.
The Helvetia Group, headquartered in Switzerland, has grown over 160 years from various Swiss and foreign insurance companies into a successful, internationally operating insurance group. Helvetia is active in life, non-life, and reinsurance businesses, serving more than 7 million customers with approximately 11,500 employees.
Helvetia Case Study
- Employees in the System: 7,927
- Managers in the System: Over 1,000
- Survey Cycle: Anually and ad hoc
- Languages: German, English, Italian, Frensh, Spanish
- Surveys: Employee Engagement
- Engagement before Honestly: Digital solution but without a "Hands-On" approach
Special Features in Implementation:
- Cross-functional involvement of employees on an international level
- High interaction possibilities and extensive analysis options for managers
The tool allows us to continuously listen to key topics like employee engagement and the strengthening of our performance culture.
Honestly as a Business Partner
Before switching to Honestly, there were several reasons why Helvetia aimed to change their provider for employee surveys. In addition to the attractive price-performance ratio and the high level of interactivity the tool offers, a crucial factor was the increasing decentralization and internationalization of HR activities. The decision to switch was initially driven by potential cost savings. Honestly not only could offer a more cost-effective solution but also convinced with other arguments.
“One of the most attractive features of Honestly is the tool’s interactivity,” Daniel explains at the beginning of the interview. “Managers can now actively participate in survey creation and make adjustments.” This was a significant improvement compared to the previous tool, which had limited functionality and provided little room for customization. In contrast, many employee survey service providers are often rigid in terms of customer interaction. Typically, it’s only the service provider that controls the survey process, from design to execution, and then presents the results to the customer. Honestly, on the other hand, immediately involves customers in the survey process, whether in survey creation or execution. As an internationally operating company with a presence in several European countries, Helvetia places great importance on conducting HR activities in a decentralized manner. This is relevant because a decentralized HR model allows international companies like Helvetia to better understand and fulfill the needs of their diverse workforce. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity, increased engagement, and stronger employee retention.
“The multifunctionality and decentralized self-service are exactly what Helvetia was looking for and found in Honestly.”
Advantages of a decentralized HR Model
A decentralized HR model makes companies more agile, as local teams can make decisions more quickly without waiting for approval from a central HR team. Additionally, a decentralized model simplifies compliance with local laws and labor regulations since local HR teams are well-versed in the legal requirements specific to their locations. A decentralized HR system also enables tailored employee development, as local HR teams can provide individual support for professional growth and development. “Above all, decentralization allows for context-specific analysis of survey results, as local managers and HR teams can better understand the nuances and sensitivities of employees,” Daniel explains during the interview. Helvetia effectively utilizes this multifunctionality because the insurance company uses Honestly not only for annual company-wide surveys but also on a national level. Each country can conduct ad hoc surveys when needed.
Continuous listening for targeted action - Helvetia’s employee listening strategy in practice
Addressing employee engagement in daily operations is inseparable from an Employee Listening Strategy. This approach primarily involves collecting feedback from employees to understand their needs, opinions, and experiences that shape the workplace atmosphere. The primary goal is to establish a transparent communication channel between the company and employees and identify and address issues promptly. The benefits of an open and effective communication culture are clear: companies that prioritize these aspects benefit from increased employee engagement, productivity, and stronger employee retention.
For Helvetia, employee surveys with Honestly are a crucial tool for gathering feedback because it allows for widespread opinion gathering and serves as a valuable foundation for creating subsequent action points. Each country independently evaluates the results and derives measures (and sometimes follow-up surveys) accordingly. The measures identified by the countries are shared and consolidated at the corporate level, defining common priorities when necessary. Accessibility of surveys is also a significant factor for companies of this size. It is essential to provide all employees with the opportunity to participate, and Honestly delivers on this.
“Capturing data in real-time enables us to respond quickly.”
A strategy for employee surveys is essential because it helps companies understand their employees’ perspectives, leading to better decision-making, improved employee engagement, and a more positive work culture. “For example, we place a strong emphasis on a specific performance culture at Helvetia,” Daniel reports during the interview. “This performance culture is based on our values of trust, dynamism, and enthusiasm, and our employee surveys are oriented towards these themes.” Regular employee feedback also provides Helvetia with insights into the current state of the company’s culture. “We want to know how well we are living this performance culture and which behaviors we still need to improve.”
The regularity mentioned by Daniel in our interview is one of the central aspects of the Employee Listening Strategy. Implementing the strategy is not a one-time event; it is an ongoing process that requires continuous efforts and engagement from the company. Regularly collecting feedback from employees and acting on their input is essential for building trust and creating a culture of open communication.
In conclusion, Honestly provides several advantages to Helvetia on multiple levels. The interactivity of the tool allows managers to design surveys themselves, and real-time data capture enables immediate action when necessary. Continuous opinion surveys create a consistent communication channel between employees and management at Helvetia, ultimately increasing employee engagement in a sustainable manner.