2.2 Responsible business conduct towards employees

Relevance of the topic to SZKB and goals

As an employer, SZKB has the ability to shape the professional development of its employees in their work roles. This can have both negative and positive effects. Potential adverse impacts may include health issues, resignation, job loss, disadvantages due to gender, reduced employability and exploitation.

In the realm of personnel, SZKB focuses on key topics such as «Diversity and integration,» «Commercial traffic/commuter traffic» and «Remuneration of the highest governance bodies». A corporate culture that is inclusive and focused on diversity, where employees feel valued and accepted regardless of their origin, gender, religious affiliation or sexual orientation, can result in greater employee satisfaction and loyalty. Such a culture also aids in enhancing employer branding and making SZKB an employer that is more appealing to potential talent. In summary, it can be said that «diversity and integration» are of great importance to SZKB for fostering innovation, employee satisfaction and long-term success. «Commercial traffic/commuter traffic» is a key topic for SZKB, as it was the leading source of operational CO2 emissions at the company in 2022. The remuneration of the highest governance bodies can have both positive and negative effects: Remuneration can attract talent while also creating false incentives, such as a greater willingness to take risks and a focus on short-term profit maximisation, which may result in reputational damage.

SZKB has established the following goals for ethical business conduct in regard to its employees:

  • SZKB fulfils its role as a training company by providing a number of apprenticeship and internship positions equivalent to a minimum of 5% of the workforce.
  • SZKB acts as a socially responsible employer by providing job opportunities for individuals with disabilities, such as through reintegration programs or through the continued employment of employees with limited capacity, with at least 1% of its employees taking advantage of such opportunities.
  • The number of sickness-related absence days per employee (FTE) is less than 5.0 days per year (with long-term absences not taken into account).
  • The (unexplained) pay gap between the genders is no more than 2.5%.
  • By 2030, there will be a minimum of 25% representation of both genders among employees at all levels, including the Executive Board.
  • By 2030, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation (Scope 3) in accordance with the CH climate strategy (reduction of 21% compared to reference year 2021).

Management approach

The strategic responsibility for human resources policy lies with the Personnel Committee (PEA), the Bank Council and the Executive Board. The Human Resources department is responsible for the development and operational implementation of the HR strategy. It organises and is responsible for the HR strategy in the areas of digital transformation, strategic HR projects, optimisation of processes and directives, and HR communication. The department reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Bank Council and the Personnel Committee are responsible in particular for appointing and removing members of the Executive Board and the Board of Inspectors, determining the organisation, approving the remuneration and personnel regulations and determining the remuneration model for the Bank Council, subject to approval by the Cantonal Council’s Supervisory Commission, as well as for determining the total fixed and variable salary amount. The Human Resources department is operationally responsible for developing and monitoring diversity, equality and integration within SZKB.

Key measures:

  • Terms and conditions of employment
  • Remuneration model
  • Equal pay
  • People Days
  • Equal opportunities
  • Discrimination
  • Freedom of association
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Training and education
  • Commercial traffic/commuter traffic

Detailed employee figures can be found in «Appendix 2 Key figures about employees».

Terms and conditions of employment

Switzerland has well-developed social security systems and fair labour law conditions that also apply to all employees of SZKB: With regard to the key topic of «diversity and integration», SZKB offers the following additional conditions, among others:

  • The entire annual salary, including the variable component and excluding the coordination deduction, is insured with the Pension Fund of the Canton of Schwyz.
  • If an employee goes on maternity leave, SZKB pays 100% of the employee’s salary (fixed salary and variable remuneration) for a period of four months. For the duration of maternity leave, there is no reduction in holiday entitlement.
  • In addition to ordinary birth, child and education allowances stipulated by the cantonal legislation of the Canton of Schwyz, SZKB pays a voluntary family allowance to all employees until their child reaches the age of 20.
  • SZKB supports the compatibility of parenthood and gainful employment by providing a financial contribution to childcare for those working a minimum of a 50% workload (for mothers or single fathers) when external childcare services are used. SZKB also offers free advice and placement services for arranging childcare.

All the above-mentioned employment terms and conditions are also available to SZKB employees on a part-time basis.

Remuneration model

The SZKB remuneration model meets the transparency requirements imposed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and makes it possible to understand how remuneration is determined. The primary features of the remuneration model are as follows:

  • The remuneration model is based on levels 1 to 8 for employees and levels 9 and 10 for members of the Executive Board.
  • Employees who have a level 1 or 2 occupational profile receive a fixed basic remuneration without entitlement to variable remuneration.
  • Employees in levels 3 to 8 may receive variable remuneration in addition to their fixed basic remuneration. There is no legal entitlement to variable remuneration, even if variable remuneration was paid in previous years.
  • The amount of the individual variable remuneration is determined by the level and performance – which in turn is dictated by the results achieved and the conduct exhibited by the employee – and depends on the total amount available. The Bank Council authorises the total amount available for the variable remuneration of all employees based on SZKB’s adjusted business performance.

Equal pay

In 2023, SZKB commissioned an external consultancy (Kienbaum Schweiz AG) to analyse the gender pay gap for the second time since 2021. For the first time, equal pay was analysed separately based on both basic remuneration and total remuneration (fixed salary and variable remuneration). In 2023, the adjusted pay gap was calculated to be 2.5%, factoring in the value of the job function, age, length of service, education and job family of the employees. The adjusted pay gap determined thus remains (the 2021 analysis showed 2.2%) well below the tolerance threshold of 5.0% under the Gender Equality Act. This means there is no gender-based pay discrimination in SZKB’s remuneration.

People Days

The «People Day» leadership programme has been in place since 2022. At the end of the year, the managers of each business unit jointly discuss and calibrate the performance and potential assessments of the employees. This process creates a uniform understanding of the assessments based on objectivity, fairness and broadly supported feedback. The performance and potential assessments resulting from the People Days form the basis for the remuneration development of all employees. For employees on levels 3 to 8, the performance evaluation also represents a component for the assessment of the individual variable remuneration.



The Human Resources department carries out evaluations to identify distortions in the assessment («bias», such as in regard to employee gender, age or level). Any bias is discussed with the line.

Equal opportunities

With regard to the key topic of «diversity and integration», SZKB attaches great importance to balancing work and family life and fosters this through flexible working hours, the opportunity to work from home and attractive childcare allowances. Support is provided per day of third-party care, whether care is provided in a daycare centre or by a carer. Starting from a 50% workload, every female employee (or single parent) is entitled to benefit from the «childcare contributions» offer. Part-time positions are possible for both women and men.

SZKB undertakes not to discredit its employees on the basis of social or ethnic origin, disability, religion, age, nationality, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, political affiliation, trade union membership and so on. This commitment applies to all aspects of employment, including hiring, promotion, training, compensation and preservation of their personal dignity.

The internal SZKB women’s network is another initiative related to the key topic of «diversity and integration». Every year, this network offers numerous events, networking meet-ups and continuing education courses on the topic of «women and professional and personal development» that are open to all female employees of SZKB.


Sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination of any kind are not tolerated at SZKB. There are corresponding rules in the «Personnel Regulations, Appendix II – Privacy protection and sexual harassment».

The appropriate channels for lodging complaints are managers, the Human Resources department or the members of the Executive Board.

Irrespective of this, employees can contact the board of the Bank’s internal staff association for support and advice.

Occupational safety and health

SZKB attaches great importance to a corporate culture that fosters health and strives to keep the risk of occupational illnesses as low as possible. SZKB is greatly concerned with the physical and mental well-being of its employees. In addition to the legal requirements for occupational safety and health, SZKB’s occupational health management is based on the three pillars of prevention, intervention and integration.


A prevention campaign to address stress, headaches and sleep disorders was implemented for the benefit of all employees over the course of several months in 2023. Many opportunities were provided to enhance understanding through workshops and webinars. In the area of intervention and integration, employees and managers receive professional support and advice in the event of prolonged health-related absence from work to ensure that professional and social reintegration is successful or, if applicable, that a smooth transition to disability insurance (DI) can be made. External and independent care management also provides support to employees in the event of long-term illness and situations in which they are not able to fully perform their work.

In 2023, a six-day training programme on «Self-Efficacy & Implementation Strength» was conducted for selected managers, members of the Executive Board and HR employees within the scope of an initiative to aid in the proactive recognition of symptoms of stress.

Employee satisfaction

After the 2021 survey, SZKB conducted a follow-up employee satisfaction survey with the assistance of an external partner in 2023.

At the overall Bank level, SZKB managed to sustain positive results across all target variables from the last survey conducted in 2021, except for general employee satisfaction. The satisfaction rate stands at 77%, marking a slight decrease of 1 percentage point compared to the 2021 survey but an overall increase of 2 percentage points since the initial survey in 2017.

Parenthood (GRI 401-3) 2023 2022 Change 20211 20201
Parental leave after the birth of a child2
Employees who took maternity leave



Employees who took paternity leave 7 13 –46.2%   
Returning to work after parental leave3
Number of employees who returned to work 



   thereof number of women 13 14 –7.1%   
   thereof number of men 7 12 –41.7%   
Return rate after the end of parental leave4 95.2% 92.9% 2.6%   
   for women 92.9% 93.3% –0.5%   
   for men 100.0% 92.3% 8.30%   

Illness and accidents (GRI 403-9 and 403-10) 2023 2022 Change 20211 20201
Days of absence per employee 4.83 4.74 1.90%   
   thereof sick days 4.19 4.45 –5.8%   
   thereof accident days 0.64 0.29 120.7%   


1 No key figures are shown for 2021 and 2020, as SZKB implemented a new HR system in 2022.
2 Parental leave refers to statutory maternity leave (for women) and statutory paternity leave (for men).
3 Returning to work refers to all employees who have taken parental leave during the reporting year.
4 The figure shows the ratio of employees who took parental leave to those who continued working after the end of parental leave.


The influencing factors with the strongest positive change in the 2023 survey were the Executive Board as a governing body (+7 points), innovation (+4 points), collaboration (+3 points) and managers (+2 points). It should be emphasised in particular that employees feel well informed about important changes and developments within SZKB and appreciate personal interaction with the Executive Board at eye level. It is also gratifying that the new remuneration model, which came into force on 1 April 2022, has been well received and that employees believe that their efforts and dedication are appropriately recognised and compensated.

The survey conducted in 2023 indicates a small decline of 2 percentage points in the «Work and leisure" category compared to the 2021 survey. This suggests that there may have been an increase in perceived workload since the last survey. Corresponding measures were defined in 2023 and will be implemented in 2024.

Training and education

Good training and education enhances an employee's ability to remain attractive in the labour market and fosters their lifelong learning. This is an important contribution to the key topic of «diversity and integration». SZKB supports its employees throughout their entire professional journey:

  • SZKB is currently providing training to 30 apprentices.
  • SZKB offers its own talent programme for high potentials, which offers 12 employees the opportunity to expand their leadership abilities and skills relating to methodology, dealing with people and collaborating across departments, while also expanding their network over a period of 18 months. Four women and eight men participated in the 2021–2023 talent programme.
  • SZKB has been operating its own leadership programme since 2021. The leadership programme was continued in 2023 in the context of half-day sessions known as «Leadership Circles».
  • SZKB provides all of its employees with its own learning platform and access to an external learning library.
  • Apart from providing internal courses and training, SZKB also covers the costs of external training and further education alongside work.
  • SZKB’s financial commitment to internal training activities and participation in external training amounted to CHF 885,000 in 2023 (2022: CHF 824,000). SZKB’s financial commitment to basic education amounted to CHF 296,000 in 2023 (2022: CHF 311,000).
  • Within 24 months of starting their role, all SZKB client advisors must complete the personal certification corresponding to their job profile in accordance with the requirements of the Swiss Association for Quality (SAQ).
Training and education (GRI 404-1) 2023 2022 Change 20211 20201
Total employees in training 35 34 2.9%   
   thereof apprentices 30 29 3.4%   
   thereof interns 5 5 0.0%   
Employees engaging in external training and
education alongside work (GRI 402-2)
78 49 59.2%   
Number of degrees at the tertiary level 33 31 6.5%   
Number of SAQ certifications 0 7 –100.0%   
Number of Banking Course completions 12 9 33.3%   
Training costs (own standard)
Total external training costs in CHF million



Total external training costs as a percentage of human resource expenses 1.10% 1.20% –3.3%   
Total external training costs, CHF per employee 1,611.30 1,590.74 1.3%   

In 2022, mobility was by far the largest factor driving CO2 emissions at SZKB, with a distinction made between commuting traffic and commercial traffic. (See Chapter 2.4.1 Relevance, goals, concepts and measures.).

Commercial traffic accounted for 43.6 tCO2 in the 2022 reporting year (2021 39.4 tCO2). Some 66.0% of commercial trips were made by (private) diesel or petrol vehicle, and 26.7% were by train. Travel with electric vehicles then accounted for 7.4% of the distance. To reduce the emissions caused by diesel and petrol vehicles, SZKB has provided its employees with several electric vehicles for commercial trips since January 2023. Journeys taken with the two company material transport vehicles and deliveries of securities (cash and precious metals) to the branch locations carried out by external logistics partners resulted in emissions of 15.2 tCO2, corresponding to 1.5% of total emissions.

Commuting journeys are understood to be the trips that employees take to get to work. The data was provided by an internal survey conducted in April 2023. 60% of employees responded to the survey. The resulting figures were extrapolated to the entire company. It therefore stands to reason that the values are subject to a certain degree of uncertainty.

Commuting caused 612.0 tCO2, or 1,165 kgCO2 per employee (FTE), and represents the largest share of total emissions at 61.4%. Commuting trips resulted in 14.9% more CO2 emissions compared to 2021. The increase can be attributed, in part, to the easing of coronavirus restrictions in spring 2022, leading to employees returning to their workplaces and resuming their commutes.

Since car journeys with petrol and diesel vehicles account for 89.8% of commuter emissions, SZKB 2022 installed e-charging stations at its headquarters and at the Pfäffikon branch in order to create incentives for employees for the use of electromobility. As an additional measure to encourage environmentally friendly travel, the prices for using the employee parking spaces were also increased at all Bank locations in 2022.

The remuneration model for SZKB’s Executive Board is structured similarly to that of employees (see Chapter 2.2.2 «Diversity and integration», Section Remuneration model): It consists of a fixed basic salary and a variable component.

  • Half of the variable remuneration relates to individual performance (results and conduct) of the respective member of the Executive Board as well as to the achievement of strategic performance criteria of the entire Bank in the past financial year. Two-thirds of the strategy bonus is distributed as deferred compensation. The Bank Council defines the key performance indicators (KPI).
  • There is no salary component in the form of shares or options since SZKB, as an independent institution under Cantonal public law, is wholly owned by the Canton of Schwyz.
  • The compensation model for the Bank Council is approved by the Cantonal Supervisory Commission and does not include a profit-sharing component.

Assessment of effectiveness

At SZKB, HR topics and processes are well anchored in the Bank Council, the Executive Board, the HR department and line management. With the rollout of the new remuneration model and the amendment of the personnel regulations in 2022, key foundations were laid to ensure that SZKB maintains its status as an attractive employer.

There is a need for action with regard to diversity, as SZKB would like to further increase the proportion of women in senior positions in particular.

The goal «SZKB acts as a socially responsible employer by providing job opportunities for individuals with disabilities, such as through reintegration programs or through the continued employment of employees with limited capacity, with at least 1% of its employees taking advantage of such opportunities.» cannot yet be assessed, as the relevant information will not be available until 2024.

The goals relating to the pay gap, training company figures and sickness-related absence days were achieved (although no adjustment due to long-term absences could be made in the relevant figures).

In 2022, commercial and commuter traffic contributed to a 14.6% increase in CO2 emissions and a total of 655.6 tonnes compared to 2021. This rise is largely attributed to the return to normal commuter behaviour following the pandemic.

Overall, SZKB considers the measures taken to have been effective.

Further development and next steps

Competition for committed employees remains fierce, and the needs of existing and potential employees are subject to constant change. As the digital transformation continues, employees expect their employer to help provide them with the capacity to keep pace with change. They also appreciate being given sufficient latitude for exercising personal responsibility, flexibility in terms of time and place of work, work/life balance and attractive fringe benefits.

Starting in 2024, SZKB will focus on advancing the key topics of «Diversity and integration», «Commercial traffic/commuter traffic» and «Remuneration of the highest governance bodies». The Bank will also analyse the need for additional measures and developments in these areas.