The occupational reintegration success story of a person suffering from heart disease started with a phone call: The account manager of the Swiss Social Security Institution (SVA) spoke to Regina Vogt, Head of Human Capital Management at the software company Netcetera, to clarify the options for the employee.
Reintegration is the main focus of the Swiss Disability Insurance (IV) revision 6a. By 2018, a total of approximately 17,000 IV recipients across Switzerland should be back at work (see AWP Soziale Sicherheit 9/2014). That is why the IV Competency Center of the Canton of Zürich SVA is actively reaching out to companies.
«We first determined the possible operational area and clarified the situtation internally», reflects Regina Vogt. Netcetera, the company that, among other things, is the unrivalled market leader in Swiss mobile banking, has found possibilities in its own system administration department. «From this point in time, we proceeded according to our normal application process», states Vogt. In short: Check CV and have talks.
Netcetera has 350 employees in four countries. «The most important thing is to feel the applicant's motivation. We would like to know whether someone has the motivation to develop themselves further and to learn, and whether that person is willing to be reintegrated», says Regina Vogt.
First part-time, then full-time
The 34-year-old employee presented by the SVA obviously convinced Netcetera. He was able to start for a six-month work trial period. That is one of the various reintegration services that the IV offices can offer. The IV takes over the wages as well as expenses for possible accommodation at the workplace during the reintegration trial period.
The employee has started on a part-time basis. The goal was for him to become fully fit for work within six months, in order to be able to enter the mainstream labor market.
After six months, Netcetera extended the work relationship for some more months. «The long-term difficulty we foresaw from the employee's perspective was, that he did not have a professional qualification despite good, practical performance.» That is why Netcetera offered the employee to stay on and complete an apprenticeship for adults. He is now on his way to become an IT professional with an emphasis in systems engineering.
Fair treatment policy
However, the adult apprentice does not enjoy any special status at the company. «He's treated just like all other employees. We only informed the team that he works with about his special situation. He is a service desk employee to everyone else,» says Regina Vogt. This aspect of fair treatment is of foremost importance. Without it, it would not be possible to reintegrate someone. «All employees should have the chance to establish themselves. It should be left up to everyone to decide about the degree of self revelation», adds Vogt.
Good for the company's image
Despite discretion: Internally, word has spread that Netcetera also takes on people with disabilities. In addition, Netcetera ranks among the examples that the SVA can refer to publicly to spread the word about reintegration options.
«One of our most important strategic goals is to position ourselves as an attractive employer», says Regina Vogt. The reintegration of the IV employee contributes to this goal. It is proof that Netcetera follows words with deeds. Internally, people speak about a signaling effect. Anyone can get sick or have an accident. It's good to know that the employer wants to look out for you.
What is happening after the successful reintegration of the employee in the IT department? Netcetera is also open to offer possibilities to other people. «The important thing is that the employee is a good fit with the company. Everything else can be taken care of», says Head of Human Capital Management Regina Vogt. She advises her HR peers in other companies to ask the Social Security Institution for information, without any obligation. «Do not hesitate to ask the IV offices for advice during and after reintegration too.»
According to the main clause in the disability insurance «Reintegration before disability pension», the insured, as a rule, participates in reintegration measures that are meant to reestablish, improve, or maintain his or her work skills.
In particular, the integration measures are aimed at insured persons with mental health problems that impact their ability to work. The requirement is that the insured person has not been able to work at more than 50% of their capacity over the course of a minimum of six months, after which the requirements for the implementation of job-related measures can be established.