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«Stop talking, start doing.»

Florian Nägele and his colleagues are the driving force behind digitalization at Helvetia. In this interview he tells us about his daily motivation, how he puts into practice the flexibility that Helvetia offers, and what he thinks of &Go.

17 December 2018, author: Employer Branding, photo: Helvetia

A man sitting cross-legged on a table in a white room.
Florian Nägele adopts the following approach for his projects: take responsibility, try it out and be ready to learn from the outcome.

Who are you and what do you do at Helvetia? How did you get where you are today?

I'm Florian Nägele. I'm 34, and I live in Freiburg im Breisgau. I'm the Chatbot project leader. What we are trying to do is to use digital technology and artificial intelligence to give Helvetia customers the best possible service any time, anywhere. I joined Helvetia nine years ago after graduating in business IT, initially as financial controller in the areas of capital investments and life insurance. Later I moved in the direction of sales, working in sales management – and then increasingly towards marketing, which was about offering customers the very best products. I then switched to corporate development, where part of my job was to do intensive work on customer needs as part of a Design Thinking project – and that led me to my current role.

Can you tell us what your job is and explain what you do in just a few words?

My colleagues and I are the driving force behind the digitalization of Helvetia. We use modern digital technology to give our customers a service that's even simpler and better than it was before. In pursuit of this I work with people from the most diverse areas of Helvetia. What motivates us every day is the goal of bringing our customers immediate, high-quality services any time, anywhere. What this means for us is that it must be just as easy for customers to contact Helvetia as they are accustomed to doing so in other areas every day: by text chat and voice chat, on their smartphones and other digital end devices. 

What does &Go mean for you in your day-to-day work at Helvetia?

To me it means, very specifically, "stop talking, start doing". We often tend to conduct extensive discussions of things before doing anything, in order to reach a consensus. That's how we are brought up. But we increasingly find that this means we never get anything done fast enough. That's why in our project we have adopted the principle "stop talking, start doing". Take responsibility, try it out – and be ready to learn from the outcome no matter how it turns out. 

Why is &Go important and right for Helvetia?

Because the rate of change in the insurance industry is massively accelerating. We can see it today. Like Helvetia, many of our established competitors are gradually bringing more and more new, interesting services to the market. But we must come to terms with the fact that we shall also face competition from entirely different sectors: on the one hand from technology groups, and on the other from start-ups, which make customers highly innovative offers in the most diverse areas. Helvetia must position itself properly in this dynamic environment. We must adopt this rapid pace ourselves, and acquire the skills that these start-ups and technology groups bring to the party – otherwise we shall be leaving the field to them.

If people want to work with you, what must they contribute? What sort of people does Helvetia need?

I believe we need people who are prepared to question their own motives, to look for innovative solutions, constantly to try out new things – and with the ability to implement them, both individually and as a team. They need to be open and communicative, of course, to be good team players: these are very important factors. We can't expect the job never to change, because we work in a dynamic environment that is constantly changing. In six months' time you may be doing a job that's entirely different from the one you were taken on to do. You have to be open to that possibility and prepared for it. In my team we work really fast and dynamically, and we have got used to not making any big plans any more – instead setting ourselves clear objectives and single-mindedly pursuing them, performing rapid iterations and picking up the pace. And this pace, this openness to speed and change is something that everyone who wants to work here must bring with them.

How do you put the "WorkReallySmart" topic into practice at Helvetia?

The flexibility that Helvetia offers me is one of the most important factors underlying my daily commitment to this company. I work in Basel, commuting every day from Freiburg, where I live with my family. I work on the train, then in my office in Basel. When I go to St Gallen I work on the train all the way. I work wherever I am, sometimes in my office at home. In fact I always work when there's work to be done and it's possible to do it, as long as it doesn't conflict with family life. Helvetia enables me to work anywhere, any time. At the moment I work four and a half days a week so that I can strike a good work/life balance. And even though I spend an hour commuting, Helvetia gives me the facility to make sure it's not limiting.


&Go is Helvetia's current campaign to position itself as a first-class employer. Find more information on Helvetia as an employer.

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