RIO – In December of last year, Francielle Santos began another day of work in the sales sector of the architecture start-up ArqExpress, in Porto Alegre, when her boss, architect Renata Pocztaruk, made a surprise. I told Francielle that she could choose a room in her house to be renovated. All on behalf of the company. She would be the first to enjoy a new benefit extended to all other colleagues. And chose to redesign the kitchen.
— Imagine happiness. They changed the floor, the bench, the curtain, the table. Even the chairs, look how beautiful — displays Francielle, proudly, in a video interview.
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Although salary and the classic health plan, food stamps and transportation are still decisive when a professional accepts a job offer, companies are taking much more creative benefits from their hat to attract and, above all, retain talent.
From therapy and massage to helping to find a home or having a child, going through free schedules and travel, the trend is to offer facilities that help balance personal and professional life and strengthen the bonds of loyalty between the worker and the company.
The strategy may cost companies less amid the current paradox in the labor market. While there is a record mass of unemployed, more experienced and qualified professionals are increasingly sought after.
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It is a global challenge, one that was growing before the pandemic. In a 2019 survey by the international consultancy ManpowerGroup, 54% of the companies surveyed around the world reported a shortage of talent, the highest percentage in ten years.
With the expansion of telecommuting in the pandemic, the competition for this small elite of professionals has grown even fiercer. If it is not always possible to cover the salary offers that employees receive from rivals, investing in the relationship with an out-of-the-box benefits package is the bet of organizations of different sizes.
Identification with the company
In the pandemic, the companies that helped improve employees’ homes received points. Renata, from ArqExpress, says that she combined business with pleasure with the decision to renovate part of the house of one of her 50 employees every month.
products used in the reforms are provided by partners in exchange for publicizing the “transformations” on social networks. The employees like it, the team practices and the company’s express decoration service’s marketing is reinforced with authentic stories.
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— As our employees are more at home, precisely the object of our work, this idea came. We’ve already done lighting, painting, changing floors and other interventions — says Renata, who identifies not only a greater bond between company and employee. — They get to know the business more. They sell something that worked in their house.
Salma Bakhit, MSD’s medical director for Latin America, says she would think “millions of times more” today if she were offered a job change. His involvement with the company greatly increased after he received financial help from it to fulfill an old dream: adopting a daughter.
She had four months of leave for the procedures and R$ 15,000 for initial expenses, such as furnishing the room that the teenager she adopted in Paraná will receive in São Paulo.
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According to Andres Massoni, director of Human Resources at MSD, the program to help employees in adoption processes — which has already been joined by three others — was just one of the new benefits aimed at personal well-being in the company during the pandemic . And he conquered Salma.
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— After a certain age, you don’t just change for your salary. It’s an equation. The company’s care with employees in the pandemic and the support for me to adopt my daughter weigh heavily, I will never forget – says the 52-year-old executive.
In the Information Technology (IT) sector, where professionals are among the most sought after, the Rio de Janeiro start-up Rupee, of financial management systems, included in the package of attractions a consortium of properties with a letter of credit in the amount of R$ 100,000 for employees and BRL 80,000 for interns.
It’s a strategy to try to keep professionals, in their 25s, there for longer after investing in training, says executive director Guilherme Baumworcel. The installments are paid by the company, which is cheaper than covering salary proposals. The 30 employees of the company joined.
Marcello Leal, tax expert at N. Tomaz Braga & Schuch Advogados, says the strategy makes sense. If the value of such a benefit were added to the salary, it would be subject to labor charges. And the impact on the employee’s pocket would be smaller:
— Some benefits, such as car and house paid to directors, for example, are considered as an addition to the salary. Others do not, but they do not fail to generate value, retention and well-being, such as a massage or therapy voucher. The payroll has a very high cost because of taxes. It’s a way for both sides to win.
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The new benefits follow the trend inaugurated by the technology giants in Silicon Valley, USA, which invest in flexibility and a relaxed work environment to retain those who can make the difference in the results.
At Google’s Brazilian branch, whose California headquarters is known for its amusement park atmosphere, virtual meditation, Pilates and stretching classes were created in the pandemic, when each employee received US$1,000 (about R$5.2 thousand) for equip the home office. In addition to these benefits, paid time off, vacations and flexible working hours are added.
On Facebook, employees receive a cash fee for choosing their own wellness-related benefit. They can be used to purchase sports equipment or massage, for example. New parents are entitled to baby cash, a bonus for expenses with the arrival of the baby.
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Employees of the group’s Bumble dating app got a week off this year as a reward for their successful IPO. It got on so well that two-week collective vacations were instituted every year.
At the law firm Mattos Filho, the strategy is to give more free time to 1.5 thousand employees. The benefits package, in addition to paid time off, includes shorter working hours on Fridays and the end of mandatory work.
— Remuneration is always important and will never cease to be, but, on the other side, there is the intangible. Many people leave companies because of the environment. Our challenge is to create alternatives to equalize this high performance. Time is worth a lot of money too – ponders the Human Development director of the law firm, Renata Maiorino.
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Insurer Prudential has set up a physical activity scoring scheme through an app. If they reach goals, the employee gains benefits in transportation, gym and also vouchers for delivery of food, the most redeemed prize.
The vice president of Multichannel Strategic Partnerships, Patricia Freitas, says that the model was brought from South Africa, where companies reduced their healthcare expenses by around 17%.
— The pandemic accelerated these actions with a focus on health and new models, as well as the shortage of talent. Companies need to listen actively to know what to offer within the reality of their business — says Wilma Dal Col, director of Strategic People Management at ManPowerGroup Brazil.
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L’Oréal Brasil conducted market research on benefits before adopting trends such as the shortest sixth and two days off per month for employees to solve personal problems. A 40% subsidy for the online therapy service and travel as prizes for those who accumulate points with physical activities are other bets on well-being.
— The scale of priorities has changed. The proposal is well-being. Retention is a consequence. More than financial gain, we focus on quality of life. That’s the strategy — summarizes the senior manager of HR at the French multinational, Nathalia Mainardi.