By Gonzalo Calleriza for Re-Creándote
The points of view of companies are not the same as before. The priorities and benefits of employees have been changing according to the technologies and demands. The reality before was that people started working at 15 years old, they got married young, they had two or three children and they work 40 years for the same company.
In family businesses the priority was to get money for the family. With the growth and incorporation of staff and thanks to the mentality of everyone was family created a feeling of loyalty, giving relevance to the welfare of employees.
With the growth and passage of time, the priority became more focused on the owners to then give place to the managers. A little later, with the incorporation of the international stock exchange, the need for greater investment increased and practices to guarantee profitability, lowering costs and getting rid unnecessary personnel became the norm.
If this reality was the current one, there would not be this article, so where are we heading?
In this world nothing is constant, just as how family businesses grew, gained strength, resources and changed, new technologies and practices are bringing back the feelings of before. The priority of automation is beginning to take a back seat to give space to well-being and personalized service.
Over exploitation, unhealthy hours, unstructured pressures and hostile environments are already taking a toll on employee’s health, amply demonstrated in the increase of stress, anxiety, depression and absenteeism at work, causing people to look for better things with other eyes. Already a Rolex is not so valuable if it means having five people screaming at you.
The satisfaction of the employees as a factor of employability and production makes power return to them, questioning the working conditions they would face. Of course, this depends a lot on where the person lives since the cultural environment affects the demands, but it can be noted as the work efficiency of an employee who feels valued, appreciated and cared, unlike an employee where they pay very well, but do not have time to enjoy the things that they won or return home with a mental load that does not allow them to be emotionally present with your loved ones. It does not help much to have a lot of money when you can’t spend it.
This ends up making us ask, what is the emotional salary? why many have thought of Google when asked this question?
They are the social / emotional benefits that can be given to a worker. Simple examples of these are to give the day of their birthday as free, and if it falls in a weekend, the person can pass it to a Monday or Friday. It is giving the possibility of bringing children or pets to the company, having a break-room to de-stress, remodeling the office to have natural light and green spaces, being able to go to the emergency room because something happened without having in the back of their head that they’re going to be fired tomorrow for doing that.
The emotional salary is the pleasant feeling of knowing that the company is once again a family and they not only see you as the money that you are generating or saving them, gaining again loyalty, ensuring that their personal and professional goals are achieved. It is the care of the employee and in return they will take care of the company and their clients.
Some people may ask, what can I do to improve this? Will it cost me a lot of money? When can I really notice the improvements? We present in this article a cultural change, something that is done gradually and involves attention to be able to adapt appropriately. If many things happen at once it will only mean an unmeasured investment of money for benefits that many will not understand that they can use until a few months later, meaning more an expense than an investment. What is the use of making a smoothie bar for employees when they do not know they can drink them for free or they would really prefer a cappuccino machine?
It is necessary to know what they like, motivates them, relieves them of tensions and empowers them. If they are constantly thinking that they do not have time to say goodbye to their children in school, maybe a simple change of work schedule would drastically change the way the person would start their morning, guaranteeing their efficiency rather than having a moral debate about if they are being good parents or not.
Many people associate a cultural change and an incorporation of emotional salary with, once again, the image of Google with their slides, nap-pods, cafeterias with all the food they can eat for free, ping-pong tables, foosball , pool tables and much more. They think about infrastructure, not policies (something that can’t be seen in the images clearly).
Others think that if many freedoms are given, people will not work the 40 hours, will not achieve results and will lose a lot of money, but one has to consider as well, how many people really work the 40 hours? Right now, if you are reading this in the office, you will be able to notice people out of focus, thinking about the things they have to do in their homes, about what is happening to their acquaintances, watching Facebook secretly, chatting with their cell phones under the table, or that they went on a smoke break. The importance is not the quantity, but the quality of time applied, that reaches the goals and if people are satisfied with the things they are doing without this pressure and feel that their interests are being looked after, they will work more on their own.
A simple practice used by Mondelez International in Switzerland was to check beforehand the bridge days of the year, calculate how much extra time should be worked per week to accommodate this free days and then the collaborator had to use his times to meet the quotas, making the work not the stress of “I have to be at 8 o’clock” and neither a race at 5:00 PM to leave.
The practices that can be incorporated are endless, it is only necessary to have the door open to really listen to what is happening. Seeing people and not just thinking “if there is something I could improve on, they would tell me”. Dare to take two steps forward and you will notice how the rest will start to follow