Welfare: what is corporate welfare
Corporate welfare consists of a set of activities and initiatives designed to improve the quality of life and general well-being of a company’s employees and their families. Doing so goes to increase the purchasing power of families without increasing taxable income.
Welfare is therefore a very important tool for establishing a balance between private and work spheres, as well as for creating an optimal business climate to increase workers’ motivation and performance.
In addition, the concept of welfare is often combined with that of corporate wellbeing, a condition of total mental and physical health of the worker, including social, professional and financial health.
One of the basic elements of this approach is undoubtedly the distribution of one-time profit shares in the event of special achievements or financial support in the event that the Employee expresses the need to meet certain personal or family needs. In addition, we are increasingly seeing the establishment of dedicated services for the children of employees, particularly as support for female employees with children, and the possibility of taking advantage of commercial, health, and service agreements, which the company, by virtue of its contractual strength, establishes with entities and companies.
It is therefore necessary, especially today, for companies to take steps to implement welfare projects internally and make the most of their potential and benefits, both in the short and long term.
In Italy we have important companies that have long been oriented in this direction (Ferrero, Brunello Cucinelli, Ferrari, just to mention the most well known), within which, and also in the surrounding social fabric, employees and their families identify with the company, perceiving it as a Partner of their lives and a point of reference and support in case of need. It is, therefore, essential and evident how much the efforts and investments in this direction are profitable for the company and also for the entire territory where it operates.
It is news that an agreement between Banca Intesa and trade unions is currently in the analysis phase to institute the “short week,” consisting of four working days, with an increase of only one hour per day. In immediate terms, there would be significant savings in energy costs for the institution, without calculating the rewarding possibility for the employee to have an extra day off.
“Smart working” itself, beyond contingent situations such as health restrictions, is an attempt to rebalance the relationship and needs between business and employees.
This form of employer-employee relationship triggers a mechanism of interchange between the actors that produces greater and better overall business profitability. The resulting fondness constitutes a solid core from which to deal with critical moments and/or situations of particular business stress.
How to implement a welfare plan
Putting a corporate welfare plan into practice is not as easy as it may seem. A company needs to put into practice a well-defined strategy that can meet the needs and wants of all workers in a way that benefits not only the individual but also the entire corporate environment.
First of all, it’s important to assess possible critical issues in order to make the best choice of solutions for the company to adopt. Indeed, depending on the type of industry in which you operate, the size, and the number of employees, you will need to use different tools and implement tailored welfare proposals.
Thus, several steps need to be put in place for proper welfare planning, including an analysis of the context and needs of employees and constant monitoring of the results achieved.
In addition, an effective solution might be to rely on provider companies for corporate welfare services, or to have professionals within the company itself who can simplify and improve the development of strategic plans.
In this regard, the welfare manager is an important role who acts as a meeting point for the interests of the company and individual employees and is responsible for devising strategies to improve people’s lives both inside and outside the work environment.
Among perhaps the most important elements to be introduced in a corporate welfare plan are so-called flexible benefits, which benefit, in particular, medium and large enterprises. These are a range of goods or services that the company makes available in addition to standard pay. This definitely benefits the company itself, as well as individual employees, as it increases employer branding and the very likelihood that workers will want to stay with a particular company. These benefits include scholarships, language courses, season tickets, conventions, and more.
Another action that needs to be implemented for proper planning is at the communication level. It’s essential that the company is committed to communicating and sharing the welfare project they designed with employees so that they are informed of the benefits available to them. In fact, corporate employee loyalty consists of two factors: one is emotional and motivational, with the sharing of business projects and the related involvement of staff; the other is given by concrete elements, such as certain benefits that the company makes available to its staff.
Benefits of corporate welfare
As mentioned earlier, corporate welfare planning allows for benefits on both the company side and the worker side.
A company must constantly take action to improve its image and reputation: inter- and intra-brand conflict and competition are now among a company’s top priorities. In addition to issues in terms of marketing strategies and the quality of products and services offered, becoming more competitive requires implementing internal management policies to motivate staff and stimulate interactions among employees so that they are a source of increased participation.
The staff can benefit from the various advantages first of all from a financial point of view: it increases the purchasing power of the family, which can use the entirety of the money in welfare services without being subject to taxation.
Another benefit is definitely on a psycho-physical and personal level. Each individual, as a result of enjoying the welfare benefits, will definitely be more involved and motivated to perform his or her tasks, resulting in improved overall performance and increased personal satisfaction, an element that should not be underestimated for an employee’s fulfillment in the work environment.
Psychological studies note that an increase in so-called corporate identity also promotes greater overall well-being within the work environment, as it helps to increase the sense of group belonging that each individual has and to achieve better performance in various respects. All of this undoubtedly leads to higher business efficiency and better-performing goals.
Using welfare plans can help create a pleasant work environment and more fluid, empathetic, and lively employee relations. A company should be committed to recognizing the efforts and achievements of its employees, rewarding them and spurring them on to improve more and more. Moreover, this will help make life easier for the employee, with flexible schedules that allow for the reconciliation of important non-work commitments and by providing mobility facilities for all commuters.
The importance of a welfare account
A corporate welfare plan makes numerous services and benefits available to employees, all of which can be brought together within a welfare account, a fundamental tool for taking advantage of them in a concrete and functional way. This is a platform, accessed through a digital portal, that is activated by the company in agreement with the unions, within which each employee can manage their credits and use them in different ways.
Through the use of a welfare account, the employee can request reimbursement, in full or in part, after making an expenditure, by uploading receipts or receipts to the portal; or, he or she can choose to pay the amount in the account, in part or in full, into his or her welfare fund, or, if provided by the company, on the health fund in order to cover medical expenses. Vouchers can also be generated to access a wide range of services taken at affiliated facilities; these include travel, public transportation passes, training courses, and more.
Some examples of corporate benefits
Some of the benefits offered that employees appreciate the most are those concerning personal health; this is especially after the Covid-19 emergency, which led to many people needing much more medical help than in previous years. In fact, more and more health care solutions are being adopted, both for employees and family members, and psychological care, as well as numerous care options for children and the elderly. Some companies are also choosing to provide conventions at private facilities.
Another benefit not to be overlooked is for pension fund contributions and benefits for babysitting and daycare services. Other company benefits include all of those related to personal care, such as subscriptions to gyms and spas, but also for travel, culture, fuel, college tuition, food shopping, and canteens.