A great humorous commercial from a few months ago, in which the company's HR offers a senior developer, among other things, jumping into a pool of chocolate and a housekeeper/ personal assistant, best describes the state of the constant struggle on the IT market for quality personnel.
The line between really necessary and slightly unrealistic benefits that companies put before IT employees is getting thinner, but the reasons for such a state of affairs in the fight for talent will not be the topic of this text.
Here, we would rather point out what are the benefits that really mean to employees in the IT industry, that big and small, but above all original ideas, with meaningful adaptation to time and circumstances, can represent a great advantage for employees. Companies that find this kind of balance not only manage to attract new people but, even more importantly, to keep employees in the long run.
Did someone say Summer recharge?
Yes, everyone is talking about summer and vacations, so at Schneider Electric (SE) this summer they made a seemingly small move that means a lot to employees and they already love it - every Friday in July and August they work only half-time! Summer recharge is an opportunity for a small break every week, after or before vacation, which may not be a house with a chocolate pool, but the employees are already excitedly planning a mini battery recharge and escape from the hot concrete. And we know that little things mean life.
With examples of such "small steps", along with all those must haves benefits for employees, this company has retained a good part of its numerous team over the years. That's why we looked for interlocutors among them on the topic of benefits for employees in the IT sector, but those which they really need.
As they plan the first extended weekend for the upcoming Summer recharge, Goca EMS core team lead, Sonja, development team leader and Mladen, project management team leader, all with 10+ years of experience at Schneider Electric, each shared their perspective on this topic.
These are their real stories and in those you will certainly be able to find yourself.
Goca's Story: Daylight Saving Time
How many days a year you don’t work? One Saturday, after a long time, I met a former neighbor. He is in a hurry, but I asked "how is he and his wife?". He tells me that he is in a hurry to go to work and adds with a smile about his wife: "She's great." She has 52 free weekends a year, plus an annual one. She doesn't work for a third of the year, she enjoys it!'' He said goodbye and left, and I was left wondering how many days off I had?
I haven't met my neighbor for a couple of years, but I'd like to tell him what's new with me. Now at Schneider Electric we all have a minimum of 24 days of annual leave, which increases with higher education and experience. I will soon be celebrating my 10th anniversary in the company. For every 5 years, employees get an extra day, so I have another day of rest, and a total of 27.
I mostly spend my annual vacations traveling. As soon as I get back from one, I'm already planning the next one. My friends often hear me say: "So many destinations and so little time". Now there will be more time, because I can get additional free days through the Step Up Recognition program, which allows employees to recognize and be recognized by colleagues in the company, collect valuable points and use them in different ways. And one of them is free days.
So, while I choose my next destination, I'll use the time to enjoy Summer Recharge, and work part-time every Friday until September!
Sonja's story: Little things that mean a lot
How many times have you given up going to the doctor because you can't make an appointment, it's crowded, you don't have enough time, so you wait for the symptoms to pass and leave the cause of the problem for later? I've been on that road. Now, there are no excuses because the company has been offering me private health insurance for three years now.
Physical activity and working in front of the computer are not exactly the best of friends, so the sports area offered by the company is a benefit of great importance. In addition to quality nutrition, food for our soul also makes a big contribution to our health. For me, it's time spent in nature, by the river or the sea. I don't have a sea nearby, so the number of vacation days plays an important role for me. In September, I'm planning my third visit to the Adriatic coast this year, and I have to admit that it doesn't sound bad at all.
At Schneider Electric, the "Learn Every Day" rule applies, and the company helps us a lot with that. The platform is available to all employees and consists of three parts - flexible benefits, learning and team building. In the learning and development section, it is possible to attend courses and obtain literature, regardless of your position and function in the company. To me, as the head of the development team, and also to someone who came from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, they mean opportunities for constant improvement when it comes to working with people. The position I am in requires daily communication with people of different characteristics, backgrounds and/or needs. How to approach them, how to create an environment where trust reigns, how to make the best use of the potential of each individual in the team and, most importantly, to keep them motivated, are just some of the topics in my area of interest.
Flexible benefits that I can use for various needs are particularly useful to me (of course I use them for travel). In the meantime, flexible working hours and the possibility of remote work allow me to work from the cottage or from the mountain, so I can get away from the summer crowds and the heat in the city. And, of course, now my favorite Summer recharge creates new possibilities for a customized extended weekend. The Danube is waiting for me...
In order to learn to achieve results with joint efforts, we also use the possibility of organizing team building in the company - to build stronger bonds as a team, and to be less of just a group of people. We are in the process of organizing this year's team building, and whether we decide to tour the Djerdap gorge, rafting on the Danube or enjoy nature by the lake, the result we strive for is even better communication, understanding and cooperation.
Mladen's story: First dad, then Project Manager
How much time do you have available to be a good worker and how much time to be a good father? I recently used parental leave when my second son was born. Those ten working days, along with the annual days, allowed the first month of the baby's life to pass with mom and dad, without dad's work suffering. Along with the free days, we also received a gift package for the newborn. We also receive New Year's packages that make children happy, as well as mom and dad, of course.
Having a baby and organizing family life is not easy, but fortunately, we always have a restaurant on the premises of the company where we can provide a quality meal at reasonable prices.
Flexible working hours also bring real relief, and since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been able to work from home. So I have the opportunity to take a break twice a day and drive my older son to and from kindergarten.
For those of us who like to plan for the future, the long-term opportunities offered by the company are especially important. This year, we got a great chance to invest in Schneider Electric shares at preferential prices and with additional subsidies from the company and try our hand at the stock market, as well as to have a direct financial benefit from the success of the joint work of colleagues around the world.
While we are all impatiently waiting for the Summer recharge, I also avoid the summer heat by using flexible working hours. I have the opportunity to choose the benefits I want, so I can learn and improve at the company's expense. In fact, each of us employees has a budget at his disposal through the flexible benefit platform that he can spend on what he really needs - sports, private pension insurance or some additional course.
Have you found that some of these benefits are especially useful for you? If you want to hear what other colleagues think about benefits for employees in the IT sector, you can start a discussion on the Joberty community. And if you are interested in what opportunities working at Schneider Electric may bring you, what are the conditions for employees and opportunities for further development of your career, take a look at the currently open positions in this company on the Joberty platform.