Becoming the best place to work
Not too long ago, companies considered buildings, brands or equipment to be their most valuable assets. Not anymore. In today's knowledge economy, talented and engaged employees are what make the difference for long term growth, and UniCredit puts people at the center of our strategy.
In the past ten years, company benefits have evolved from standard offerings such as health care, pensions and paid vacation to new welfare programs focusing on an employee's overall wellbeing, through flexible work hours, career planning, life and financial counselling and staying healthy.
What is employee wellbeing? The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) defines it as "creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organisation."
A 2018 survey by Glassdoor recruiting portal found that 63% of job seekers said benefits were the most important thing when responding to a job ad, nearly as many as those who put the salary at the top of the list (67%).
A good salary is no longer enough on its own to make an employer "a great place to work." Benefits like flexible work hours to reconciling work and personal and family commitments, healthy lifestyle, or employee assistance programmes for stress or substance abuse, depression, and anxiety are becoming increasingly common.
At UniCredit, we make it a strategic priority to offer new answers to our people's changing needs, and continually update our employee welfare initiatives benefits to keep pace with evolutions in the workplace and new lifestyles. Whether your goal is to pursue healthy eating habits, a new workout, sharpen your inter-personal skills or take time off for an important life event, our company Welfare package will support you in making it happen.
What role does welfare play in the present world of work?
At UniCredit, we give our Welfare offering a central and strategic role as a way to develop our business. Our staff is the key to our success, and we want to attract and keep the best people. We are continually updating our welfare initiatives with new ways to show our people that they matter, keeping up with changes in the workplace and people's lifestyles.
Emanuele Recchia Head of Labour Policies Industrial Relations & Welfare - UniCredit
At UniCredit, we believe that work is a natural part of life, and that the quality of our working lives is a necessary condition for reaching our full potential - professionally and personally.
Ethics and Respect guide our actions towards colleagues in the workplace, where finding the right work-life balance is important to us. In all of the countries where we operate, we have established tailor-made programmes to meet fundamental health and family needs.
We provide our employees with a wide and rich Welfare offer that also focuses on personal requirements which may change during the life cycle. Our Welfare offering is created to meet our people's needs in three areas: Flexibility, Well-being and People Caring.
Flexibility means flexible work hours, which are always a big advantage.
Remote working, part time work and time away from the office can make all the difference when it comes to meeting your needs and those of your family and loved ones. We offer paid parental leave for all family models, and permissions and paid leave to take time off for important life events such as a marriage or civil union, a birthday celebration,buying a house, caring for a relative or an educational opportunity.
Millennials and Gen Zs appear to greatly appreciate the option to work from home. According to the Deloitte Millennials Survey 2020, more than 60% said that when the Covid-19 crisis is over, they'd like the option to work remotely more frequently.
Well-being is another guiding principle for us.
This goes beyond our health benefits to include a full choice of healthy lifestyle programs that can help you change your eating habits, start an exercise program, build new relationship skills, or work on cognitive-emotional strengths such as resilience and personal awareness.
People-caring is key to creating an inclusive workplace where everyone can speak up and is listened to and heard. In concrete terms, we want to make sure that our people feel supported in everything they do - both your passions and family life and also in those difficult moments when you most need help. To support all of our staff during their every-day lives, our Employee Assistance Programs offer high-quality consultation services for work or personal matters, from legal guidance, health counselling and life coaching to solving problems at work and financial advice.
We aim to put our people at the center of our value creation, creating a positive workplace where they can feel part of One Team, One UniCredit
What are the objectives of our Welfare?
UniCredit is proud to be a Top Employer Europe in 2020 and our Welfare initiatives helped us reach this goal. Wherever we operate, UniCredit has developed a specially-tailored Welfare offering adapted to local needs. We help our people reach their personal and professional goals by achieving a better work-life balance, finding time to care for a loved one, learn a new skill, start a fitness program or obtain counselling support during a life transition or unexpected challenges such as COVID-19
Emanuele Recchia Head of Labour Policies Industrial Relations & Welfare - UniCredit
At UniCredit, we have built our Welfare initiatives around what our people say is important to them, listening through dedicated surveys. We know that our people are the key to our success.
They tell us that the "time factor" is more important than ever, not just for Millennials but also for new parents or staff people who have to care for an elderly parent.
There is never enough time. We are working hard to increase flexibilities and work life balance with programs such as paid leaves for key life events, time banks, paid leaves for voluntary activities and flexible working.
The first person to study workplace wellness was a physician born in Modena, Italy in 1633. Bernardo Ramazzini is the father of occupational medicine, thanks to his book De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (Treaty on Workers' Diseases) which was the first ever to examine at the impact of work on health and to suggest practical measures to avoid work-related injuries.
Workplace wellness has developed over the last three centuries, now going far beyond the avoidance of injuries. Many large companies set employee wellness as a goal which influences corporate strategies. There are specially-designed programmes to support employee fitness and stress management in addition to standard health care and pension benefits.
In the centuries since Ramazzini, the workplace has become safer -- but more stressful. The World Health Organisation now recognises "burnout" as a legitimate medical diagnosis. This is why the concept of physical wellness has been expanded in recent years to include "wellbeing," which encompasses the emotional, mental and social aspects of a person's health.
At UniCredit, our approach to wellness has evolved to reflect changes in the workplace and a desire to support our people in reaching all of their wellbeing goals: nutritional, physical, emotional, and relational. That's why we offer a range of choices, from gym memberships and discounted bike rentals to advice and assistance services. We offer health care and prevention campaigns, counselling and coaching programs supporting private and professional needs, courses on "soft skills" such as relationship-building, resilience and personal awareness and much more.
Taking care of yourself and those you care for matters!
Helping our people face important life challenges is another way we support their overall well-being at work and at home. Everyone has to manage a transition at some stage in their lives, and we all know it can be stressful as well as an opportunity for new growth.
Our welfare and wellbeing offerings are continually evolving to meet changing needs. That's why we decided to offer dedicated programmes to help people to transfer their transition experiences into best practices and soft skills for their professional lives.
It stands out among these initiatives a new online master called "Life Value," that helps people at UniCredit to use their journey through three important life passages (parenthood, transition, and elderly caring) to develop new soft skills.
"Life value" is an innovative online development path available 24/7 to help transform life experiences into career-enhancing assets, increasing a person's well-being, energy and self-awareness.
Its three programmes (Child, Care and Transictions) are designed in synergy with our other Welfare benefits that support staff during for child care (remote working and leave), elder care (disability management) and self-care (healthcare and psychological counselling).
The "Child" module helps new fathers and mothers look at parenthood as an experience that strengthens and develops emotional intelligence, leadership and listening skills, which are fundamental also at work.
"Care" discusses how caring for an elderly person builds skills around finding new personal solutions.
"Transiction" is about turning crisis into a new skills opportunity, and being opening to changing demands.
Each module includes a webinar, along with a community and exercises to apply these new skills. Open questions stimulate reflections. And at the end, there are self-evaluation questionnaires and reading materials.
"Life Value" started in Italy in June, and may be extended to other countries. It has been specially developed for UniCredit by Life Based Learning, a leader in the development and promotion of innovative solutions to transform life transitions into a program for professional growth. Life Based Learning is used by more than 50 companies, with more than 6,000 participants.
Respect is the value that underpins our welfare policies. Creating an inclusive workplace where all employees can be heard and their needs met, is key to helping everyone contribute their best.
At UniCredit, we know that our success depends on the wellbeing of all of our people all - physical, mental and emotional. We added new "people caring" offers during Covid-19, to support our employees. We expect to increase these efforts in the future.
Our welfare benefits package includes a "people caring" selection of employee assistance programs with high quality consultation services for both work and personal issues. We have legal, financial and psychological support programs. We also have local listening initiatives for serious issues, such as domestic violence.
These efforts are underpinned by a strong commitment to create a positive working environment which is based on respect, listening and quality of life. In 2018, we were the first Italian bank to appoint a Disability Manager, to guide colleagues in promoting an inclusive work environment.
Currently, around 1 billion people in the world suffer from some form of disability, according to the World Health Organisation. Many of us do not see this. Disabled people tend to be excluded from many workplaces, meaning they are more likely to be economically disadvantaged. Awareness on inclusion has increased in recent years. In 2018, the United Nations produced its first global study of disability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlining recommended actions to promote disability-inclusive sustainable development. Addressing inequality in the workplace is a key to building a sustainable future.
At UniCredit, , in line with our guiding values of Ethics and Respect, we create an engaging and positive working environment where all employees can contribute their talent and skills. We know that our people are our most valuable asset. We are strongly committed to investing in helping them improve their skills, achieve their goals and obtain a good work-life balance. An inclusive workplace, where everyone contributes and is heard, is crucial to becoming a best place to work.
To achieve this goal, we appointed a Disability Manager in Italy and in Austria. These figures are the go-to person for disabled co-workers who need guidance or are experiencing any discomfort from their disability or in interactions with other colleagues. These managers work to increase autonomy, participation and accessibility for people with disabilities. Sometimes, they connect departments to solve problems or promote inclusion. They also organise events and communication campaigns to heighten awareness among all co-workers: talks, seminars and more.
We aim to listen to colleagues with temporary, sudden, or permanent disabilities, so that they can participate fully in meetings, use their computer and move around freely in our offices.
Because we matter!
In the workplace, flexibility used to be seen as a perk or a bonus. This is no longer the case. Long before the Covid-19 pandemic made working from home into a "new normal" for millions of office workers, technological advances and changing social trends have made flexibility an increasingly important component of any benefits package.
Flexible working arrangements bring the employer better performance and higher retention while improving work-life balance for employees. Flexibility means both when people work (i.e. variable schedules, longer breaks) and where people work (i.e. flexible office locations, working from home) as well as how much people work (i.e. part-time contracts, job sharing, leaves).
The number of Americans working remotely at least half of the time jumped by 159% between 2005 and 2017, according to a 2019 (pre-Covid) report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, based on government data. In Europe, 68% of people said that flexible hours were "important or very important to feeling happy" at work, according to the 2018 Deloitte European Workplace Survey. With health concerns now also fuelling this trend, companies including Facebook and Twitter and Italian market leaders such as Eni and Leonardo, are making "smartworking" a structural part of their organisational model.
At UniCredit, our colleagues confirm that the "time factor" is more important than ever. This is true across the board: Millennials, new parents, colleagues caring for elderly relatives. There is never enough time. That is why we offer programs such as paid leave for key life events and voluntary activities, time banks, flexible working hours and flexible working locations. We will continue to enhance our work-life balance support, to meet our staff's evolving needs.