Almost half of Romanian employees (42.5 percent) are planning to change jobs in the next three months, according to the latest study by eJobs, the online recruitment platform. This is due to their expectations of getting a better job, with higher wages and benefits. It is not easy for employers to find ways to keep workers from leaving, as we can see from the companies Business Review talked to, although the situation may not be as bad as it seems.
By Aurel Dragan
Different industries across the economy have different problems in the human resources field. Looking at the study conducted by eJobs (among the platform’s online users), we can see that pay is the main concern of those looking to change jobs. “Salary is the main reason Romanians want to resign. The next thing that dissatisfies them is the lack of opportunities for personal and professional development. A large part of those who participated in the study say they want to change field or that they need a job to balance their personal and professional lives and reduce the number of hours worked throughout the week. What the study shows us is that it is issues of our comfort, our employees, our wellbeing, and the creation of a framework that motivates, rather than intrinsic aspects such as salary,” says Bogdan Badea, eJobs Romania CEO.
Apart from those who want to change job in the next three months, another 14.1 percent are keen to make this change in the next six months, which makes a total of 6 out of 10 employees who want another job. The platform compiles over 4 million CVs and is visited monthly by 2 million users, numbers that makes it significant for the workforce. The changes in the market seem to have been at a peak for recent years, since the total number of applications in the first quarter of 2019 on eJobs increased by more than 30 percent over the same period last year, reaching almost 3.9 million.
The study also found the reasons why employees wish to stay in their current roles. The main thing keeping them in their job is the relationship they have with colleagues, followed by the short distance between home and work. Salary comes only third, followed by a flexible work schedule. Other reasons invoked by employees are that they do not work overtime, have a good relationship with their direct manager, feel that their work has a positive impact on society, or work for a company with a good reputation in the market.
Wages and benefits
The main benefits, apart from the salary, that companies give employees are meal tickets or co-paid meals in the cafeteria, transport subsidies and bonuses for holidays or for children. If there is a difference between white-collar workers in urban offices it is that big employers outside the major cities tend to organize events for employees and their family throughout the year.
“Overall, benefits include, but are not limited to, meal vouchers, co-paid meals in the company’s cafeterias, subsidies for transportation expenses, relocation bonuses, special bonuses or gifts for employees’ children, preventive medical services, co-paid sport programs and internal competitions, free days for special family events, dedicated events for the whole team fully arranged by the company, etc. Personal and professional development programs are fully supported by the company. Other benefits such as flexible working program (teleworking or short day) are applicable to those employees whose jobs allow it,” says Mihaela Popescu, president of TenarisSilcotub, a company with 40 years of history in the Romanian industry, employing almost 2,000 people in Romania and around 20,000 worldwide.
From the white-collar side, a booming sector is the business services industry, one of the most dynamic in Romania, with the industry potential of several hundred thousand employees, although only half of this potential has been reached. Accenture is one of the largest professional service companies active in areas such as consulting, digital transformation, technology and operations worldwide. In Romania, it has more than 3,000 employees in Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Targu Mures, Iasi and Timişoara.
“Being a very large company with over 459,000 employees in 55 countries, we offer local teams the chance to work in a very diverse and dynamic environment with colleagues and customers all over the world. Career opportunities are extremely varied, and all of this can be accessed while living in the city that suits you best. Also, in Accenture, we emphasize the balance between work and life, as well as observing that more and more candidates prioritize this when they choose a new job. For example, our benefits portfolio includes access to a network of sports halls, two additional days of legal leave from the first year, and additional days of leave depending on professional development. But statistically speaking, meal vouchers, medical prepayment, transportation remittance, and private pensions are the main extra-salary benefits that candidates most often choose,” says Ramona Salagean, country HR lead at Accenture Romania.
Busy in the IT industry
The workforce crisis started a few years ago in the IT industry, the first to require more qualified staff in order to expand businesses. The situation has not changed, even if it is very specific to the sector. “Globally, talents in the IT industry are still highly sought after and insufficient in number and the social context in Romania convinces many to choose to leave the country,” says Carmen Buruiana, enterprise HR Manager at Bitdefender.
As for the benefits offered, the company is taking advantage of the fact that it is a leading player worldwide and has many development opportunities for employees. “Bitdefender security solutions are fully developed in Romania in the five R&D centers. In total, the company has 19 offices in 13 countries across four continents. In this context, of a Romanian company, the special benefits we give come from the advantages and limitations of the organizational structure. Positioning Bitdefender as a thought leader on specific technical areas allows R&D specialists to be able to speak at various events, congresses, and international conferences, a highly motivating benefit to those who have career as a focal point for their development. Another special benefit that Bitdefender offers according to business needs and employees’ desire is relocation to areas where there are international offices, and the special benefit of relocation to the US is to support the Green Card for the employee and his or her family. The relocation includes comp&ben packages in those markets as well as medical insurance. A third tremendous benefit that Bitdefender gives to technical staff is regular training in courses and congresses and obtaining international certifications,” says Buruiana.
The technology focus is what can help IT companies to find good employees. “The fact that we work with emerging technologies is also an asset in attracting workers, especially since there is no overlap with public offers in this respect. While we operate in a competitive market, we maintain standards of employment at a high level – something that helps us perform, and we allow ourselves to be selective,” says Alina Rusei, chief people operations at Qualitance. “We have a culture of continuous development, which has helped us to increase the employee retention rate from year to year. There have been years in which we have lost people from the company, but we have managed to bring back a great deal of them, because we have been concentrating on building contexts that would make them feel worthwhile and create growth opportunities. From a material perspective, we target at least the benefits level of the market. The package we offer employees contains several elements and covers personal health and comfort services. At the same time, it is equally important for us to provide our employees with an experience that also fulfills them at the human level through learning and interaction opportunities specifically created for them. We value everyday experiences, small things that matter and often make the difference,” says Rusei.
Closer to the employee
According to Voicu Oprean, owner and CEO of AROBS Transilvania Software, the best way to keep talent in the company is to listen to them. “Every month I have breakfast with every employee who wants to have an informal talk with me. Every good idea is put into action,” says Voicu. The firm’s headcount has grown by 100 people per year, reaching 809 in 2019. The company doesn’t only “lure” professionals with attractive salaries, but also creates a large range of programs and benefits like subscriptions to technical platforms in order to enhance their desire to improve themselves professionally. And it facilitates access to proficiency programs and conferences.
To support the next generation of employees, the company has adopted several projects run by universities to educate young students, offering them internships and jobs in the company. It has also supported communities of all sizes by opening offices in cities such as Iasi, Suceava, Baia Mare, Targu Mures and Arad, Budapest, Chisinau and Belgrade. “We value people. Our company puts people first; every employee matters,” says Oprean.
Hospitality industry, the best place to start a career
It is not unusual to start working at a young age in the HORECA industry. But this doesn’t mean that hotels or restaurants will not push to keep their employees. “As in many other cases, in the hospitality industry there is a lack of balance between the available workforce (scarcer and scarcer) and the available skills. Still, we are in the fortunate position to walk the talk when we say that we hire attitude and train the skills. Hospitality is one of those industries where one can easily find a starting point and that build a career, either locally or abroad. It doesn’t mean we are not impacted by the same trends impacting the whole local market. It means that we have to be more and more creative in finding ways to approach, attract and retain people at various stages in their professional lives,” says Liliana Simion, HR director at Marriott Courtyard Floreasca.
She adds that the chief perks are specific to the industry. “The main benefits offered are directly linked either to the industry’s specifics (special room rates available worldwide, free laundry, free cafeteria), or with the market’s trends (staff events, discounted rates for various public events, health club subscriptions, insurance etc),” says Simion, adding that the company is looking to hire 100 employees by the end of the year for a resort that will be open in summer. “Usually, retention cannot be linked with one factor only – in this case, learning and development opportunities. There is a wide range of factors impacting the decision to stay and grow within the company and this is why at Marriott we evaluate on a yearly basis the engagement survey – an integral aspect of the company’s culture. It is common knowledge that engaged employees are less likely to leave the organization, more likely to provide exceptional customer service, and help drive the overall performance of the business. This is how we identify specific, actionable areas and can better target our actions,” adds Simion.
Migration in the health sector
The migration of medical doctors and nurses has been partially halted by the increased wages in the public sector. But this has created another problem: private clinics, such as those in dentistry, have discovered that many employees prefer working for state facilities, in the hope of higher wages. “By balancing the prospects of a growing market, opportunities for professional development, access to advanced technologies and all that is needed to carry out activity at a high level, our specialization should be the choice,” says Ionut Leahu, CEO and founder at Clinicile Dentare Dr. Leahu.
“We believe in motivating employees through issues that are not just about the material side. The ability to learn multiple specializations through exposure to important professional and casuistic teams (many patients, interesting and complex cases), access to the latest technologies, mentoring, and ongoing development programs are real advantages for those aiming to be very good. In terms of material benefits, employees and their first degree relatives can access dental services at a low price. Our employees also benefit from meal vouchers with maximum electronic value. Both candidates and employees can apply for medical insurance, travel vouchers, and courses, and the company is open to improving the extra-wage benefits package,” says Leahu.
Since its employee retention rate is very high, the Dr. Leahu clinic can say that it has found the right way to do it. “In 2019, retention in the company is 96 percent, and we want to keep it at that level or even go to 100 percent. Our domain requires stability to serve patient excellence and we make every effort to maintain team unity. We have reached 200 employees, constantly increasing our team as we develop our business, while at the same time managing not to lose people. Team solidity is the most important element in the context of accelerated business development and a 50 percent increase in employee numbers to support this expansion,” says Leahu.
Digitization is the next stage in the Industry 4.0 era. Companies that manage to keep their employees use the latest technologies available in order to stay connected and keep in touch with the future. “The company has undergone massive digital transformation over the last few years, so now about 60 percent of total global revenue comes from digital services, cloud and security, which we call The New. This transformation has contributed decisively to Accenture’s performance, so we have gained a significant market share, growing nearly three times as much as the market. I can say with certainty that technology is part of Accenture DNA,” says Ramona Salagean.
“From an internal point of view, there are a number of global areas working on the creation of the foundation and improving the level of collaboration and productivity. For example, our colleagues have a mobile app to provide feedback from anywhere in our performance evaluation process. I am absolutely convinced that adopting technology has turned business in a positive way, helping it become more efficient. At the same time, it has given us the opportunity to provide our services at a higher quality, so it has increased customer satisfaction and has greatly reduced the efforts of our employees,” adds the Accenture representative.
Robotic Process Automation, chatbots, and the upcoming 5G technology are just a few of the things that will soon need to be implemented by pretty much all industries. And all are a challenge, not only for companies, but for employees too. Keeping pace with change is one of the most important things in HR today.