Helping Hands: Combating Challenges with New Employee BenefitsEmployee Journals
Indirect compensation or employee benefits matter. These are benefits that the company offers to its employees that don’t come in the form of cash, such as health and wellness programs.
In all honesty, I did not imagine myself being involved in devising, proposal-making, and developing employee benefits packages. Looking back to my college days, my professional pathway was to receive my degree in B.S. Nursing, pass the two-day board examination, and apply for a nurse position in a reputable hospital in the metro. However, it was not an easy feat. The nursing industry at the time was very saturated, with only a handful of vacancies in different medical facilities. With the lack of opportunities in my supposedly professional path, I learned about RareJob Philippines, Inc., or “RJ” as employees usually call it, and tried my luck in applying for a position after having experienced two different employments. I initially thought my application was not considered because it had been more than three months since the day I expressed my interest before I received an update.
I started working at RJPH in 2011 as a QA1 staff which is now, if I’m not mistaken, in some way a combination of the current teams of the department handling tutor acquisition and onboarding. However, one month before my regularization I received a call from the hospital that I previously applied for and was advised to visit the Chief Nurse Office to formally process my employment application. I was not emotionally prepared back then. I faced the dilemma of staying at RJ or pursuing my profession as a nurse. It was truly hard for me due to the following reasons: (1) I was happy with what I was doing, (2) I liked the people and the culture, (3) I was satisfied with the compensation, benefits, and rewards I received from the company, and (4) I was not in any way looking for a new job. I can still vividly remember how I couldn’t stop crying with matching “hikbi” when I informed one of my team members and my team leader about my problem. I then decided to eliminate the “what ifs” and left the company in 2012 with a gloomy feeling.
Given that I had no background in the field of HR, I first thought that my role and work scope will be easy-breezy as compared to what I experienced in the clinical setting. To be honest, it is very challenging and there are a lot of things to consider especially when it comes to the welfare of the employees.
LIFE IS NOT SHORT, IT IS UNCERTAIN.
For the past two years, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions as we have encountered a major medical and economic crisis in our lifetime – the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals have suffered the loss of family members; loss of a source of income or reduced total rewards as several establishments close their businesses or opt for retrenchment; having blurred boundaries between work and personal life for employees on a work-from-home setup heightened with added caring responsibilities for other employees, self, and household members; low physical, social, and emotional connection toward the members of the workforce; reduced income as a result of not being able to work due to the impact of the pandemic on employees’ physical and mental health as well as their family members. In short, this pandemic checks a lot of boxes that affect the well-being of every individual.
These kinds of situations may significantly affect employee attendance, performance, productivity, sense of belongingness, health, and financial security. To restore or maintain the well-being of our employees, our team organized several programs and online activities to promote wellness and encourage employees to prepare for the future. Such programs and activities were the information sharing about COVID-19 infection and vaccine; Online Home Workout and Dance Fitness activities conducted by employees who are fitness enthusiasts; Mental Health Webinar Series, Financial Wellness Webinars, Family Welfare Program Webinar, Assistance to Employees with Confirmed COVID-19 and Close Contacts, and Granting of Leave for COVID-19 Vaccination.
NEW YEAR, NEW BENEFITS!
Designing employee benefits requires a great deal of effort and time. It is vital to conduct research on trends and benefit offers of other companies, send a survey to employees to know about their needs and suggestions, analyze employee demographics data, consider current events, evaluate gathered data, run a simulation, and create the guidelines. The end goal of designing employee benefits is to provide great value to the workforce while maintaining cost-efficiency.
There’s a concept in behavioral economics referred to as benevolent paternalism. It is a concept that facilitates the creation of the environment intending to produce the greatest outcome for people which includes being happy, satisfied, healthy, and financially secure in their life. Benefits matter a lot. It’s an opportunity for the organization to assist its talents to achieve success not just in the duration of employment, but for a lifetime.
I. Health Insurance
The company recognizes that an employee’s salary and PhilHealth coverage is not enough to pay for the full medical expenses especially when it comes to critical illnesses.
HMO Coverage on First Day + One Dependent:
Offering health plan coverage on the first day of work provides employees and a qualified dependent financial security and stability, especially now that the cost of healthcare is expensive. In the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is now cognizant of how quickly one’s health and financial situation change. Getting an HMO coverage is a must-have especially these days.
II. Paid Time Off (Mental Health, Parent’s, and Birthday Leaves)
Many establishments have adopted a work-from-home setup to resume the usual company operations a few weeks after the inception of the community quarantine. Although there are plenty of advantages which include but are not limited to less preparation time before the start of work, virtually no travel time, and working in PJs, there are also several negative effects that are associated with it. This includes burnout and as I’ve mentioned earlier, working-from-home created some sort of blurred boundaries between work and personal life heightened with added caring responsibilities for other employees, self, and household members. Having to enjoy paid time off from work and the choice and flexibility as to when to use them within the allowable period shows that the company sees its employees as human beings with lives and interests outside of the office. Paid time off helps employees focus on other things, recharge, and get back to work as their most productive or creative selves.
Mental Health Leave:
There’s so much changing dramatically especially when the coronavirus pandemic quickly spread across the world. It is yielding a sizeable degree of concern, fear, and difficulty in the population and amongst certain groups in particular, which include people with underlying mental health conditions. There has been an increase in rates of stress and anxiety. Our physical and social interactions with peers are suddenly halted due to the implementation of social distancing, isolation, and quarantine protocols. Its effects on many people’s routines made them feel lonely and depressed. Having the option to use a mental health leave on any working day every quarter is a nice gesture from the company that mental health shall not be taken for granted.
I can clearly recall when most of the employees who went on maternity leave informed me that they are having a problem resuming back to work because of their child/children. Any parent will agree that caring for their children can be stressful and exhausting, and it’s also expensive. This is why many parents who don’t receive paid leaves from their job often return to work much sooner because they simply can’t afford to lose their income for several days. Giving parents additional time to bond with their family on top of the existing government-mandated parental leaves such as maternity leave, paternity leave, and solo parent’s leave enables them to not worry so much about finances and sends a very clear message to potential hires and existing employees that RJ cares about its employees and their families.
In addition to the employee’s paid vacation leave entitlement and public holidays, the employees can also take leave in recognition of their birthday, and they may enjoy longer celebrations with their loved ones.
With the new leave types, wouldn’t you agree that paid time off is better than overtime pay these days? It certainly is! 🙂
Most if not all employees work for a paycheck. But as an employee like you, I’m also looking for more than just a deposit into my bank account every fifteen days. It is one of my considerations for staying in a job. I can confidently say that the company recognizes its workforce as its greatest asset. Yes, it’s crucial to take care of employees’ wellness but being aware of something and putting that into practice makes a difference. I value how RareJob Philippines, Inc. takes a much more active role in the holistic well-being of the workforce.
I look forward to the point where employees have the option and flexibility to tailor-fit the total rewards that they receive based on their needs and how they desire to utilize them.
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I am a Senior Legal Associate of RareJob Philippines, Inc., and have been working with the same company for five (5) fruitful years. I’ve also been an active member of the Information Security Management Committee (ISMC) – a committee designed to assist the company’s compliance with data privacy and other related laws.
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