The flexible benefits market is not just a big business. 25.5% of small and medium-sized enterprises activated corporate welfare programs in 2016; in just three years they have doubled to 45.9%. This is what comes across from the Rapporto Welfare Index Pmi 2019, (Welfare Index SMEs 2019 report) promoted by Generali Italia with the participation of the major Italian employer representation confederations (Confindustria, Confagricoltura, Confartigianato and Confprofessioni). For the fourth year the report analyzed the welfare level of a sample of 4,561 small-medium sized Italian companies (more than doubled compared to the 2016) exceeding 15,000 interviews in the three years.
“Having reached the fourth year of this program, it is interesting to evaluate the data in a dynamic way, so as to understand how Italian companies are moving in terms of welfare", Marco Sesana, Country Manager & Ceo Generali Italia and Global Business Lines, underlines. " The 2019 Report contains a wealth of very important and statistically significant information. The first data is that, from 2016 to 2019, the SMEs that are very active in corporate welfare have gone up from 7.2% to 19.6% ", the CEO adds.
Welfare Index Pmi monitored the welfare initiatives of companies (of all productive sectors and all size classes) in 12 areas:
- supplementary pensions
- supplementary healthcare
- assistance services
- insurance policies
- work-life balance
- financial support
- educational support for children and family members
- culture and free time
- support for vulnerable individuals
- safety and prevention
- welfare extended to the territory and communities
A step up in quality
Since 2016, companies have increased both the extent and intensity of adopted welfare programs compared to the 12 areas identified by the research. In 2016, the active realities, meaning that they have programs in at least 4 areas, were 25.5%; in just three years they have doubled to 45.9%. The growth of highly active companies -that is with initiatives in at least 6 areas- is even more significant: they have almost tripled, going from 7.2% in 2016 to 19.6% in 2019. The real leap happened last year, with a growth of very active companies from 14.4% to 19.6% (+ 36%), a sign of the success of the legislation and the Welfare Index Pmi program that promoted the spread of welfare among small and medium enterprises.
“Corporate welfare is successful if it is a business project that starts from listening to the needs of employees; entrepreneurs who implement a coherent and prolonged strategy for the well-being and satisfaction of workers and their families over time declare that they have a positive impact on productivity and also on the community; between companies the awareness that social well-being and business results grow together is increasing, emphasizes Sesana, “This is the message that come across from the 2019 Welfare Index, which highlights how corporate welfare is not just the prerogative of large companies. In these years, on the contrary, it has managed to break the dimensional barrier, spreading even to small and micro-enterprises”.
The largest companies are still leading, with 71% of very active companies, well above all the other segments. But in small and medium-sized companies, growth has been particularly fast, and in these three years the share of very active companies has more than doubled. In micro-enterprises (less than 10 employees) it has gone from 6.8% in 2017 to the current 12.2%. In small businesses (10-50 employees): from 11% in 2016 to 24.8% today. In medium-sized companies (51-250 employees): from 20.8% in 2016 to 45.3% today, with a particularly strong increase in the last year.
Welfare Index Pmi 2019 therefore highlights the existence of a significant segment of very active companies (19.6% which is equivalent to 130,000 thousand businesses), belonging to all productive sectors, which have:
- matured an awareness of their social role (63.4% state that the importance of social objectives has increased over the last 2-3 years);
- developed a long-term strategic vision (71.7% of these declared their intention to further increase corporate welfare in the future);
- defined well-focused objectives and policies, systematically involving workers (71.2% against an average of 51.6%);
- consequently achieved results that encourage progress on this path (73.1% and 63.9% respectively show positive impacts on worker satisfaction and labor productivity).
The areas of greatest growth
"Security and prevention", "supplementary health" and "supplementary pensions" are the more classic areas of welfare, strongly regulated by laws and contracts. These areas, among the most relevant per program rate, are keeping a high growth trend. The policies for the protection of employees (mainly accident and life insurance) and economic support programs (from meals to transport, from housing facilities to credit support…) are the most mature and consolidated areas, with very relevant program rates and a stable trends", the report highlights.
But the areas of "work-life balance" and "employee training” are the most dynamic, and also very relevant per program rate. “These are the areas of greatest growth as a result of the thrust of companies and enterprises bargaining in search of more flexible models of work organization, support for parenting and child care, and for the commitment to support the qualification of resources with training business. Training is the area with the highest rate of independent corporate initiative, and is also indicated by companies as a priority for future development ", the Report reads.