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Courses, mental health care, and accumulation of points. Unusual social packages of Ukrainian employers

Social packages for employees in Ukrainian and foreign companies. Photo: unsplash / @myleon

Social packages for employees in Ukrainian and foreign companies. Photo: unsplash / @myleon

Today, company owners and HR specialists are looking for new ideas to retain and motivate their employees, because competitive salaries and comfortable working conditions alone no longer attract specialists. For example, employees of the major companies are accustomed to health insurance, payment of additional social benefits, in particular gym membership or foreign language courses, and therefore this is not enough. The Page has investigated how Ukrainian and international companies take care of their employees.

Competition for specialists in the market encourages employers to expand the benefits package. The company’s advantages on the market are life insurance, additional retirement benefits, programs not only for the employee’s physical, but also for spiritual development. Let’s add here a concierge service, a sizeable education budget, travel and concert tickets as a gift, lounge leisure areas with sports areas…

By the way, the headhunters are currently outlining the trend that has been observed in Ukraine over the past few years—the implementation of so-called wellness programs. They provide staff with physical development, stress relief, new knowledge, for example, about proper nutrition, a competent approach to sports, and even the provision of emergency care (one can get basic skills that will help stop bleeding and properly give information to a medical institution). In addition, the pandemic has fostered the emergence of new trends in the area of the employee value proposition (value proposition for employees, meaningful benefits that a particular company can offer to its people). In particular, foreign and Ukrainian companies offer monetary compensation or ready-made inventory for organizing a workspace at home (desk, chairs, and equipment). And this is not a complete list of bonuses.

"There are many motivational models. In particular, the following are distinguished: Japanese (based on patriotism towards the country and the company), American (based on personal development, team, team building, and business development due to the growth of each individual employee), British (that may be based on payment in shares or the dependence of the salary size on profits: the higher it is, the higher the salary), the Swedish model (based on social equality that regulates the gap between the lowest salary in the industry and the highest one and stimulates the increase of the first one and restrains the increase of the second one). In practice, the business mixes these models depending on the number of employees, scaling, and the business itself."

Natalia Gaykalova

Natalia Gaykalova

Founder and CEO of the financial and legal company Finevolution

The expert identified the following options for motivating employees:

  • Medical insurance (companies cover from 50 to 100% of the cost of the insurance policy).
  • Courses and training. Some businesses buy entire libraries for their employees, others create them on their own or compensate for part or full of the training cost. Compensation varies depending on the size of the business: small companies cannot afford to pay for an employee's MBA training, but can compensate for a course on Projector, SKVOT, or other program.
  • Mentoring programs (can be both in house and external). They help employees grow in a team, for example, from a junior specialist to a team lead.
  • Recreation, tourism, team building. Usually, organizations like to pompously celebrate the company's birthday (sometimes abroad), Halloween (with costumes, make-up, hosts and guest musicians or actors), and New Years (with DJs, Secret Santa and other amenities).

Now domestic companies are quite actively learning from the experience of foreign colleagues and enriching the conditions for cooperation with specialists with new approaches. These can be programs to restore mental health, hold coaching sessions, comprehensive programs to prevent burnout, programs for working with internal maturity, and the like.

«We organize lectures and master classes on topical health (physical and mental) themes and meetings with doctors (with professional reviews). In addition, there are fit-breaks with a professional fitness trainer that allow each employee to be relieved for 15 minutes, lighten the load and wind down, so that later they can start performing tasks with greater efficiency. This gave us the opportunity to also cut medical costs by 15%.»

Vladyslav Makhlai

Vladyslav Makhlai

Head of the Corporate Business Department at the insurance company TAS Life

What else do the companies offer?

Today's ambitious workers are hard to tempt with a salary or cash bonuses alone. Specialists expect companies to care for them, protect tne and be interested in their development. It is not for nothing that the profession of happiness manager—a specialist in creating the well-being and comfort of employees in the company—has already appeared.

Maryna Doroshenko, a leading marketing specialist at Lenovo in Ukraine, said that the company has long had an employee health insurance program. This year, the general manager added another cancer insurance package with a limit of $500,000 per person.

And the job search site Jooble encourage employees to pay attention to their mental health, therefore the company pays for 50% of psychotherapists' consultations, and also compensates for 50% of the cost of external specialized and non-core courses and foreign language courses.

But Epam provides employees with access to more than 6,000 courses and trainings in various fields, in particular, English language courses. Plarium allocates a personal budget for training. And Eleks provides free participation in conferences, expert seminars, mentoring and leadership programs, and provides scholarships for business education.

When a child is born, the company WePlay Holding allocates funds to support the family. As well as maternity leave for mother (after 9 months of working in the company) for 4 months, during which the company pays her the full salary of the employee. As part of the paternity leave, the father can agree with his manager a free work schedule and take three days of paid leave. Financial support is also provided to an employee whose first-line relative has died. And recently, the company introduced a donation bonus—the accrual of an additional day of paid leave.

The company Civilly provides an interest-free loan in case of emergencies. One can return the amount within a period that is discussed individually. An equally important motivation factor is the ability to get services provided by the company, from a design project to deliveries and works at prime cost.

Recently, the market has seen the practice of so-called baskets, in which an employee can add bonuses that are relevant specifically for him. How it works: the company X is ready to allocate $1,000 for corporate benefits for each employee. A person can choose services within this budget: insurance or free access to the gym, training, and the like. Each organization determines the budget and the list individually.

"We have created a system of internal achievements in the company that can be obtained from various specialists for a whole range of contributions and useful deeds performed both on projects and for the studio as a whole. Roughly speaking, one can express gratitude for the help on the project in the form of XX achievements, or the so-called points. The point has an equivalent in hryvnia. Each specialist has a personal account, where the accumulation of achievements goes. There is also an in-house store that brings together products and services from different areas of interest. For example, an employee can exchange achievements for an annual subscription to premium accounts of Youtube, Megogo, Spotify, Netflix, Glovo, various hiking outfits, household goods, laptop tables, sports accessories, etc."

Viktoria Nosenko

Viktoria Nosenko

CEO of animation studio WOW-HOW

Impact of the pandemic

Even greater concern for employees has become almost the main global trend with the advent of the pandemic. Previously, companies attracted and retained their employees, focusing on benefits within the office life. At the same time, many companies have become much more active in supporting their employees during COVID-19. Ukraine is no exception.

"Since the beginning of the national quarantine in 2020, we have introduced several programs for protecting and supporting employees that are still working. The company launched the DocOnline program (online consultations on coronavirus issues with a highly qualified infectious disease doctor), internal webinars with experts in different areas with the aim of increasing literacy and debunking economic and medical myths around the coronavirus.

We have also recruited a health specialist to the company who supports staff in all areas related to coronavirus and other wellness programs. We pay special attention to supporting women, as we believe that they are more affected by the consequences of the pandemic. We have recently launched a new health-improving project just for them—we presented our employees with Women's Health certificates to have several serious medical examinations."

Nadiia Omelchenko

Nadiia Omelchenko

Vice President of the company IT-Integrator

Today the struggle for employees between employers is continuing. Ukrainian companies are somewhat slower in responding to global trends, but they are also introducing useful initiatives for their employees. Of course, lockdowns have made their own adjustments, so opportunities are in demand that allow one to get the largest number of additional offers in the online format.

How overseas companies take care of their employees

According to the recruiter of the job search site Jooble Alona Zhyvets, companies abroad take such care of their employees:

  • Nvidia has allocated €500 to each employee to fit up a workspace at home. To maintain the corporate spirit, companies organize online events for employees with home delivery of gifts.
  • Airbnb provides pregnancy and childbirth leave of 10 weeks or more.
  • Apple offers generous maternity and parenting packages, as well as 18 weeks of maternity leave.
  • ThredUP switched to a four-day work week, while maintaining the same salaries; according to the company, the transition to a four-day working week has increased employee productivity.
  • Adobe provides employees with up to $5,000 a year in childcare costs. In addition, up to $1,200 a year is spent on reimbursing the costs of caring for children under the age of 13.


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