After Covid-19, Italian companies are investing more and more in welfare

After Covid-19, Italian companies are investing more and more in welfare

After Covid-19

According to the report by Generali Italia, 64% of companies have increased their investments. A choice that rewards the employment of young people and women

Marco Sesana (photo: Generali Italia) The number of companies that can offer employees high corporate welfare rises to 21% in Italy. More than double the number of companies that could guarantee the same standards just six years ago. This is what emerges from Generali Italia's 2021 SME Welfare Index, presented today by the CEO Marco Sesana. A research that involved six thousand small and medium-sized enterprises, from all production sectors: while 21% boasts high levels of corporate welfare, the commitment to provide personnel with protection has grown in 64% of SMEs since the last survey.

A decisive acceleration came with Covid-19 which pushed entrepreneurs to invest in the health sector, granting employees diagnostic services for the coronavirus (43.8%), medical consultancy services even at a distance (21, 3%) and new health insurance (25.7%). Due to the tight working activity, "greater hourly flexibility (35.8%) and new distance training activities (39%)" were given, as well as "temporary salary increases and bonuses (38.2%), aid for management of children and the elderly (7.2%) and for school (6.8%); but also contributions to the external community, such as donations (16.4%) and support for the health system and research (9.2%) ”.

Activities, the report reads, have now become “structural and permanent” for 42.7% of companies. And for the future, things could improve further: two out of three companies intend to strengthen their social commitment to workers (67.5%) and to external stakeholders, such as the territory and the production chain (63.1%).

For Sesana, corporate welfare “is strategic for the growth of businesses, but it will also be a lever for the sustainable recovery of the country”. And on the part of companies there is "more and more awareness" of its centrality, with SMEs that show themselves to be "dynamic: they represent a sector that has a great desire to restart", he said from the stage of the Eliseo Theater in Rome where it was presented research. “Companies - he added - use welfare to intervene on central issues of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, such as health, women and young people. They do not limit themselves to carrying out internal initiatives, but try to include and create value for suppliers and communities ", underlined the CEO of Generali Italia in a dialogue with the Minister of Labor, Andrea Orlando.

Attention of SMEs towards employees - said Sesana - "must be fed in coordination with public welfare" which will continue to maintain its centrality. Idea reinforced by Orlando. "The growth of corporate welfare - explained the minister - is constant and we must think about how to combine this development with a recovery of public investments". In a phase in which an increase in state spending is expected, driven by the economic recovery plans financed by the European Union, "corporate welfare - underlined Orlando - is asked to integrate better with public welfare which must return to have its strength: there is a great coordination problem that derives from great opportunities "and gives the opportunity to" think of welfare as a condition for increasing the country's competitiveness ".

Corporate welfare increases inclusion

Focusing on corporate welfare is also good for the inclusion of women and young people. According to the report by Generali Italia, the presence of women rises to 42% in the most active companies in welfare against the average of 32.5%, with 45.5% of women in positions of responsibility against the average of 36.2%. On the youth front, the data shows that over half of the SMEs most active in welfare have hired new workers (51.2% against the average of 39.8%), contributing to social mobility.

Among the six thousand companies surveyed by report 105 obtained the title of Welfare Champion 2021, winning the 5 W of the Welfare Index Pmi rating. In 2017, there were only 22 SMEs in the sample group. To be awarded companies "characterized by numerous initiatives in various areas of corporate welfare, high management skills and economic-organizational commitment and significant social impacts on communities inside and outside the company", reads the motivations. The companies, Sesana commented, have "acted as a social, as well as an economic and market entity, for their diffusion in the territory and for the proximity to workers and families, giving life to a new community welfare".

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