According to the findings of study “Companies reactions to COVID-19“, conducted by Mercer Marsh Benefits in Romania, more than half of the 160 companies that provided data stopped working in offices. 60% of companies have already applied the proposed salary increases for this year or will implement them soon.
The survey, conducted from April 1 to 10., summarizes the measures taken by organizations for employee safety, remodeling the workforce and adjusting the remuneration and benefits policy in the context of COVID-19.
What were the common measures implemented by companies to increase employee safety?
- All companies offered the opportunity to work from home, for the activities that allowed this measure.
- Almost all organizations (96%) canceled international trips
- 8 out of 10 companies have implemented additional measures for regular sanitation and cleaning of workspaces
- 8 out of 10 companies offered protective materials (masks, gloves, disinfectant gel) to employees
- 7 out of 10 companies canceled domestic trips
- 5 out of 10 companies changed their work schedule
- 4 out of 10 companies have implemented an alternative program, in teams, to reduce the density of employees in the workspace
“In crisis situations, the management of organizations must make the best decisions in a short time. Companies do not have time to waste to look for the best options. That is why risk consulting is crucial for companies. They must implement quickly, with the support of specialists, measures regarding the health, safety and productivity of employees, to take into account the change of the risk profile and to take adequate risk management measures. Always, employees must always be in the first place. March supports Romanian companies to prepare measures to better respond to the effects of COVID-19, to protect employees, operations and reputation, “said Cristian FUGACIU, CEO, Marsh Romania.
Silvia Dumitrescu, Manager, Mercer Marsh Benefits Romania, said: “Romanian companies have quickly adjusted their salary policies and the set of benefits granted to employees. We advise companies to already think about designing and adjusting measures for the near future.Currently, the measures taken are reactive, adapting to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies need to think strategically and design HR policies to resume activity in the new context of the pandemic recovery.”
How did companies change their remuneration and benefits policies?
About 60% of companies have already implemented the salary increases planned for this year or will implement them soon. A quarter of the organizations have decided to implement them in the second half of the year and are waiting on the background of the uncertainty given by the economic context. 17% of organizations plan to freeze salaries while 3% of companies consider decreases.
Among the companies that planned salary increases for the current year, the average increase for “Executives” and “Middle Management” is 5.2%, for “Specialists” 5.3% while for the roles of workers / administrative staff the increase is 5.8%.
The average salary decrease for companies that take this measure into account is 20% for all categories of employees.
Regarding the additional reward of the employees who continue to work at the companies’ headquarters and carry out essential activities, only 12% of the surveyed companies grant additional benefits or rewards for continuing the activity. Most of the companies kept the remuneration that the employees have, according to the individual employment contracts.
From the perspective of benefit packages, most companies do not want to make major changes in employee benefit plans. The most affected budgets are those allocated for training (42% of companies have reduced budgets, and 10% of companies have completely eliminated expenses) and teambuilding (30% of companies have reduced budgets while 36% of companies have eliminated these expenses). 9 out of 10 of the companies that granted these benefits continue to grant, without changing the budgets for, life / accident insurance, health insurance, private pensions and car service
7 out of 10 organizations have planned to maintain their current number of employees and are looking for solutions to achieve this. 15% of organizations want to increase the number of employees while 10% of them confirmed that they are considering reorganization in the next period
What benefits have become relevant in the context of COVID-19?
“In the work-from-home context, the benefits of wellbeing have become even more relevant. Against the background of the absence of direct interaction between employees, organizations have implemented measures to maintain a sense of team membership: online conferences to facilitate communication, constant information from management “says Gabriela Nechita, Talent Information Solutions Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits Romania.
“We have noticed an increasing appetite, in the current context, for the provision of employee assistance services EAP – Employee Assistance Programs. This type of service, which was already implemented in many organizations, offers employees the opportunity to contact anonymously psychological support to overcome the negative moments from the emotional point of view that she could go through during this period “, added Gabriela Nechita.
How were the companies affected by the temporary suspension of the activity?
Regarding the companies participating in the study that have temporarily suspended their activity or reduced their work schedule due to the imposition of social distance measures, 30% of them still pay employees at the same salary level, 14% of companies have reduced the level of salaries proportionally with the decrease of the number of hours worked and 20% of the companies implemented the technical unemployment in the conditions of the new provisions related to the State of Emergency. The rest of the companies mentioned that this measure does not apply to them.
The study was conducted between 1.04-10.04 and includes answers provided by 162 companies.