A little while ago we decided to gift the ladies at HOOLOOVOO dresses by Aleksandra Lalic and we wrote a blog all about it (link). That was just a part of a wider program of benefits at HOOLOOVOO. Up until now we haven’t really spoken publicly about this but now we feel like well, why not?
We started out quite late with the formal work on company benefits, around May or June 2019. We had benefits before then – private healthcare insurance, swimming pool, gym, that kind of stuff… but we didn’t get down to the nitty gritty in an organized and strategic way.
We always delve on the same points. How to establish closer ties with our staff, how to provide and have them feel the absolute support of the company in matters which aren’t directly tied to work? Through benefits which are personal and designed for the individual. Around a year ago we sat down and began to work on this. The project was pushed by the boss who thought it was a super important step for HOOLOOVOO. Later on the whole project was put in the capable hands of Marija Janjic.
BENEFITS AT WORK (DURING WORKING HOURS) AND REAL LIFE BENEFITS
Regardless of the relationship between employee – employer by definition being somewhat tied to the 8 hours spent at work, the role of the employer can and should be much wider than that. Our program of benefits come from an angle of supporting employees in the time spent away from work.
During working hours, there’s really not much to think about – there’s the pool, gym, Sony PS, food and the like. That’s all cool and should be there, but they don’t have a fundamental, deep down value.
There are the more serious ones of course, for example the budgets for travel and education.
Nevertheless, the place where we can make a real and meaningful difference are the moments in life when things are hard or complicated, take time or are just simply too much hassle.
PROJECT BENEFITS PROGRAM
Vision – We want to tidy up the benefits program which will noticeably improve the private day to day lives of our employees.
With regards to the concept, we’ve decided on a few points which we firmly stand by, therefore we aim for benefits at HOOLOOVOO to be –
8 | Entirely thought up and developed in house. We want to be recognized by this, then there is not too much point in doing things that everyone else does. We’ll do that but go further.
We’ve divided the benefits into a few categories. In each one we’ve aimed to cover one aspect of private life. As we’re somewhat at the beginning the categories are quite dynamic. We keep adding new ones, occasionally change the names of current ones, but at the moment this is what we have.
Enjoying free time
Free time should be just that, free and spent well and enjoyed. Our small contribution to this cause –
Yearly holidays of a minimum 25 days. That’s a minimum, everyone gets that. Extra days are gained in a number of different ways. For instance –
- A recommendation earns one day. Somebody recommends us someone, we hire that someone, the first person gets an extra day.
- The time spent at HOOLOOVOO likewise is worth between one and three days.
- Single parents can count on an extra day as can people caring for an immediate family member with disabilities.
HOOLOOVOO weekend houses. A house, as a concept, is our kind of thing and so as an answer to this whole COVID-19 situation we’ve gone out and rented three weekend houses that our employees, on their own or with their families, can use for a break or remote work. Whatever and however they like be it nature, a garden, escape the city, it’s all good! One is on the Danube, one on the Drina, one is well a bit more….. on dry land!
Likewise, we’ve opened our own house at weekends. We’ve got a big garden with a pool and we thought it would be ok for people to come at the weekend, bring their kids or their friends and do whatever. Swim, sunbath, fire up the bbq because it’s safe and there’s no one around.
HOOLOOVOO takes you to concerts, the cinema and to the theatre. This is one of those benefits which are a small gesture to our employees through which we communicate our values system. We pick the interesting cultural events, get hold of the tickets and hand them to our employees. Amongst other things –
- Season tickets for philharmonia concerts, complete set of Exit Festival tickets. Now that everything is cancelled, there’s not much we can. It’s not our fault!
Phone a friend
The things when you call a friend for help, advice or a recommendation. Hey, do you know a good plumber, do you know where to buy winter tyres at a decent price? I’m going on a trip and have loads of stuff I’d take. do you have a roof box I can borrow? We want our employees to know that they can count on HOOLOOVOO for help.
Discount on Electrical goods. Someone wants to buy an appliance, we negotiate the best deal with the supplier.
Tyres for your vehicle. Discounted purchase, exchange and storage of tyres. A few locations for storage, handy and convenient for everyone.
Borrow from HOOLOOVOO. All those things you only need a couple of days a year, hence they’re expensive to buy. Employees can use them. So far we have –
- A roof box for cars. We have to thank Bole for this one. The time when he was on his way to Germany, let’s say we bought it for a reasonable price. Thule box.
- A Nikon Z6 professional camera.
- A Gopro for those who like extreme sports and those who want others to think they like extreme sports.
Let’s try and worry a lot less. These are the serious things – healthcare insurance and the like.
Custom – made health insurance package. Ophthalmological package because we look at monitors and it takes a toll on our vision. Physical therapy because we are seated and our spine takes the strain. Emergency dental treatment.
A detailed 32 points checkup – covering ophthalmology, dermatology, dentistry, E.N.T., mammography, prostate check, … We feel it’s important that each employee puts aside one day in the year to get checked up… Everything!
Discounts for services at certain health centers for us and our family members who are not insured and for services outside the insurance system.
One part of the No worries package was more important to us than the others. The package for soon to be mums and new mums. The idea was for a carefree pregnancy and a carefree few days once baby has joined us. This is what we’ve come up with.
- 100% paid maternity leave during pregnancy.
- 100% maternity leave post birth.
- Checkups during pregnancy covered by insurance.
- Paid stem cell storage.
- Paid apartment in hospital for the birth and three months care at home after the birth.
And another cool thing. If the wife of one of our colleagues becomes pregnant then she gets access to all the benefits, except the first two of course!
100% paid sick leaves up to six months.
Luxury is not in essence our thing, but when it’s toned down and stylish then yeah bring it on! OK, we know we’re not that modest, but luxury…
Dinner for two at Magelan restaurant. Fine dining. Every week one employee can go out to dinner with one other person. On us! The restaurant always promises a special evening and a culinary journey through their specialties. They’re yet to let us down!
Aleksandra Lalic (link) tailor made dresses for our ladies. Aleksandra is a local fashion designer and a delightful person.
Every team has 50€ per person per month to spend as they wish.
This is a special category. We’ve always had this one niggling question ! What if we grow, how do we develop in our growth, cause that’s how it goes, but not to lose ourselves. One of the answers to these problems came by creating autonomous teams where each team would be a little company, just like HOOLOOVOO in the beginning.
It seems that this way we’d be able to ensure that even with a large number of employees, people within their teams would have the feeling of working in a small company where they’re really close to their colleagues. To make the teams as independent as possible, even in a financial sense, this year we brought in team budgets. For every employee in a team we put aside 50 euros a month for the team to spend as they wish. Teambuilding, education, pocket the money, whatever. HOOLOOVOO doesn’t get involved!
We’ve developed the program and are still developing it by constant experimenting. We come up with ideas by analysing the needs of our employees. Every assumption is tested very early on, results measured and then improved further. In that sense, our benefits program is always developing and is dynamic. When, through some focus groups we established that healthcare benefits were the most important to people, we began to work on them. It takes a long time to put a proper healthcare packet together.
While we were working on them we didn’t take our foot off the peddle. We simultaneously started some other small simple ones – for instance, tickets for cultural and arty events.
We carefully chose the events, got hold of the first bunch of tickets, promoted the idea to the people and counted how many take up the offer and saw that the number wasn’t that small! We worked out what to improve and continued regularly to purchase tickets all the way up until Covid-19 came along and ruined the whole concept.
We have a similar approach to other benefits. We don’t delve on it too much… we decide if an idea is good or has potential, we test it out and see the reaction – go with it or leave it.
We started the work on benefits simultaneously from top down and bottom up positions. What remains is for us to conquer the middle! We’ve established the most important as well as those which are more gestures than essentially important benefits. Now we need to deal with the ones in the middle. Exactly what, how and which one, we still don’t know.
The stupid Corona Virus brought with it remote working. This will last. We’re keeping an eye on the challenges facing our staff when working from home and we’re trying to help solve any issues they may have. We feel that in the coming period the focus will be on these related benefits. Online classes, closure of nurseries/kindergartens and possibly new emergency measures. Let’s not tempt fate but we should be prepared.
During one of these studies we came up with the idea for the HOOLOOVOO weekend houses. We’ve testing the concept of HOOLOOVOO online schooling. It would help the children of our employees.
There’s also an idea for a HOOLOOVOO courier who would help our staff get hold of what they need.
We also had an idea to set up a few small satellite offices around town so that people could work there in small groups. In case of a new wave of the pandemic and strict measures they would still have access to an adequate working environment, to leave home and have contact with their colleagues and stay safe. We asked them and it was… Nah! Fair enough!