We are all ready to be back in “precedented” times, as the past few years have been nothing but a test of our resilience across all facets of our lives.
The labour market has faced its own unique roller coaster as the “unprecedented” became the new normal, starting with a wave of lay-offs and high unemployment, but with a recent twist in unemployment rates dropping to an all-time low in United States (4.6%) and EU (6.3%) markets, while other markets such as South Africa continue to struggle with high unemployment rates (32.6%). Oddly, in both low unemployment and high unemployment bands, job seekers are experiencing less competition. The number of people who voluntarily leave a position has increased, signaling job seekers are looking for more within their careers than simply great salaries and career growth. Company culture and intangible aspects of work are becoming key differentiators in the recruiting market.
People are feeling optimistic about their career opportunities, but what does this mean for employers and how they attract and, most importantly, retain staff?
One element of staff retention that has been widely spoken about as a key differentiator, particularly due to the great resignation and pandemic burnouts, is holistic well-being and offering career opportunities that incorporate a good work-life balance. Many companies, globally, are taking action to address these issues at a company level, but even government regulation has begun to take shape to address this wide-spread concern. Portugal introduced a new labour law that prevents employers from contacting employees outside of working hours. It will be interesting to see if greater impact results from a wide legislative action, or whether it is from within companies driving key changes to reduce burnout rates.
At SAPRO, the leaders have chosen a proactive approach to take action and identify ways to support their employees through diverse benefits, services, and value-based support systems. “Having had first-hand experience in feeling burnt out, coupled with managing a team working in a sector where burnout was prevalent long before the pandemic, means we have spent an inordinate amount of time ensuring programmes and the specific benefits we offer are tailored to accommodate the wellness needs of our employees,” says Andre Bredell, Head of Success at SAPRO.
SAPRO has made a commitment to their employees to put holistic well-being at the centre of every decision they make. Employee's holistic well-being makes up one of five core values from the Employee Value Proposition that SAPRO has developed, and it is with these guiding principles that SAPRO is able to deliver on their promise and prioritise employee well-being and personal growth together with career and technical skills development.
SAPRO’s goal is to find those, both entering and already within the accounting space, who are open to adventures and looking for a career that will allow for a higher purpose of building better futures for others. “Our employees work on a variety of audit and financial skills through engagements all over the world, both in-person and remotely.” There are two main time periods for employees— during an engagement and in-between engagements. The period during an engagement can involve long hours and tight deadlines which we know traditionally can result in feelings of burnout. This, coupled with the impact of remote working, means SAPRO’s dedication to their people, and keeping company culture and their values alive is of paramount importance.
Having had a long tenure with SAPRO and in his role as Head of Success, Andre and his team are challenged with ensuring employees have the required technical skills, are properly onboarded to each engagement, and are armed with the personal development and communication skills needed to enjoy their career adventure, grow, develop, and maintain a good work-life balance.
“We genuinely care, and we aim to prove it in our actions. We value and support our physical, mental and emotional well-being,” says Andre. “These filter down throughout my team and how they interact with the teams they are managing.”
Andre himself experienced the depth of SAPRO and its leaders’ genuine care and dedication to well-being during a very trying time of turmoil, family loss, and illness over the past year. During this time, Andre’s leaders and colleagues ensured he had the support to take all the time off he needed to mourn and recover. The founders and Co-CEO's of SAPRO reached out directly to stay connected and check in on Andre and his family throughout this time.
“It’s hard to put into words how genuine the level of care we received was,” Andre reflects. The support he and his family received has aided Andre in transferring this level of support and care to those within his own team.
“One of our primary goals is to leave a proud legacy where our employees feel cared for, appreciated, engaged, supported and well-remunerated with real career prospects and life changing adventures,” concludes Andre. He continues his work guiding SAPRO employees, with a renewed passion for paying it forward in ensuring each team member experiences the same level of support for their own holistic well-being throughout their journeys.
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