Corporate welfare as a means of increasing the welfare of businesses, people and the country

Corporate Welfare Lab

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SDA Bocconi's Corporate Welfare Lab presented the results of the report "Corporate Welfare: the strategy for corporate economic growth and employee welfare"

In its first year, SDA Bocconi's Corporate Welfare Lab organized an event to share and discuss the findings from the annual report "Corporate Welfare: the strategy for corporate economic growth and worker welfare.” The event featured professionals and special guests, and the focus was on the crucial importance of corporate welfare as a bridge between workers' expectations and companies' development strategies.

From this perspective, welfare not only contributes to improving the economic performance of businesses, but can also enhance people's quality of life by countering phenomena such as the Great Resignation and supporting parenthood; these are both issues that are also vital to the resilience and prosperity of the socioeconomic fabric of the entire country.

As SDA Bocconi Dean Stefano Caselli said, "We are a school of management: school means first and foremost 'community,' a group of people who interact and contribute their commitment and skills; management finds a deep correspondence in the concept of 'responsibility,' because it refers to taking charge of decision-making processes. These are the two souls of SDA Bocconi, and corporate welfare takes us in this direction. It is a bridge that connects very different people and gives value to human capital, an essential asset for any company that wants to grow and prosper."

Presenting the report, Corporate Welfare Lab Director Alberto Dell'Acqua also stressed that "Corporate welfare testifies to the great attention companies pay to workers and has its roots in historical cases such as those of Olivetti or Ferrero. Today, through our Lab, we want to give this issue an institutional connotation, studying it in a rigorous and detailed way. ESG issues are at the heart of corporate strategies and we need to be able to tell companies how to implement sustainable governance. In this sense, the S-variable, namely the social variable, is one of the most complex, and corporate welfare is one of the most effective tools for implementing targeted social responsibility actions. In particular, we have found that corporate welfare positively impacts 3 specific areas: the economic performance of the company, the ability to retain people in the company and hire new talent, and the employees' decision to become parents."

Following this, Paola Blundo, Corporate Welfare Director of Edenred Italy, added that "Corporate welfare is important because it puts people's needs at the forefront, and being able to measure its impact accurately is fundamental: in fact, it allows us to clearly understand how employees are doing and what they expect from the company. Moreover, it is a key issue especially for young people and women. Suffice it to say that 43% of women decide not to return to work after maternity leave. In this sense, we must not forget environmental sustainability as an indispensable factor for value creation and employee engagement."

The meeting was closed by a panel discussion titled "Welfare and the Benefits for Companies and the Country System," which featured prominent managers from some of the most relevant companies globally. Opening the discussion, Riccardo Donelli, People Transformation Partner at PwC Italy, noted that "To put corporate welfare into practice, one cannot ignore people's daily experience in the company. The 2020 pandemic has changed the priorities of workers around the world, who now more than ever want to do work that is rich in meaning and value. With this in mind, corporate welfare must be accompanied by initiatives aimed at consolidating and expanding the 'value package' that the company is able to offer its employees."

Next, Federica Di Michele, People & Culture Director of Coca-Cola HBC Italy, highlighted "The person-centric nature as a disruptive concept capable of rewriting the history of corporate welfare in Italy. This is because people's main need is to be heard. For example, at Coca-Cola voluntary focus groups have been held together with our people to co-design strategy for welfare plans in the company. Listening is the first step in putting ourselves in the shoes of employees and devising solutions that are truly useful for them."

Sonia Malaspina, Corporate Affairs, Communication & Sustainability Director of Danone Italia, also shared a crucial moment in the development of corporate welfare in our country: "In 2008, on the heels of the financial crisis, companies had no resources to give economic incentives to their people. As an alternative solution, corporate welfare was conceived and the first regulation on this issue was written. It was soon after used by Luxottica and was an example of great foresight. Personally, as soon as I arrived at Danone, I immediately focused on corporate welfare because it combines personal care and economic sustainability very effectively. And for me the key word really is 'care': our most important goal is to create a corporate culture based on the person and on taking care of all of their needs."

Finally, Luigi Fortuna, president of C.S.A.In. Italy, pointed out how "The payback for companies is very large in terms of corporate welfare. For example, sport promotes people's psychophysical health, decreasing levels of absenteeism due to illness or excessive stress. In addition, sports unites everyone regardless of hierarchies and roles, promoting inclusiveness, team spirit and the ability to collaborate towards a common goal."

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