International studies link development opportunities with business outcomes, and companies are becoming increasingly aware that they need to offer such programs in order to have happier employees and post healthy results.

Anda Sebesi

 According to a study conducted by Gallup in 2014 and quoted by Smart Experience, seven out of ten employees do not feel they resonate with the organization they work for and feel unmotivated. This means additional costs of EUR 450-550 billion a year for the companies to cover their employees’ low level of productivity and foot the bill for their health problems, generated mainly by stress at work. In response to this, both worldwide and in Romania, more and more organizations are interested in wellbeing, a very wide concept that includes, among other things, development opportunities for employees.

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“Ever since the early ‘80s, we have known that when an organization’s employees are satisfied with the career and development opportunities available to them, client satisfaction levels are also high. The initial focus was to link development opportunities with business outcomes. Regarding organizational wellbeing, plenty of studies have made the connection between the two. It is now an accepted fact that employees’ development opportunities are critical for their wellbeing,” says Cristian Mihai, training academy director at CEB/SHL Romania. In this context, the OWB study conducted by Business Review with D&D Research and the Faculty of Psychology aims to check if Romanians are aware of the development opportunities that their company offers them and how these influence both individual and organizational wellbeing scores. When analyzing the data, the researchers will explore whether there are direct correlations between development opportunities and the other dimensions measured by the study, such as: Significance, Engagement, Job Satisfaction and Commitment to the Organization, which will help organizations identify the most impactful and relevant development programs and focus their efforts on that area.

As pundits say, today’s employees, from multinationals or large Romanian companies, are more interested in the opportunities that their organization offers, for both their personal and professional development. Proof of this trend is the number of firms that have implemented such programs. According to a wellbeing survey conducted earlier this year by Smart Experience, entitled Smart Experience: Methods of Non-Financial Engagement in Companies, the number of its customers has increased ten-fold since 2010 from 5 to 52 now. The study measured the top preferences for programs delivered and trends for the upcoming year.

“For example, I have never had more requests for self-knowledge programs in corporations as now. Two years ago for the first time I delivered a workshop about happiness for the finance team of a very large company. Scores of people attended it and it was something very special both for me and them,” says Alis Anagnostakis, trainer and coach and founder of Mind Learners.

According to her, there are already positive leadership training courses that help managers create an open mindset and a framework where their teams can be happy. “From mindfulness programs for employees to individual coaching and more flexible processes that enable individual initiatives and the introduction of ‘gamification’ systems within employees’ learning and development processes – are all courageous attempts to create a working environment where the individual can find joy and meaning,” says Anagnostakis.

As for the types of programs, Alecsandra Ionita, wellbeing specialist and CEO at Smart Experience, says that the study conducted by the company shows that half of its delivered programs come from the arts & hobbies field, including acting and improvising, painting, photography and cooking. “More than 50 percent of the employees engaged in the survey said that they wanted the same programs for the next year. So arts & hobbies will govern the corporate wellbeing industry in 2017, too.” Companies that have chosen Smart Experience as their wellbeing supplier come from industries such as IT & telecom, FMCG, shared services, banking, pharma, building and technology. The majority of its customers are multinational corporations and big Romanian companies.

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