It runs like a vertically rising startup. And in doing so it takes on at a frenetic pace. bitpanda, a company founded in 2014 in Vienna by Eric Demuth, Paul Klanschek and Christian Trummer, has grown from 200 employees a year ago to over a thousand. Online platform for investments, from cryptocurrencies to precious metals, with three million customers, is always on the hunt for managers, engineers, lawyers, programmers, analysts. To attract them, it has decided to focus on flexibility as well as on the salary level: for example, it offers unlimited annual holidays, in addition to two weeks with the obligation to disconnect, to the 20 of parental leave, the possibility of carrying out their task from anywhere up to 60 days a year. Benefits extended to all employees regardless of their role, level or country in which they live.
“During the pandemic, many people, working from the living room as well as from the kitchen, struggled to disconnect,” he says from Vienna Lindsay Ross. “This is why we experimented in 2021 a week in which the use of chats, emails and phone calls to colleagues was prohibited. In short, a break to recharge your energy that has now been institutionalized with two different ‘Recharge Breaks’ over the course of the year. “Ross, head of human resources at Bitpanda, Canadian by origin but in Europe since university, at 37 years old has to manage an increasingly large workforce, scattered between Vienna, Milan, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bucharest, Dublin, Krakow, London, Madrid and Zurich, which it is necessary to keep. A company that is expanding so rapidly it is competing with other companies that now hire anywhere, relying on remote work. This offers on the one hand a much wider pool of potential candidates, but on the other hand, however, requires new strategies to attract them and above all to convince them to stay. we must not mistake Bitpanda’s moves as futuristic.In the hi-tech sector, these are the new logics of the present.
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“Various realities are proposing days of total disconnection”, he comments Mariano Corso, professor at the Milan Polytechnic at the head of the Smart Working Observatory. “Even the unlimited holidays go in this sense: it aims at the objectives to be achieved and then you go on vacation when they are done. In theory, it could be said that old-fashioned pre-established holidays don’t make much sense: if workers enjoy autonomy and look at the results, breaks are taken when and where they prefer “.
From theory to practice, however, it passes and not only in the offices of traditional companies. Already in 2016, when Netflix was becoming a streaming service on a global scale, the multinational founded by Reed Hastings presented itself as a cutting-edge company that gave its employees the opportunity to take holidays when they preferred. “The best ideas come when you least expect them,” Hastings said, “especially if you’re on vacation.” Behind it were the mantras of the then HR director Patty McCord, put pen to paper in the document “Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility”. At the top was the demand for high performance, but in exchange for freedom of action, responsibility and high salaries. In a very competitive internal context, where above average results are expected, it is doubtful that few in the end dare to take holidays, ending up working all the time. Certainly when it happened that someone was no longer needed, or his commitment was no longer judged up to par, he was accompanied to the door. “Companies don’t exist to make you happy,” McCord used to say on those occasions. “The company doesn’t exist to serve you. The company exists to serve its customers.” But she too fell victim to her dictates and eventually got fired.
In reality happinesscontrary to what Patty McCord thought, it is the real keystone capable of attracting and keeping the best talents. It is a word that is rarely used in the workplace, especially in Italy, but which constitutes the most solid barrier, together with freedom and empowerment, to obtain the highest degree of productivity.
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They noticed it at Mays Business School in Texas where Anthony C. Klotz, professor of psychology of business organizations, he coined the definition “The great resignation”, the phenomenon of mass resignation that has recently appeared called by others “The big quit”. Which is by no means an American-only theme. The latest data from the Politecnico di Milano show 85% more resignations in early 2021 than in 2020. We are talking about a million workers. Of course, there was a pandemic, few dared to leave their jobs with the country immobilized by lockdowns. Yet it remains a large number. “In a rigid job market like ours, this is doubly significant”, explains Corso. “Discomfort is widespread and affects people’s effectiveness. People leave not for money but for a better quality of life”. In 2022, two out of three companies said there was an increase in the rate of voluntary abandonment. And those who stay often have little motivation and consequently low productivity.
“The idea behind large corporations, with career transitions based on rigid hierarchies, is starting to creak,” points out Lindsay Ross. “The pandemic has brought to light other values such as mutual trust, working in a structure that is less plastered and that rewards the ambition to try new things. If companies want to keep up with the times and have the best talent within them, they must adapt. “. The penalty is to lag behind by binding to an inevitable decline, even if it is by no means certain that the management will then notice it.