Since 1 January 2023, Raiffeisen employees have been entitled to one bonus day of leave per month, called Quality Time.
The concept: an extra day off each month
The concept is simple: each employee is entitled to eight hours of additional free time per month. This can be taken in one day or two half days. But unlike official leave, Quality Time cannot be accumulated and is lost if not used during the current month. The aim is really to have an extra day to “balance private and professional life,” explains human resources director Laurent Derkum.
Six months after the launch, Derkum’s assessment is “positive.” 80% of the workforce use it regularly. There is a balance between “departments, ages, managers and non-managers, head office employees and branch employees.”
“No major problems have arisen in the general organisation of work.” Out of 669 employees, only two have had their Quality Time withdrawn for a period of six months, as they were unable to organise their tasks or achieve their objectives.
How much does this cost the company?
“If everyone takes advantage of Quality Time every month, there’s a 5% reduction in hours worked. But I think that’s far too simplistic a calculation,” replies the HR director. Because “we haven’t reduced either the individual objectives or those of the bank as a whole,” he explains. “So it’s up to employees to reorganise their tasks, improve their productivity and change their priorities.”
What’s in it for the company?
Team managers point to “a positive impact on the availability, commitment and flexibility of employees, resulting in improved productivity, which has yet to be fully assessed.” Applicants are aware of the initiative and mention it during job interviews.
To put a figure on its impact, we could talk about the turnover rate, which has fallen from 12.57% in 2021 to 9.01% in 2022 and then 3.29% at 30 June 2023. “So, if we calculate from now until the end of the year, we should be looking at around 6.5%.” However, it is difficult to say whether this reduction is the result of Quality Time or other factors.
The same applies to absenteeism, which fell by 35% in the first six months of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022. “We have to take into account the particular context of 2022,” which was still marked by covid.
What conclusions can be drawn?
“Overall, we can say that our initiative has achieved its objectives and ticked all the boxes,” says a delighted Derkum. He believes that it is increasingly necessary to think “out of the box” at a time “when there is a lot of talk about health and well-being at work.” He describes his project as “extremely motivating,” even if it requires “a solid dose of courage and a real sense of risk-taking to get started.”
Other well-being measures
In addition to Quality Time, employees have flexible working hours. Residents (79% of the workforce) are also entitled to 100 days of teleworking per year, while cross-border commuters must respect the tax limit of 34 days per year. As of 1 July, the bank has five satellite offices for cross-border commuters, and plans to open a sixth by the end of the year.
This article was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.