Minsk, Belarus – In a tough economy, Belarus’ employers run the show. This means that the number of dismissed employees in Belarus is currently considerably higher than the number of newly-hired employees. For example, in January 45,000 people were fired but only 37,000 were hired. At the same time, a new trend can be seen: more and more companies are trying to negotiate with their employees and find new ways and opportunities to work together, without resorting to the final measure of termination.
Flexible salaries, not fixed salaries
During the 2008 crisis, many companies immediately embarked on drastic layoffs, even before business volumes had started to fall. In March 2009, many companies tried to hire personnel, but found that they had to offer higher salaries, says Lola Trapsh, Country Manager for Belarus at Pedersen & Partners. These days, companies are more cautious about reductions in headcount. They estimate the personnel numbers that will be necessary for a certain volume of work. Many companies are starting to renegotiate the employee-employer relationship.
According to the official statistics, only 5% of employees in Belarus are dismissed for reasons related to the crisis: layoffs, bankruptcy or liquidation of the company, with 25% leaving by mutual agreement. The experts say that this fact confirms that workers and employers know how to negotiate.
The most common negotiation points are financial: the level and structure of remuneration, the payment of various bonuses and so on. One notable trend is the shift from fixed to flexible remuneration. Where we previously saw compensation consisting of 80% fixed salary and 20% bonuses and allowances, we are now seeing the opposite: 20% fixed and 80% bonuses.
At the same time, the qualifying criteria for obtaining bonuses are becoming very creative and multi-stage, with employers working to engage employees in the processes of making profits and achieving results. It is very important to fix all of these criteria in the regulations in written form, says Daria Zhuk, Belarus Managing Partner of the international law firm COBALT.
Let’s work from home!
To retain employees, employers often need to provide enhanced working conditions or new opportunities within existing positions.
The 2014 changes to the Belarus Labour Code have clarified the rules related to working remotely. Many Belarusian employers are now actively enabling their employees to work remotely from home, Daria Zhuk continues. Working from home benefits both the employer and the employee, and the Labour Code now permits employees to combine several positions during a full-time workday.
Today, many companies are also practicing internal redeployment, moving a redundant employee to another job in the same organisation. “Belarusian employers are also willing to retrain employees, in order to apply their new skills internally or release them to the labour market in a stronger position. This is a new, Western concept,” concludes Lola Trapsh.
Pedersen & Partners is one of the fastest-growing, fully integrated Executive Search firms worldwide; it is 100% owned by its partners who all work full-time to serve its clients. The firm celebrated its 15th anniversary in January 2016, and to mark this occasion, it has created a timeline web page, featuring key milestones for the firm’s development and has released an anniversary video.
Lola Trapsh is the Country Manager for Belarus at Pedersen & Partners. Before joining the firm in 2010, Ms. Trapsh built a strong career working on both the HR Management and Executive Search functions in various senior level positions. Prior to joining the firm, she was the Director of another Executive Search firm in Belarus.
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