At a time when human resource management has become critical for national companies, a study carried out by Cetelem-BNP Paribas Personal Finance in partnership with NielsenIQ reveals that in addition to salary issues, skills development and career plans are considered some of the most important initiatives for promoting talent retention.

The study "Human Development, a Key Factor for Portugal's Success - The Contribution of French Companies" was first presented at the 8th Franco-Portuguese Economic Conference in February and recently released. The research was based on surveys carried out only among French companies in Portugal and citizens in the country. In total, 15 companies with 250 employees or more, ten with 50 to 249 employees, four with 11 to 49 employees and four with less than ten employees were covered. As for individuals living in Portugal, 1,000 people were interviewed, aged between 18 and 74.

The conclusions reveal that "when it comes to Human Development, Education, Teaching, and Training are top of mind words for the Portuguese, with 39% mentioning these terms when asked about the first three words that come to mind on the subject. This highlights the role and importance of education as a driving force in society. In Portugal, this has been a growing focus in recent decades," the document states. "Health and work are also important, but on a second level."

When it comes to practices for retaining talent in French companies, the most important tools, according to the survey, are feedback between peers and superiors (85%) and employee recognition (82%). The development of technical skills (76%) comes third, followed by social activities (73%), career development plans and opportunities (73%), and the promotion of work-life balance (69%).

"In addition to the digital/informatics skills that are now considered basic - and which in the recent past were considered distinctive - such as the handling of certain programs, there is a growing focus on soft skills, which are increasingly valued as a set of universal skills that translate into performance benefits, whatever the role. The ability to communicate (organization of speech, ability to summarize, clarity, persuasiveness), to listen to others (active listening) and to organize time are examples of areas that are being worked on a lot these days, and which require more technical learning. For hard or soft skills, training is undoubtedly a 'rising asset' in the labour market: companies believe in it as a means of personal and organizational development, but also as a privileged instrument for retaining and attracting talent," said Cristina Barros, Managing Director of IIRH-Instituto de Informa├ž├úo em Recursos Humanos, quoted in the research.

Although training is crucial for both companies and employees, when asked about the regularity of new skills training or retraining in their company, only 20% of respondents say they do it regularly and 49% occasionally.

Flexible working has also emerged as one of the most important issues for retaining talent in a company.

"Many of today's workers, having experienced a greater work-life balance or even developed new hobbies and interests, are now calling for the replacement of 'touchy-feely' management, centered on physical proximity, with a redesign of organizations and their policies and leadership that is more people-centered, flexible and empathetic," explained Filipa Castanheira, Associate Professor in Human Resources at Nova SBE and quoted in the study. "This was the trend we also found recently in a study carried out in partnership between Nova SBE and BNP Paribas as part of the Business Project of CEMS master's students. University students and workers from various Portuguese and international companies were surveyed and it was possible to identify a preference for hybrid working models, where they don't expect to go to the office to do activities that could be done from home."

The study also concluded that "working conditions are now an increasingly valued concept among employees, who look at benefits in a holistic way, with criteria that go beyond salary. Access to the company cafeteria (33%) and extra vacation days beyond the mandatory ones (31%) are the benefits at the top of Portuguese preferences, followed by health plans/insurance (20%)."

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