Why choose ifeel to take care of your team?

Javier Sordo Gómez, Head of People at Thoughtworks

With over 17 years of experience in HR, primarily in the technology sector, my main objective is to ensure a safe, diverse, and thriving environment where people can feel supported, free, and empowered to reach their full potential.

What is Thoughtworks, how has it been/ have you experienced its evolution in recent years, and what actions have been implemented by HR to take care of its employees?

At Thoughtworks, the starting point is that we listen to our employees first (the thoughtworkers, as we call ourselves internally). All the changes implemented by the People team are based on knowing what people need. There is no point in thinking that you will implement a benefit that the management or human resources team thinks is fantastic but not valued by the workforce as a whole. In these years we have done many things to listen to our people, among them the usage of a flexible benefits system with our partner Cobee, the implementation of the possibility of working remotely permanently from anywhere in Spain, providing economic support to work from home, before the implementation of the new remote work law or investing in emotional support through ifeel.

What led Thoughtworks to choose ifeel to care for its employees’ emotional well-being? 

Emotional well-being and mental health is not a taboo subject. At Thoughtworks, we address it and talk about it very openly from the day someone joins the company. In fact, both locally and globally, we have had very active communities covering mental health as an element of a person’s well-being, both personally and professionally, for many years. 

Before ifeel came into our lives, we had another company operating this space. However, it was much more limited and with a low usage level. During the pandemic, our partners asked us to approach the issue more holistically and align with our values to best support our diverse community. After a lot of research, we finally came up with ifeel, which was a perfect fit for our needs.

What role do you think emotional salary plays in attracting and retaining talent and is there a relationship between team well-being and productivity?

I have always thought that limiting a person’s remuneration to purely economic matters has little value. Caring for the people who work with you is something much broader. I am sure that when issues such as a safe and inclusive work environment, the possibility of growth and development, involvement in decision making, flexibility – in its broadest sense – or collaborative work is where a company stands out.

Ensuring professional and, if possible, personal well-being is absolutely critical. I personally could not work in a place where this was not a priority.

For me, having a good balance in that sense is more than 50% of the job. You can have the most incredible and most attractive work challenges. Still, it won’t do you any good if you don’t foster an environment where people feel supported in difficult times, both professionally and personally. Your company has to be there for you.

Have you encountered any particular challenges in fostering a healthy work environment at Thoughtworks and other companies?

It’s truly the most supportive and collaborative environment I’ve ever seen. In my professional experience, I have encountered everything from companies with a great work environment to others where certain toxic behaviors created a bad environment.

Thoughtworks is an incredibly diverse company in every way. Indeed, the most diverse I have ever worked for

The latter is what needs to be tackled at the root in any organization, preventing it from contaminating the rest and sending a clear message of what is acceptable and what is not to create a safe environment.

Finally, according to your expertise, what is your outlook on the evolution of employees’ occupational health care in organizations in the coming years?

I believe that companies have traditionally approached health with a classic vision focused on medicalization, for example, by offering health insurance to their employees. This is, of course, important, but it is not the complete package.

In addition to encouraging safe environments, free of tension and unnecessary stress, companies can provide their employees with other tools. From solutions focused on mental well-being such as ifeel to offering healthy options to your employees, from the food you offer in your offices to discounts or subscriptions that encourage physical activity or self-care. 

Isolated solutions are of little value without first looking at the bigger picture and understanding employees’ needs. Without a doubt, it is the day-to-day, the culture, and the values of a healthy environment that guarantee success.

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