The implementation of measures to promote the quality of life at work (QWL) of employees is a subject that will be very relevant in 2021. They offer companies very interesting opportunities for development and performance.

However, QWL still faces many obstacles. Many company managements are reluctant to implement a quality of life at work project. There are also companies that are confused and do not know where to start.

Together we will see how to convince management to commit to a QWL approach. We will also detail the different steps to follow in order to plan the company’s strategy and make it effective. But first, let’s take a closer look at the quality of life at work.

What is a QWL approach?

That’s an excellent question!

A QWL approach is a collective company project. It aims to improve the quality of life at work of the various players in the organisation. But beware, the actions linked to this type of project are numerous. They can also be very diverse. It is therefore very easy to get confused.

In France, the majority of the quality of life at work projects in companies do not succeed. Several common mistakes can explain these failures. These include:

  • Initiatives that do not correspond to employees’ needs.
  • Disjointed and discontinuous projects.
  • Companies that want to obtain immediate benefits.

Implementing such a business project is not a snap. It is a long and continuous process. It involves all the players in the company and is based on improving the quality of life at work.

Better understanding quality of life at work (QWL)

Quality of life at work is an HR innovation. It officially came into being in 1993 thanks to the work of the World Health Organisation (WHO). But it was not until 2013 that the first definition of this concept appeared. The 2013 National Interprofessional Agreement (ANI) defines QWL as:

The conditions in which employees perform their work and their ability to express themselves and act on the content of their work determine the resulting perception of the quality of working life.

The quality of life at work is therefore a collective company initiative. Its implementation responds to a number of challenges:

  • Digital transformation
  • Health and safety at work
  • Employee loyalty
  • The professional commitment of employees
  • Improvement of working conditions…

It is a global and strategic approach of the company which aims at analysing real work situations in order to improve them. It takes into account numerous indicators such as work organisation, absenteeism, and time reconciliation.

Finally, it includes all the actors of the company in order to reinforce the professional commitment of the employees.

A universal approach?

Yet it is not uncommon to hear the following objections from company management:

“It’s not our priority at the moment”.

“We don’t have the budget for this type of project.

“Is this really effective?

Don’t panic, we’ll give you the keys to overcoming these “excuses”.

3 arguments in favour of a QWL approach

Groupe de travail démarche QVT

In order to convince your management to commit to a quality of life at work approach, it is very important to speak the same language. Present your project using figures.

The cost of unhappiness at work and absenteeism

A company’s payroll is very often treated as a fixed cost. It corresponds to the sum of all the gross salaries and wages paid during an accounting period. In order to make management aware of the importance of implementing a QWL approach, it is necessary to present this expense in a completely different light.

The company’s employees are not just a gross payroll (an expense), they are the driving force of the organisation. If this engine is not well oiled, it can have direct and indirect costs through absenteeism and unhappiness at work.

The average annual cost of absenteeism in France is €3500 per employee. Work-related ill-being has been evaluated at €14,310 per employee per year in the private sector in 2020 (Mozart Consulting/ APICIL).

These two variables, therefore, have important consequences on the performance of companies. Indeed, an absent employee entails management, replacement or social costs for the employer.

By putting in place concrete QWL agreements and actions, the company will choose to favour prevention over cure. It will therefore greatly reduce the expenses linked to turnover, absenteeism, and ill-being.

Improving working conditions is a competitive lever

The quality of life at work makes it possible to improve the working conditions of employees. This may still seem surprising to some, but it is a real competitive lever.

Companies that have chosen to put people at the heart of their strategy find that this allows them to develop a strong and sustainable employer brand. As a reminder, the employer brand corresponds to all the attributes and characteristics of a company in its employer dimension.

It is precisely this employer brand that enables companies to stand out from their competitors. Indeed, the more one creates an environment of “well-being”, based on the quality of life at work, dialogue and trust, the easier it is to attract talent and retain employees. Employees become ambassadors for their organisation.

Committed employees improve company performance

A strong QWL policy attracts and retains talent. But it does not stop there. It limits PSR and occupational risks. But above all, it enables employees to be professionally committed.

Commitment is the degree of personal involvement of employees in the success of a company. It is therefore a major component of a company’s performance.

A company that is committed to the quality of life at work offers to mean to the work of its teams. Professional commitment is linked to the meaning given to individual work and to the company’s raison d’être.

If employees feel recognised, listened to, autonomous, and expected, then they will be committed. Moreover, favourable working conditions and moments of sharing will encourage employees to flourish. And this will be reflected in operational performance. QWL is the most powerful lever for competitiveness (see: The Factory study).

The 3 stages of a successful QWL approach

Now that your management is convinced of the benefits of a QWL approach, it is time to take the plunge. But where to start?

Discover a 3-step method for building your action plan.

1. Take the pulse of your company

Who better than your employees to guide you in your approach? Listening is a major feature of the success of your project. Take the pulse of your company with the help of your employees. Ask them questions to understand how to improve their quality of life at work and take stock of the situation.

Ask your employees

As with the implementation of a QWL approach, there is no universal recipe for surveying your employees. However, the size of your company can determine the way in which you ask for feedback from your employees. Ideally, you should survey all your employees. Many formats can be used:

  • Individual or group interviews
  • QWL surveys or digital surveys

At Teamii we recommend QWL surveys and digital surveys. Indeed, they are very easy to use and above all anonymous. Anonymity is very important to collect the opinion of your teams. It allows you to free up the floor and make you aware of your employees’ expectations.

Take stock of the situation

Feedback on your employees’ satisfaction and well-being at work is very important for your company. They allow you to map your constraints and opportunities in terms of quality of life at work.

This assessment can be done at the global level of the company. But it can also be done by department, age, and hierarchical level. It will be very useful for identifying your action levers and for selecting and prioritising your next actions.

2. One project, several chantiers

Quality of life at work is a multi-faceted field. It includes many dimensions such as:

  • Health and safety at work
  • Working conditions
  • Work/life balance
  • Management
  • Relationships at work

That can be a lot of projects to manage at once. You will therefore have to organise yourself and decide on your priorities. And yes, as you have understood, quality of life at work is a long-term project. You can’t do everything at once.

Prioritise your actions

With the help of your inventory, you have access to a lot of information. This information is a goldmine for your company. You are now in a position to better understand the expectations of your employees. You will have to prioritise them. But how do you do this?

First of all, you need to list the issues encountered by your teams and sort them out:

  • What issues do they address?
  • Are they global or internal to a department or team?

Then you need to assess the urgency and status of each issue to see what your priorities are.

Secondly, you need to find solutions. The idea is to come up with concrete initiatives to respond to urgent situations. These responses must be sought collectively. That is, with the company’s stakeholders.

Prioritise your actions according to the quality of the solutions found collectively:

  • Do the answers provided correspond to the employees’ expectations?
  • What is their cost (money, time, resources, etc.)?

Using this method, some projects should stand out. This is where your action plan should start.

Organise your strategy

The initiatives prioritised in the previous step should be accompanied by an action plan and defined resources. In order to carry out your business strategies, you need to set up working groups including the different stakeholders.

Let’s say you want to implement a company-wide project to improve working conditions.

You need to:

  • Select a project leader and the different members of the working group. These should be from all departments and hierarchical levels of the organisation.
  • Define a clear and structured action plan. The best way to do this is to use SMART objectives.
  • Create monitoring indicators and a dashboard.
  • Monitor the progress of the project and the improvement of working conditions.

Now that you have all the elements at your disposal: it is time to take action!

3. Take action and make your approach sustaianble

With so much information, we hope we haven’t lost you. Don’t panic! Let’s summarise everything we have just seen in order to launch your QWL process:

Step 1: Listen and ask for feedback from your employees. This is the most important step. It allows you to understand the obstacles and opportunities in your company with regard to the quality of life at work.

Step 2: Determine the priority projects to be carried out to improve the quality of the working life of your teams. This step is based on the urgency and seriousness of the situations encountered.

Step 3: Create collective project groups to carry out your action plans. It is essential to use performance indicators to monitor the evolution of the responses provided to your employees.

In order to sustain your approach, it is essential to return regularly to step 1. This is the best way to analyse the evolution of your employees’ well-being and satisfaction. It also allows you to adjust your measures over time according to the observations.

If you are looking for the ideal partner to accompany you in your QWL approach, Teamii is there for you. We help you to pilot the employee experience and to improve the quality of life at work within your company.

Our QWL approach has been conceived to make all the employees participate to develop collectively a fulfilling, engaging, and performing experience. Our QWL solutions allow you to evaluate the quality of life at the work of your teams on a regular and anonymous basis.

 

Conclusion: 

Quality of life at work is an HR and managerial innovation. It allows us to put people back at the heart of the company to build a fulfilling and sustainable future. It should not be considered as an ideal but as a real return on investment. It is a strategic and collective company project.

By basing your speech on figures, it will be easier to convince your management to adopt a quality of life at work approach. Beware: each QWL approach must be unique and adapted to your company.

Your QWL approach must follow three stages. First, you need to interview your employees to understand where to act. Then you need to prioritise your actions. Remember that you cannot do everything at once. Finally, you need to take action.

Offering your employees working environments where well-being and fulfillment are the norms will bring many benefits. Indeed, QWL helps to combat absenteeism, build employee loyalty, increase productivity, attract the best talent and engage employees over the long term.


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