Most of the QWL agreements signed deal with the same major themes that are essential to the well-being of employees and central to the quality of life at work of employees. However, some issues are particularly important and are often mentioned in companies' QWL agreements, while others are mentioned on a much less important basis. As QWL is an increasingly important issue, companies are not hesitating to compete in terms of creativity and innovation in order to move forward in this direction.
The subjects most represented in QWL agreements
- Work organisation
This is undoubtedly the theme most often mentioned in the QWL agreements, and it concerns the reorganisation of work habits so that they are appropriate for employees. Today, with the health crisis, this issue is even more of a priority since companies are moving towards greater flexibility. As telework has become increasingly important in professional organisation, QWL agreements must be able to anticipate it.
- The content of work
QWL agreements can help to correct " anomalies " concerning the excessive amount of work done by certain employees or the diversification of tasks. Also, the QWL approach may have modified and improved the means made available for carrying out the work. It is also possible to cite an improvement in the clearness of instructions, autonomy at work or, in general, everything related to the content of work.
- Work-life balance
The balance between personal and professional life is a guarantee of the quality of life at work to be provided. Each employee has his or her own sensitivity and feelings on this issue, since some will accept a heavier workload if they have less personal consideration, while others will consider it essential to have more time for themselves. QWL agreements must be flexible, adapting to each profile and listening to employees. Certain adjustments, particularly in terms of working hours and teleworking, can be made.
- Prevention and awareness of PSR
Psychosocial risks are defined as risks to the physical and mental health of employees. Preventing and anticipating them is a key issue, as there is often a tendency to deal with PSRs once they have been suffered by the employee. There is therefore a need for in-depth awareness-raising and measurement of PSR in companies before a critical and widespread situation arises.
- Relationships at work
Relationships at work are one of the determining factors of well-being at work, and the role of managers is to facilitate working relationships. The majority of QWL agreements provide for improvements in this area, in particular by increasing the amount of time for exchanges inside and outside the company, mediation processes in the event of conflict or the improvement of collaborative tools.
The subjects that are less present in the agreements
- The work environment
Contrary to what one might initially think, the modification of the working environment is not so central in the QWL agreements of the majority of companies. As the working environment includes both material and human conditions, it is a rather vague notion, especially as human conditions are very often at the heart of the concerns. Thus the material aspect of the working environment, such as offices, lighting, office equipment or workspaces, is not often mentioned in QWL agreements.
- Gender equality
It is surprising to note that despite a subject that is so debated (and rightly so) and so present in every part of society, the subject of gender equality is not central to the QWL agreements. According to qualisocial, which analysed nearly 15 QWL agreements signed by large companies, the subject of gender equality is present in only 27% of cases. Equality between men and women at work should concern salaries, working hours, access to leave, development within the company, the fight against discrimination and aggression.
- Personal development
Personal development is by definition centred on the employee, his or her personality and professional skills, it ensures well-being as a person and aims to make the individual progress both at work and in his or her intrinsic qualities. The company also has much to gain from it, as it promotes creativity and will motivate the employee on a daily basis. Thus, personal development could be much more present in QWL agreements because it helps to avoid conflicts and to bring satisfaction and happiness to the employee, which guarantees better productivity.
Some examples of innovative QWL agreements
There are thousands of company agreements, but the most innovative QWL agreements are often those of companies with many employees, with different levels of management and therefore many challenges in terms of mobilising employees and improving their quality of life at work. One example is L'oréal, which, in its QWL agreements, promotes the work/life balance of its employees. The company has launched an internal common pot system that allows employees to give their days off to those who need it most (illness, children, etc.). For its part, the company Doctolib, which has never been so much in the news, aims to promote the well-being of its employees. The start-up has therefore created the "Doctolib academy" which allows each new employee to be trained for one month. In addition, each employee is the subject of a career plan with real personal development objectives.
Danone's QWL agreements define the 5 essential pillars of QWL in the company, which are: valuing daily work, healthy and efficient ways of working, ensuring a sustainable work pace, attentive management, and a healthy and pleasant work environment.