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ITW Delphine Delaunois: The challenges of the QWL approach in companies

By June 6, 2019 December 13th, 2019 No Comments

Reading time: 8 min

“Economic health and well-being of employees are intimately linked” (Delphine D.). Delphine is a committed entrepreneur who has opened a unique place to come out of her box to create new synergies of work: Oobee. She has been conducting individual and collective coaching activities since certification as a professional coach. (GEM)
Like Delphine, we are convinced that well-being at work and quality of life at work are today major factors in the success of a company. We had the chance to meet her and we spent a lot of time talking about these fascinating topics.
To complete our series of expert interviews, we share with you these exchanges where Delphine gives us her vision of QWL and the implementation of such an approach.

We Ad: What is QWL? What does acronym QWL mean?

Delphine: behind the acronym QWL (quality of life at work) we find in my opinion a set of measures. It is also to ask the question of the place of the human within the company: how to take into account the human at the center of the company? How to put the human in the center of the company, and put the company as a “social” object, that is to say in the service of humanity and not only in the service of profitability.
In the QWL, it is considered that health and well-being will enable the company to perform well. It is taking into account the indicator of well-being of employees as an indicator of good health of the company.
Finally, there are plenty of topics around the quality of life at work: taking into account the workspace, taking into account the habits and ways of working of each. Then, it is a question of adapting the managerial practices by accompanying the collaborators, by giving them the possibility of training and evolving for example.
What is certain is that each of us has needs to feel good in the company and in particular: the recognition of his work, the intrinsic equality of each one, or the possibility offered by the company of to be able to evolve, to take initiatives or to have a certain degree of autonomy in his position.

We Ad: What are the issues of quality of life at work?

Delphine: First of all, there is a legal obligation and it is true that speaking of QWL and well-being one is in a legislated field especially since the recognition of the psychosocial risks in company.
Simply today, the company has the obligation to take care of its employees.
After, beyond the bond aspect, these are topics that have a strong impact on the image of the company and especially for the employer brand. Indeed, there is a real challenge to implement QWL policy to attract new talent as well as to retain its employees.
There are, moreover, new labels related to this and that make a bit of a buzz: “great place to work” is one to quote a relatively well known. The interest is obviously to be able to be identified, to adopt a human positioning and thus to be able to recruit more easily.

We Ad: What are the steps of a quality of life at work?

Delphine: It depends on what level the company wants to engage and invest in these topics. There are indeed groups that have already understood the issues, especially the inverted pyramid. That is, understanding that the well-being of employees creates customer satisfaction both internally and externally and thus drives business performance. I am deeply convinced of the effectiveness of such a paradigm.
It is important to know in advance what is the company’s desire to implement a QWL approach that is above all sincere. Indeed, the quality of life at work is not just a break room or foosball in a room, it goes further, the company must really ask how it can take sincerely care of its employees.
Afterwards, it must be said that it is relatively simple, it often starts with daily attention to build benevolence in relationships by making constructive feedback. This is a lot of common sense and also a corporate culture that wants to make human relationships a priority.
In fact, I would say that the quality of life at work is very much linked to interactions. We are constantly interrelated with each other, the quality of life at work also comes from the creation of links between each and the quality of these interactions creates a fertile ground for the establishment of a climate of trust, good team cohesion. It is therefore interesting for companies to work on the quality of their interrelations so that each employee can feel good about his workplace.

We Ad: What tools are part of a QWL approach?

It starts with diagnostic tools. The diagnosis is very important because you have to ask the right questions:
What is the state of play with regard to QWL (implementation of indicators, barometers …) of the company and what objectives for tomorrow? Where do we want to bring his company, ie what direction do we give to the implementation of QWL?
What do we want to drive with this approach? For the company and for the employees?
What do we mean by: quality of life at work?
How do we want to involve employees in the implementation of this approach?
During this diagnosis, we must also examine all of our ecosystem by identifying the needs of each, to define and set objectives adapted to its structure and its market.
It should be known that a quality of life at work approach lies in many aspects so it is difficult to say that there are specific tools. There is a whole range of tools to select according to the company and its objectives. It is actors like you who are positioning themselves in the sector by offering concrete tools such as barometers, satisfaction surveys that can help the company to co-build its approach.

We Ad: Who carries the QWL approach internally?

Delphine: I want to say that the company is in a global ecosystem with internal and external collaborators, customers and suppliers. This whole ecosystem must move in the same direction. Stakeholders interact and share information so that there is overall buy-in to the QWL approach. In this case we speak of the system of attentions or the symmetry of attentions: how does what happens internally reflect itself externally?
This concerns the entire ecosystem, however I remain convinced that the will comes a lot from the leader.
The leader must be at the origin and carry the project of transformation of the company. It takes a leader to take the subject head to head.
The more this topic is taken up in the company, the more it will have an impact for the implementation of the policy in a generalized way in all services. This facilitates adherence and adoption as well as homogeneity of positioning and chosen discourse.
There may be micro-initiatives at the origin that can resonate throughout the company. I believe in it, but less so with regard to real commitment on the part of the management committee and the leaders.

We Ad: Indeed in general it comes from the leader and the hierarchy but it seems to me that it also comes a lot of external factors with more and more demanding customers for example.

Delphine: Yes, in this case we talk about societal norms and obligations and have influence on the market. It is true, today many initiatives are born consumers who are more and more sensitized, responsible and demanding.
Many news has shown how customers can change the behavior of some companies. There are also labels as we mentioned earlier.
On the other hand, with these external factors, one remains only with the intention of meeting a norm, an obligation. I think that the reaction to an external factor is not enough, it must have a real resonance internally accompanied by an awareness, a will and concrete actions, because finally it is not only communication, notations or labels.

We Ad: What are the main benefits of a quality of life at work in business?

The benefits are direct, especially in terms of costs. Indeed, studies have shown the hidden and indirect costs of absenteeism, turnover, sick leave, recruitment process, loss of information …. *
An employee or employees who are not well in the company, this represents a significant cost to the company.
And it seems obvious that the quality of life at work has a positive effect on these various factors. (less absenteeism, better health, loyal and productive employees …).
The benefits are major in terms of cost, but also in terms of image for the company.
* Source on hidden costs:

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We Ad: We will stay on this positive touch even though we could talk about these topics for hours. Do you have just one last message that is important to you and that you would like to pass on?

Delphine: In the quality of life at work, the important thing is to be congruent with oneself. It is for this reason that the leader must lead by example. The congruence must be felt throughout the ecosystem (being good with its collaborators, with its suppliers, its partners and its customers). And finally what happens in its ecosystem in terms of QWL and well-being is somehow reflected outwardly in positive.
We hope you enjoyed this exchange on quality of life at work and you have discovered Delphine’s vision on this subject! 😄
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