New managerial practices are multiplying in order to restore meaning to work and foster employee engagement. Horizontal management, self-reliance, remote work… A look at the new world of work.
Worldwide, one in three employees feels ‘disengaged’ at work, according to an Ipsos study conducted in 2016. The notion of disengagement reflects the gradual decline in employees’ commitment to their job and their company. Companies are multiplying initiatives to avoid this.
MEANING AT WORK, A UNIVERSAL QUEST
What meaning is given to work? While the question is not new, answers have evolved over time. The search for financial security, the feeling of belonging to a group, or the need for social security protection now seem to be diminishing, to the benefit of a more global objective, that of participating in social and environmental progress. Looking for ‘meaningful’ work, the new Holy Grail of human resources, seems sometimes to count as much as the financial consideration. Embedded in the DNA of the social component of CSR, the quest for meaning in the workplace can be accomplished by enabling employees to strengthen the consistency between their job and their values, between their talents and their aspirations.
HORIZONTAL MANAGEMENT, AUTONOMY AS PRINCIPLE
One of the antidotes to disengagement is on the management side: innovative methods can restore everybody’s position and the meaning of their work. Fewer fixed working hours, more flexibility in the workplace, and employees responsible for their own organization: new horizontal management methods enhance everyone’s autonomy. The traditional pyramidal organization, which was very vertical, is now giving way to more horizontal structures, enabling each person to be an actor in the decisions that concern him or her. ‘Project mode’ management allows, for example, for tasks and decisions to be allocated based on each individual’s actual role in the project, not based on their title or seniority
WORKING REMOTELY, A DEEP (R)EVOLUTION
Another key to engagement? The possibility of a better work-life balance. According to an annual Malakoff Méderic study1, one in three French people struggles to balance these two lives. In the US, the proportion is increasing: two out of three Americans don’t think they have a good work-life balance2. Working remotely is one of the possible answers to this search for balance. Being removed from attendance logics, not having to travel into work, save commuting time and make employees more efficient and focused. Working remotely requires a certain organization at the corporate level. Digital platforms are needed to enable employees to easily connect and interact with their colleagues. Managers who are responsible for maintaining the cohesion of their teams and the proper distribution of the workload also need to be trained.
Working remotely continued to advance and increased by 173% worldwide between 2005 and 20183. But it still affects a minority of employees, for example 10% of employees work from home in Europe4. More flexibility and autonomy can increase engagement among employees. But it is often the quality of human relationships that is the cornerstone of well-being at work. The more pleasant and fruitful the exchanges are, the more they help to give meaning to everything else. However, working remotely can also be a vector of social links, when interactions and exchanges are frequent between employees and if the manager ensures this.
Gallup Survey 2019
NEW WAYS OF WORKING, A STRATEGIC CHALLENGE FOR SERVIER
Faced with changes in the world of work and traditional business models, the Servier Group is developing innovative responses. Two complementary strategic programs, Ways of Working and PULSE, are designed to change working methods and encourage individual engagement.
WAYS OF WORKING, A CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION SERVING PERFORMANCE
The mission of this ambitious program? Create a high-performance culture, accelerated by collaboration between teams, facilitated by streamlined processes and energized by social innovation. Deployed, for the first year at the Group headquarters in Suresnes, France, Ways of Working brings together a set of projects that revolve around four themes: performance, cooperation, streamlining, and social innovation. For Group employees, there are many benefits.
The streamlining of processes and decision making encourages everyone to be proactive and to feel responsible for their projects. The development of cross functionality, in a business partner culture, promotes mutual understanding of tasks and provides tools for better cooperation. The focus on social innovation paves the way for experimenting with new ideas and improving the employee experience. Finally, a better definition of performance allows each employee to better understand their task and contributes to the recognition of the work accomplished.
PULSE, SERVIER’S ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM
In 2019, Servier launched its engagement program, PULSE, with the independent Gallup Institute. The goal? To create the conditions to promote commitment and allow everyone to develop their talents. 78.5% of employees responded to this first online engagement poll. This study revealed a 40% commitment rate, placing Servier four points above the average among companies launching this type of project. The results of the study have enabled managers to set up exchange groups throughout their teams. Each employee is thus encouraged to become an actor in his or her own engagement and is accompanied in this process by fruitful dialogue and exchanges. Sharing allows everyone to remove any constraints on their development. The initial feedback is a testament to the motivation of our employees. As part of a continuous improvement approach, PULSE is a five-year program designed to monitor progress in the engagement level of employees.
36 countries in which the Group operates implemented remote working arrangementsto promote organizational flexibility, autonomy and work-life balance for employees. 2019 Data
1 employee in 2 at Group headquarters engaged in working remotely.2019 Data
80% of employees are proud to work for Servierand 81% would recommend the Group as a great place to work.
Source: PULSE–Group Results 2019
1 Study published February 20, 2019, https://www.la-croix.com/Economie/Entreprises/ Le-teletravail-seduit-plus-2019-02-20-1201003770
2 Study published in February 2018, https: //familylivingtoday.com/work-life-balance-modern-era/
3 Global Workplace Analytics, March 2020, https: //globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics
4 European Commission Statistics, 2017, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostatnews/-/DDN-20180620-1