At a time when the labour shortage is hitting hard, many companies understand that increasing salaries is only one of the facets of attracting and retaining employees. In this respect–and this is all the more true with the pandemic–it’s becoming increasingly clear that the quality of life offered by an employer is one of the most influential factors for candidates when choosing a job. Indeed, more than 40% of employees said they were exhausted at work in the spring of 2021. This represents 10% more than the previous year. It thus goes without saying that well-being and quality of life must be at the heart of employer concerns.
What is meant by quality of life?
The expression “quality of life” doesn’t have the same meaning for all, but there are some broad concepts that everyone can agree upon. We’ve noted that companies that adjust their offer to the needs and preferences of their employees have a better chance of attracting and retaining talent.
Quality of life at work is often associated with:
- Work-life balance;
- Workplace atmosphere;
- Corporate culture and values;
- Interest in employment;
- Working conditions;
- Trust in employees;
- Equality, equity, and inclusion;
- The right to make mistakes;
- Valorization of the work done;
More concretely, quality of life at work can look like:
- Flexible schedules;
- Annualized or accumulated time for personal leave;
- A part-time job offer;
- A vacation bank, with or without pay;
- Deferred holidays;
- The possibility of remote work or the adoption of a hybrid model;
- Help with daycare services;
- A concierge service (cleaner, caterer, car services, etc.);
- Health and wellness programs (access to a sports center, massage therapy, stress management, and time management tools, etc.).
Meanwhile, many employees condemn certain practices that affect the quality of life at work. Meetings held at the beginning or end of the day, an overload of remote meetings (Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, etc.), too much overtime, postponed vacations, or unrecognized personal needs can all be irritants.
How can quality of life at work be enhanced?
Putting effort into improving the workplace quality of life for employees can have many positive effects, in addition to attracting and retaining talent. These positive impacts include decreased absenteeism, a rise in productivity, reduction in accidents and disability claims, and overall increased satisfaction.
Without a doubt, human resources play a key role in the equation. But it’s still necessary to include all stakeholders in quality-of-life changes at work. Moreover, the employee’s responsibility for their own well-being mustn’t be neglected; focusing on their contribution at work can allow them to find meaning and thus promote their quality of life in a professional sense.
In addition, it’s important to involve managers and ensure their participation. Their support is all the more essential since it’s recognized that the attitude and approach of immediate supervisors have a significant impact on the perception of employees regarding their quality of life in the workplace.
This may require support led by human resources. Raising awareness and helping managers take the necessary step back is a winning strategy for finding a balance between productivity and employee well-being.
Finally, it’s important to establish an action plan in order to develop and implement the various programs or policies that will promote quality of life at work.
A first step could be to improve employee workload and increase the recognition shown to employees.*
Then, it’s recommended to draw up a portrait of the situation; secure senior management commitment; analyze the programs offered; survey employees about their needs (generations, family and personal situations, etc.); if possible, carry out a pilot project; evaluate and implement changes, then perform regular monitoring and revise practices as needed.
This can also be an opportunity to review your corporate social responsibility (CSR**) strategy. Employees working in an organization that is socially responsible are generally happier at work. Plus, it sends an attractive message to potential candidates. On this subject, there are various ISO certifications that recognize organizational initiatives. For example, in Quebec, the Entreprise en santé and Conciliation travail-famille are two such certifications.
If you don’t know where to start, you can always turn to specialized consultants who will support you in your approach. Quality of life in the workplace is a must in 2022; a fact that both employees and employers are increasingly realizing.
* We’ll have the pleasure of leading a discussion on recognition and appreciation at work during a D-HR meeting held on January 28, to which you are invited. We’ll also publish an article on the subject a few days later.
** We invite you to join us for our Live Discussion on CSR which will take place on February 4, 2022. An article on this topic will also be published shortly after this meeting.