The FINANCIAL — Societe Generale has undertaken many initiatives over the years to develop quality of life in the workplace. With the new Life at Work programme, the Group’s aim is to share many of these initiatives and create an environment to promote the development of new individual and collective initiatives.
Societe Generale considers the health, well-being and quality of life at work of its employees to be key factors in efficiency and sustainable performance.
In 2014, the Executive Committee of the Societe Generale Group and the Crédit du Nord Group signed a charter entitled “15 commitments for a balanced work/home life.” This charter, launched by the French Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights and the OPE (French Observatory whose aim is to promote a better balance between work and home life), asks its signatory companies to act in the interest of improving the work-life balance of their employees. For Societe Generale, signing the Charter was perfectly in line with the quality of life at work policy it had implemented for several years, and demonstrated its determination to continue in this vein by involving its managers.
An agreement on workplace conditions was signed in March 2015 with the trade unions. It defined a structured general framework designed to rethink the approach to work and encourage the general application of best practices while promoting the development of initiatives in the field, sharing these initiatives and, where applicable, testing them out. Its aim is to improve the quality of life of the workforce, schedule times to allow employees to express their views on their work, and seek a balance reconciling work and home life. This agreement underscored the objective shared by Management and the trade unions to carry out initiatives promoting the improvement of working conditions and preventing risks in the workplace, according to Societe Generale.
The goal of the Life at Work programme launched in April 2015 is to continue and share the initiatives undertaken throughout the Group while fostering the creation of new initiatives. It is founded on several pillars:
Individual and collective efficiency
In addition to signing the “15 commitments for a balanced work/home life,” Societe Generale joined the OPE. For example, the Group implemented an e-mail management optimisation system.
Working from home and new methods to organise working hours
The digital transformation of the working environment has generated new opportunities to reconcile work and home life. In France, Societe Generale SA has been testing a work from home programme since October 2013. With the success of Phase 1 (98% satisfaction rate), an agreement for a second pilot programme was signed in July 2014: this programme was expanded to include new departments and positions, and is expected to have nearly 2,000 employee volunteers after its gradual roll-out by the end of 2015.
The workplace environment is evolving to accommodate new methods of work and collaboration: for example, the Group created a workspace just for itinerant employees briefly on site at La Défense.
Key life events and benefits
Various services are provided to employees to help them better manage their work and home life, such as employee and family benefits for a better work-life balance (personal care services, help finding childcare, nurseries, etc.) or access to conferences on parenting for example.
Health and safety
The Group is committed to promoting health in the workplace, with the support of medical and social professionals (healthcare service at work, social service at work) and the Group supplementary health insurance plan. The bank also has a programme aimed at preventing and managing psychosocial risks and stress in the workplace, as well as awareness-raising initiatives on the benefits of physical activity and nutrition.
In order to be the relationship bank of reference, Societe Generale applies the principle of symmetry: the care and focus it gives to its customers must reflect those it gives to its employees. Management plays a critical daily role in this regard. Each manager and each team must develop best practices and interpersonal skills in order to forge lasting ties with each other.
For Edouard-Malo Henry, Head of Group Human Resources, “quality of life in the workplace is the hallmark of a good employer, and a prerequisite to its efficiency and longevity. A dynamic company relies on commitment and must be attentive to the work-life balance of each employee. The Life at Work programme is an investment in Societe Generale’s future.”