Most HR managers agree that the pandemic has accelerated the trend away from work, and that for a large majority of employees, work is no longer the central pivot around which life is organized. Faced with this trend, the origins of which are complex and multifactorial, have we considered all possible ways of continuing to attract candidates, engage employees and give meaning to the missions proposed?

The first adaptation measures

The evolution of the relationship to work was underway well before the health crisis, particularly for the new generations, but the crisis has suddenly accelerated the pace. There is no need to deny that we will never go back to the way things were before, and that is certainly a good thing. Similarly, it would be unfounded to assess the current increase in resignations solely in terms of the evolution of the relationship to work, without recalling that periods of economic growth – a positive consequence of the current crisis – have always been periods of chosen turnover for employees.

Faced with this double tension, the massive response has obviously been the generalization of telework. As a sign of the acceptance of this new way of working, the number of teleworking days is now negotiated at the time of hiring, as well as the salary! The possible introduction of a four-day work week, a topic that is again emerging in the current debates, follows the same logic of seeking a better balance between professional and personal life.


Offering a new employee experience

Beyond adapting to a movement that is imposed on it, the company has other assets to activate to restore a taste for collective play. Today, we can only observe that non-discrimination and diversity are still far from being realities in the world of work: 43% of French people say they have already experienced or witnessed discrimination at work (Glassdoor, Diversity & Inclusion Study 2019). It is therefore necessary to ensure, in the company’s HR policies and procedures, the equality of all, regardless of their gender, age, origin or any other of the 25 criteria of discrimination identified by the law. But to achieve the objective of inclusion, i.e. to move from formal equality to real equality that can be observed in practice, it is necessary to go further than this legal compliance and ensure that the organization as a whole accepts and makes the difference.


The key: better consideration of the individual within the group

Inclusion means ensuring that each individual feels welcome as he or she is in the group, without preconceived ideas, by making the desires and needs of each individual coincide with the objectives of the organization. This implies a concrete commitment from each individual, in his or her daily interpersonal relations, whatever his or her role or status in the organization.

In response to the tensions in the job market, we are now seeing new investments in employer branding. While this can help attract talent, it is important to ensure that the promise made is kept. Being open to singularity, accepting otherness, dedicating specific resources to certain personal situations while reaffirming the collective framework and cross-functional measures allow us to reconcile external identity and internal experience. This alignment then contributes to giving meaning to the work “environment”, and it is this meaning that is needed today to stop the current movement of distancing from work.


Offering an inclusive pathway to employees therefore means understanding the situation of others, exploring their potential, combining specific measures and enriching a collective framework. It is not a question of simple adaptation responses, but of impactful commitments, allowing for the long-term reinforcement of adhesion and cohesion.

David Mahé

Human & Work Associate Director

Column published in la revue RH&M

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