The body and Quality of Work Life at Renault International HR Convention

How can leaders contribute to developing both performance and well-being?

Performance and well-being are often viewed as incompatible. Organizations tend to reinforce this natural tension by dealing with these two subjects separately.

For Renault’s International HR Convention, Patricia Fouache, from Labor Relations wanted to introduce new dimensions of Quality of Work Life (QWL) beyond the organizational aspects. She was also looking for an innovative approach, that could connect performance and QWL, in a way that could be acceptable among HR managers.

After SOL’s “Body at work” conference, she asked Pierre Goirand and Hubert Nègre to design customized workshops.

Quality of Working Life – Here and Now

The Renault workshops explored the issue of personal accountability in terms of quality of working life. Everyone has an impact on their own quality of life as well as that of those around them. Consciously or unconsciously, we all influence each other. We all are subject to the ambience around us and at the same time we constantly contribute to it. In organizations, we experience this daily. When you walk into a meeting room to get a feel for the overall atmosphere; it’s physical. We can leave a meeting frustrated or fired up, and that will affect the rest of the day.

So, what if, instead of just going along with what’s going on around us, we decide to positively influence the quality of life in our immediate environment? Every contact, whether it’s shaking someone’s hand, listening or talking, generates a sensation in us and in others. QWL starts with the quality of our experience here and now. We can influence our state and the state around us by learning to manage our state. By cultivating awareness of our own state of being and learning how to change it, we can change the quality of our experience in the workplace.

QWL – a managerial responsibility

Even though everyone influences the QWL in their environment, the team leader’s position of power brings with it a higher level of responsibility. In the workshop, HR managers shared, their own experiences and their diagnoses,  in terms of both personal and collective QWL and well being at work.  We mapped and analyzed the many repeated occasions when participants, as leaders, influence the QWL in their team in a work day. This revealed that QWL is influenced not only by organizational decisions but also by the quality of presence of each manager.

The participants discovered how they can use their body to shift their state and how a different way to sit, stand and move changes their impact. One big ‘Aha’ of the workshop was the revelation of the body’s crucial role at work : this is now a new innovative field open for Renault to explore.