- Mar 3 2015
Isabelle Panhard: It was challenging to reach out exclusively to top-level leaders – in the corporate segment this meant reaching out to the C-suites of companies with more than 1,000 employees. But the interest leaders took in the topic of Quality of Life helped us succeed. A key mark of interest is that 82 percent of leaders asked to receive the survey results – usually this rate is around 50 percent in surveys we conduct.
Thomas Jelley: Quality of Life tends to be one of those subjects on which everyone has a point of view. We asked leaders to consider Quality of Life – not at large, but in the specific context of their organization. By guiding the conversation in this way, we didn’t get stuck in subjective or abstract notions. On the contrary, we went through quite concrete measures and I think that this approach really helped leaders to make the link between Quality of Life and performance as they were interviewed.
What else was unique about the approach of this study?
I.P.: For me, our approach by country and sector produced surprising results. For example, leaders in Brazil and India were more concerned regarding Quality of Life in their organizations than their counterparts in the UK or France. So we see that it is more a question of cultural differences rather than a country’s level of development. But what I found even more interesting is the difference between the three environments that we surveyed. We can see that university – and above all, healthcare leaders – are particularly engaged in Quality of Life and more convinced of its importance. Specifically, 77 percent of healthcare and 75 percent of university leaders viewed Quality of Life as a strategic investment, compared to 56 percent of corporate leaders.
Many leaders identified social interaction as a key component of Quality of Life. Can you explain why?
T.J.: It’s very consistent with what we’ve been seeing at the Institute. In this dynamic environment, where the work is less about place and time – as technology allows us to work any place and any time – employees are facing important questions about organizational culture. How can we create a sense of belonging? How can we make sure that we still have the glue that brings people together around a common purpose? Technology affords us many ways of interaction but there is still nothing quite like face-to-face interaction.
I.P.: 74 percent of leaders declared they implement social interaction initiatives in their organizations. For them, this appears to be a key dimension. Office coffee breaks or overnight accommodations for families in hospitals –these factors help to strengthen bonds between individuals and contribute to their Quality of Life.
Do you find that any of these findings begs further investigation?
T.J.: This gives us new areas to look into further in the future.
I.P.: We found that there is often a gap between the strong conviction of the importance of Quality of Life and the current internal structure in organizations. Many leaders told us that there is no dedicated budget, function or program. In other words, they are convinced but they haven’t structured anything yet. But things are progressing; I think that in 10 years, there will be a Quality of Life director in every organization.
Following the study conducted by the Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life, Thomas Jelley, director of the Institute, and study director Isabelle Panhard of Harris International explain why Quality of Life is an increasingly important topic for the worlds’ decision makers.
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