Home > It's Happening in France > 10 propositions to reduce stress – did I hear ‘Real Lean’?

10 propositions to reduce stress – did I hear ‘Real Lean’?

February 18th, 2010 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Back at the end of last year, following a spate of suicides in the workplace, notably at France Telecom which I commented on in December, the French Prime Minister ordered a study from three emanant ‘practiciens’ to include propositions which would “improve the conditions for psychological health at work“. The report was published yesterday, and makes interesting reading.

In their conclusions, they come up with some points which, if they’d read ‘Lean Thinking’ and related literature back in the nineties, might have saved them twenty years or so.

As soon as the introduction, we are told that “the real challenge is the well-being of the workforce and them being valued as the most important resource that the company has“.

A number of factors were listed as being at the origin of stress in companies today. Amongst these, we can find:

- “management is too often judged on purely financial performance, with insufficient importance given to social performance”,

- “the poor use of new technologies, which dehumanises relationships at work whilst encouraging virtual exchanges. In just one generation, we have moved from a work collectivity physically close to a community of individuals, connected but isolated from each other”,

-”difficulties in work relationships within a team or with the supervisor when isolation reduce the opportunities of interaction“,

Other factors quoted include the frequency of reorganisations, the fear of unemployment, centralisations which discredit local management, matrix organisations and incessant reporting, time spent in transport, the impersonalisation of the customer interface, and the increasing social role of the workplace.

And the best one for last :

- ” the development of new forms of taylorisme in services. Characterised by standardisation and the isolation of tasks and relations, they can lead to work losing its meaning. When management methods encourage both standardisation and taking initiatives, workers are faced with a paradox. The processes must remain only the means and not the end – they do not resolve the human aspects which depend on the proximity of management“.

I’m not sure whether Lean Management comes out well or not from this, but it certainly shows that for many companies, the continuous improvement aspects have been well understood, but maybe not the ‘respect for people’.

The ten propositions read like an advetisement for ‘Real Lean’, as Bob Emilani would term it :

1) Executive management and the Board need to be implicated in ensuring that performance evaluation includes social and health factors,

2) Reinforce the presence of management in the workplace – the managers have to have authority to make decisions to support his team,

3) Ensure that the workers have the space and time to find their footing and develop as individuals,

4) Implicate the workers representatives in reducing stress in the workplace,

5) Implement measures to evaluate health and safety – we all know that measures influence behaviours

6) Prepare and train managers to actually be managers

7) Promote the value of teams and teamwork, rather than treating organisations as a collection of individuals

8) Anticipate and take account of the human factor in reorganisations and restructurings,

9) Understand that as a customer, your company also has an impact on the health of the employers of your suppliers

10) Don’t leave workers alone – always accompany those in difficulty.

All of a sudden I feel that Real Lean Management has a very healthy future.

Categories: It's Happening in France Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.
Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes