HR Challenges in a Digital World: Rethinking the workplace and employee welfare – Part 2 of 3

November 06, 2023

Éric Lechelard, HR Director, shares insights on the multi-generational workforce, work-life balance and mental wellness.

a man and woman sitting at a table

As mentioned in my previous blog, hybrid working has become the new normal, bringing with it new implications for society and, in particular, the need for organisational transformation at the Human Resources level.

In this second of three blogs, we’ll look at some of the most significant challenges ALE faced over the past three years, with a particular focus on multi-generational issues and the need for a flexible workplace.

Bringing generations together

As is common in many organisations, the ALE employee workforce spans a number of generations — one of our greatest assets. This multi-generational aspect is particularly important when it comes to digital transformation. It’s noteworthy that during the shift to teleworking, the ‘boomer’ generation, also known as the 'telephone' generation, were actually quite quick to adopt the Rainbow™ by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise solution. In fact, it was widely embraced by all generations within the company, as everyone was forced to switch to telephone with full computer-based collaboration.

Today, for new hires, particularly the younger generation, Rainbow is a normal part of their communications experience, because it's how they interact in their personal lives, which wasn’t necessarily the case for many of the teams at the time. It's been a success in that employees who came from the telephone industry have adopted the easy-to-use platform, which is able to consolidate all the services including: telephone, collaboration, chat and videoconferencing.

Let’s take a moment to consider the most common tools we use for communicating today; we call each other, see each other and exchange ideas. At ALE, that's what we've been doing for 40 years. Rainbow is also used for sending text messages. If we didn't have Rainbow, we'd probably be using WhatsApp or Messenger, as is the case for many other organisations — which, incidentally, can leave the organisation vulnerable to security and confidentiality risks. In addition to messaging, employees need to hold meetings and create discussion groups. For ALE, all these functions are securely integrated within Rainbow, so we're able to easily bring together different generations of employees within a single digital tool.

Work-life balance, flexibility and pay

A number of studies have shown, and all HR people can testify to the fact, that salary is not the main motivating factor, but it can be a demotivating factor when not properly addressed. As such, we naturally treat it with the utmost seriousness. At the same time, we recognise that it's important to prioritise and promote the health and well-being of our employees. Following are a few examples of what ALE is doing in this area.

First, even if it seems obvious today, we provide a teleworking agreement. Early on during the global health crisis, we began negotiations with the social partners on teleworking, which has led to the long-term implementation of a flexible working environment that is now of interest to all new hires. This agreement, including one to three days per week of teleworking, now endorsed by all parties, really needed to be done. Today, the subject of teleworking is part of every recruitment discussion.

The second point concerns flexibility and employee work welfare. We have signed Quality of Working Life (QWL) agreements that deal with work-life balance, as well as personal life constraints, caregiving, childbirth, and childcare. These agreements establish the conditions for a better work-life balance, as does teleworking.

Prevention is key

All these measures go hand-in-hand with preventive actions. Teleworking must not lead to exhaustion or health problems. Flexible work, annual interviews with workload reviews, communication, collaboration and management tools are all part of the ALE process. Failing to address issues can expose a company to recruitment difficulties, as most candidates are keen to understand these employment elements before they even apply.

One of ALE's key strengths — which many companies do not have — is experience with teleworking that dates back to 2008, when we introduced the opportunity to telework up to two days per week. We were well ahead of the market with a softphone solution that made teleworking possible. When the healthcare crisis hit, we leveraged our teleworking experience and communications solutions to ensure business continuity for ourselves and our customers. Today, we are recognised as a key supplier of business communications solutions for hybrid working.

Check out all the blogs in our series, “HR Challenges in a Digital World”:

- Today’s new normal demands new ways of working

- Hybrid work is here to stay

3 Recommendations from Éric Lechelard, HR Director, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, France


Eric Lechelard

Director, Human Resources, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise International - France

With more than 20 years of experience in telecommunications and IT, and five years as Human Resources Director of the ALE International French entity, Eric Lechelard is responsible for supporting all teams in the ALE International group strategic transformation.

Eric’s expertise in professional services and customer services (customer care) has provided him with a variety of opportunities in the services industry, including management of the professional services teams for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. He has led pre-sales, design, architecture, and 24-7 operations activities of all communications and network solutions for a strategic customer; a large US-based hospital group. He was also responsible for ALE global customer support activities, prior to being named Director of ALE International’s Human Resources team.

In addition to an engineering degree in telecommunications and networks, Eric trained in services and sales, and obtained a Master 2 in Human Resources Management at the IAE of Caen in 2017.

About the author

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