Start People France, a staffing company with multiple locations across France, has been selected as one of the "Best Workplaces for Women 2021." Within Start People France, women account for 82 percent of its 900 employees. The percentage of women in management positions is also high, currently at 70 percent, which is well above the average of 50 percent for France as a whole. The following is a case study of Start People France to introduce the key workplace element providing opportunities for women to play active roles company-wide, including management.
The pursuit of a "workplace where everyone can shine" leads to women's brightness
"First of all, we treat all of our employees equally and provide everyone with the same level of respect and opportunity," says Mariana Lemercier, Human Resources Director at RGF Staffing France*¹. "Each person's life is naturally different: gender, family structure, nationality, and work history. We are simply thinking about how we can make it easier for each of our employees to thrive on a daily basis. By eliminating all inequalities and creating an atmosphere of equality, I believe, as a result, we are making it a better place for women to work.”
*¹ RGF Staffing France operates Start People France brand.
Mariana is from Moldova, in Eastern Europe, but this factor has not prevented her from evolving, which demonstrates that discrimination has no place in Start People. “We have been serious about eliminating discrimination both inside and outside the workplace. We also encourage our clients to ensure that Start People France's staff do not face any discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on gender, nationality, age, surname, disability, pregnancy, place of residence, or appearance.”
24 discrimination items defined by French law. Start People France takes initiatives both at workplace and at client companies to ensure that no one is disadvantaged due to discrimination.
Initiatives to create a workplace where everyone can shine
What is Start People France doing to create a workplace where everyone can work comfortably and shine?
"First, we have a culture in which employees can rely on each other. Each of Start People France's more than 230 branches regularly hosts a Fête de l'intérimaire*², and employees bond even more while preparing for the event.“
*² A party event celebrating and appreciating staffing people.
Employees enjoy a Fête de l'intérimaire at a Start People France branch.
“Also our culture is characterized by the close proximity between employees and management, and everyone feels comfortable approaching management with questions or suggestions. New employees are given the opportunity to have lunch meetings with management to help them settle in as quickly as possible."
Some branches deepen understanding with each other through picnics and bicycle rides.
“We are also proud of how we take care of employees who have children. We meet with employees who are returning from maternity or childcare leave to ensure a smooth transition back to work. We also make sure not to schedule early morning or late-night meetings for these employees, and we provide time off allowing parents to attend important events, such as the first day of school, a school performance, or the first day of the new semester. In addition, for employees with children under the age of three, we have begun to provide financial assistance to help defray childcare costs.”
70 percent of our managers being female has an enormously positive impact on the company. As more female employees see this in action, they become highly motivated to seek advancement within the company. As a result, the retention rate increases. Regular career interviews also help employees develop their long-term careers.
Due to these various efforts, 74% of Start People France employees surveyed by Great Place To Work🄬*³ rated the work-life balance at the company highly.
*³ Available only in French.
DEI is also an essential element for cultural growth and business expansion
Start People France opened 15 new branches in 2021 and is expecting to continue to hire at a rate of 100 people per year. In such a situation, DEI is also essential to its growth. "We interact with 130,000 job seekers and 18,000 clients each year. We have to recruit people with different backgrounds and skills in order to assist candidates and meet clients’ needs."
New office in Loudéac, central France, opened in 2021
"We are proud to receive the Best Workplace for Women award from Great Place to Work🄬. This award highlights our work to empower, encourage, and support more women job seekers. We also believe our focus in this area will motivate more companies to hire and promote women in the workplace at greater rates. These changes have a positive impact on both the job seekers and the companies that are embracing these same ideals."
While many companies around the world are struggling to increase the ratio of female managers and employees, Mariana says that Start People France's immediate goal is to increase the ratio of male employees for a more balanced workplace.
"Beyond the gender disparity, another area on which we will focus is helping refugees and people with disabilities," she says. “We want to create a workplace where employees with various backgrounds and skills can feel valued and comfortable and where everyone shines."
Director of Human Resources at RGF Staffing France
She has been Director of Human Resources at RGF Staffing France since January 2020 and she is responsible for human resources management, relations with unions and coordinations of training for permanent employees. Previously, she worked for Start People for 7 years as a lawyer in social law.