How LDLC takes care of its employees … and its business

Hyperconnection, information overload, “Zoom fatigue” … The professional mental workload explodes. But this pressure does not seem to be an issue with LDLC. Maybe because Laurent de la Clergerie, president and founder of this group specializing in e-commerce and IT and high-tech retail in France, made a decision that transformed the face of his business: to switch to a four-day week. “When I announced it, in June 2020, he explains, it immediately changed the mood at the checkout. The faces became more smiling. While the end of the year was very busy, it went calmly. We do not get tired from this period of health crisis.

A gentle felling

For four years, Laurent de la Clergerie has pursued a quest for job satisfaction. It’s reading Alexandre Gérard’s book, The boss who would no longer be the boss, which caused it to topple over. “It sounded like the business I wanted to run!” He does not yet know where he puts his legs, seeking to create his own model. LDLC does not act as a liberated enterprise, but autonomy is preferred, managers become more guides than “controllers”. Filling proceeds smoothly. To build a project and help achieve a common goal, facilitators are trained who are responsible for giving everyone a voice. Three in-house coaches undergo training to support people or change.

But to continue on this path, Laurent de la Clergerie believes that it is necessary to go beyond the improvement of the working environment, to think about the balance of life in a more global way. A feedback on the implementation of the four-day week from Microsoft in Japan, planting a seed, reflection takes time to germinate, questions flourish. What will be the consequences for the group? How much will it cost to upgrade to 32 hours paid 35? Will the company be in danger?

The balance sheet is seriously leaning towards the benefits: The development of the group, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has a turnover of 700 million euros, will eventually go through personal development. “To reach 1 billion in turnover, the president explains, I need the employees to feel good and focus on the company. I know we will get there. The priority today is good employees, the billion will be the consequence.”

Measurable results

When he made his decision, he embarked on the implementation with his teams so that all services continue to operate for five days for the customer, internally or externally. Since January 25, the 1,000 employees in the LDLC group have therefore been working four days a week. “I went to the other side of the mirror,” says Laurent de la Clergerie, who is happy to share his experience and invite you to take the plunge.

“Everything works as before, hiring has been more linked to growth than to the new organization. I did not expect such positive consequences, it gives people energy, increases productivity. By putting less fuel on, we come faster and further.” The results are measurable. The company is growing, it was certified in March Great Place to Work.

In a survey conducted three months after its introduction, employees prefer four-day week: 50.9% of respondents appreciate what they consider to be a real plus. They are 33.4% to believe that it has changed their lives. The measure also gave women who worked 80% the opportunity to look after their children on Wednesdays, in order to regain a 100% employment contract.

What about workaholics? “There are always speeders who drive at 180 kilometers per hour when the limit is 130! But when you lower the limit from 130 to 110, those who drove at 180 go to 130 … The pressure drops for everyone”, Laurent explains de la Clergerie, who makes no secret of the fact that he sometimes has to use violence against himself in order to respect this new organization.

real weekends

The approach to the Lyon group LDLC challenges and interests. A good sign for Laurent de la Clergerie, who believes that reducing working hours to 32 hours is a false topic. “The real issue is the four-day week, with this day that we free up for ourselves, instead of reducing the days by an hour. It allows everyone to make complicated appointments to get stuck in the week, to “Doing errands, sports, daily chores or even devoting ourselves to a passion and having real weekends. Today we work less, but we have no more free time.” Having a day to oneself is perhaps what well-being is, even happiness!

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