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"Finding the right balance is essential"

In a rapidly growing organization, it is important to maintain the right focus on every individual employee. At Start People France, attention is the key.

At RGF Staffing we’ve set ourselves a goal. By 2030, we want to make sure that we are a truly diverse, inclusive organization which reflects the societies we serve. In every way. Where everyone feels welcome and safe. Addressing equality and acting upon it are crucial steps. Our operating companies are raising the bar on this topic. Such as Start People France. Having been recognized multiple times for its efforts, it is leading by example. 

Start People France recently won two awards that illustrate the organization's commitment to being a good employer for all. First, the company won the Best Workplace for Women - Great Place to Work Award, quickly followed by the Top Employer award. It really lifted the employees' pride in their organisation, which was already strong. This is also true for Marianna Lemercier, HR Director at Start People France. "It makes me especially proud that both awards were based on direct feedback from our own employees."

Six previous nominations

At the same time, she also acknowledges that the Best Workplace for Women - Great Place To Work award in particular did not come as a complete surprise to her. With six previous nominations, Start People had a clear focus on areas in which it could improve. That hard work, and the actual progress that has been made in the workplace, has paid off. Céline Texier-Maurisse, marketing manager: Our values aren’t just for marketing purposes. Our organization really lives them on a daily basis.

Céline Texier-Maurisse, marketing manager: Our values aren’t just for marketing purposes. Our organization really lives them on a daily basis.

But how do you become a company that is truly welcoming for all? Marianna: "Our strength is in our core values: simplicity, innovation, responsiveness and proximity. Everyone is very approachable. Which enables us to make decisions quickly. Our management does not lead from a distance, but is close to all employees, with, for example, regular lunches and monthly meetings in which everyone is kept up-to-date on the outlines and the strategic direction of our organization." In Marianna’s view, this inclusiveness, combined with innovative solutions for employees, clients and candidates distinguishes Start People from many competitors.

Morgane, recruitment consultant: What I like most about working at Start People France is that my opinion is really valued by the management.

Start People France has 900 FTEs in 235 branches across the country. Together they serve 18,000 companies and 130,000 candidates every day. The company has achieved significant growth since 2016, in terms of both employees and branches, opening 15 new offices in 2022 alone and looking to hire 100 new employees this year. 

In such a rapidly growing organization, it is important to maintain the right focus on every individual employee. Marianna: "Attention is key. If someone has an idea on where we can do better, he or she not only has the opportunity to express it, but also the confidence that our leadership will act on feedback."

Yoro, agency manager: What I like here is the simplicity of communication and clear presence of a human touch at all levels of the organization. It's very family-like here.

Having the right balance

When it comes to equality, It's not about favoring certain groups because they have some catching up to do, but about being a great place for everyone, says Marianna. “Like the recruitment sector as a whole, female colleagues are a majority, in our case representing 82% of all employees. Although we have some specific arrangements for them, for example around maternity leave, we don’t give women a preferential position. Everyone is judged and rewarded based on their commitment and talent, regardless of gender. And when we are hiring new employees, we assess and compare candidates only in terms of skills and motivation. Not based on background or gender."

In terms of management positions, Start People’s diversity efforts have already had significant success. Currently, 70% of management positions are filled by women. "Equality is about having the right balance. And it’s a challenge, since in our industry there are simply fewer men applying for positions.”

Start People gives the right opportunities to grow. I started here as an agency assistant and in a few years I grew into manager for the Lyon area.

Focus on well-being

Start People France is praised by its own employees for the opportunities given to grow, for the work-life balance, for the focus on well-being, and teams’ cohesion. Which actions does the company take to secure these characteristics for the long term?

Marianna: "We are focused on creating an environment in which everyone can organize their work-life balance in a way that suits them. For example, we don’t schedule meetings early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. When employees with single parent families are booked for a training session, we offer a financial help for day care so they can attend the training. And at the start of a school year, parents are given the opportunity to make time to assist at their kids’ first moments at school.”

 

Start People’s latest idea in this area would represent another, significant step forward. “We are investigating the possibility of (partially) reimbursing the cost of daycare for children under the age of 3. This idea is still in the early stages and several factors will determine whether we can implement it. But I think it really shows our ambition and commitment to supporting parenting and work-life balance.”

Possibilities to grow

All in all, Start People France is a proud organization, providing meaningful jobs for candidates and the right talent for companies. Marianna: "For me the simplicity of our relations, and the attention that we provide to our employees make Start People a great place to work.”

Marianna Lemercier Start People France
Marianna Lemercier