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Why should a company improve its employees’ working conditions? Inquiry on Bouygues construction

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Legal framework.
    1. What is the legal framework in France about security?
    2. Home rules.
  3. From words to actions.
    1. Human resources: Interview of Valerie Ferrand.
    2. On a builders yard: Interview of Jonathan Angotti.
  4. Ethics or profit?
    1. Francis Bouygues' history.
    2. Marketing: Are better working conditions a kind of marketing? If yes, who is targeted?
    3. Economic interest.
  5. Conclusion.

How can business improve people's lives? That is the issue of this inaugural seminar, and we decided to study a sector where there are real risks for employees, such as the building trade. On this way we chose Bouygues Construction, because we were sure that such a worldwide company would provide us with a lot of information thanks to a large scale of jobs and international building sites. When you go on the Bouygues Construction website , you can immediately feel how working conditions seem to be important for this firm. That's why we wondered why a company should improve its employees' working conditions. We first thought that such a Human Resources policy was nothing but superficial, so we wanted to check if Bouygues was only doing what was required by the law or paying a real attention to this policy. The law clearly says who is liable for the security of a building site. In fact, there is a double liability. The employees must take care of their own health and security at work. An example is the ?droit de retrait?: if an employee believes he is taking a big risk while working, he is allowed by law not to go to work for a few days. Of course, this right must be used carefully.

[...] It is even worse about jobs on building sites as workers who work there have to cope with weather and are likely to suffer from work illness due to accidents, toxic fumes from concrete and dust. As a result, most workers do not feel attracted by building companies whereas these companies are doing great and do need to recruit. That is why it is understandable that Bouygues communicates on its attempts to improve working conditions, as it is a good argument to make workers willing to join Bouygues and not another of its competitors. [...]

[...] The distinguishing feature of Bouygues Construction relies on four fundamental values: Respect for people: constantly improving the integration of employees, offering them training possibilities and opportunities for success. Professionalism and responsibility: keeping risks under control, making the highest priority of preserving the physical safety of employees. This moral contract binds all members of the company, whatever their job position or level of responsibility. Attention to, and satisfaction of, customers. Sense of common interest and solidarity. The two first values mainly stress a strong attention to employees that goes further than a mere appliance of the Law. [...]

[...] Conclusion The aim of this inquiry was clearly to understand why a company should improve its employees' working conditions and to check that the Human Resources policy of Bouygues Construction was not just a matter of marketing. There is a marketing interest, certainly, but we found out that Bouygues Construction did more for the security of its employee than what's required by the law. Last but not least, good working conditions contribute to the economic success of this French global firm. [...]

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