What touches me is beyond the success of a company. It is in seeing the organization  connecting with the humanity of its employees. In particular, when we see the effects spreading beyond the company, to our friends, our family… at that moment we learn another way of listening, another way of being in relationship.

Frédéric Laloux

This round table brings together Frédéric Laloux and Matthieu Ricard to discuss the issues of well-being at work, and organizationa tools available for changing work practices. Frédéric Laloux is the author of Reinventing Organizations. He is known for his analysis of different organizational models. He has highlighted innovative and benevolent structures that promote happiness and fulfillment for individuals in their workplace. Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, photographer and co-founder of the NGO Karuna-Shechen.

Taking  the well-being of  the entire individual worker into account is perfectly compatible with the profitability of a company. The economic, human and environmental results are even better with worker friendly policies !

The constant exhortation to productivity and competitiveness subjects employees to  fears that constrain commitment and creativity. Whereas caring workplace that focuses less on productivity and more on the quality of human relations achieves better results. A company based on the old mechanistic model of organization leads to burnout for employees and managers alike. A few years ago, the OECD conducted an opinion survey in the thirty richest countries, asking people to rank the ten factors that contribute most to well-being. Salary only came in sixth place! The first was the quality of human relations.

Indeed, a company that takes care of its workers is usually successful financially. Management creates conditions that encourage employees to expand into roles that naturally suit them. We need to reconsider the outdated view that centralized and hierarchical organizations are effective, and organic models are doomed to “chaos”. Take the example of the most complex system of all, the human brain, which is self-organizing as the individual develops. There is no ‘control center’ in the brain. Just as in a living organism, there can be decision-making processes within an organization for all aspects of working life that are based on the quality of human relationships, cooperation, consideration for others, and respect for their individual abilities.

The brain is by far the most complex structure yet there is no centralized control !

Matthieu Ricard

Evolution towards active benevolence can encourage  us to be much more altruistic and cooperative. These are the most important survival traits in our time. We can all, in our own way, promote altruism in any structure, whether public or private, simply by questioning what no longer serves us and discovering what attracts us as a kinder alternative. Then, it is a matter of taking the smallest possible step to experiment with new methods of interacting  with our team. The transition from theoretical values that motivate and inspire us to their realization in a benevolent and successful organization is done through simple pragmatic and concrete tools.

Like an organic structure, altruism in the workplace develops naturally when we place it at the heart of our motivations and appeal to the humanity of individuals instead of simply considering their function as cogs in the wheel.

Find out how Karuna-Shechen is applying these ideas to move towards more altruistic work and governance practices. For more information