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Pandemic and professional relations: what are the impacts?

2 August 2021

Unlike what is commonly believed, the pandemic has not had any consequences on employee/employer relations for 4 out 5 French working people

The OpinionWay study commissioned by Manutan on "working people and the employer brand during the crisis" aims to understand and analyse, the impact of the health crisis on the relationship between working people, and their companies. The positive results show, among other things, that relations with employers remain unchanged and the perception of the company and the business remain optimal.

Intact professional relations despite the pandemic

Despite a health crisis that has shaken up the entire world, 60% of working people feel that the relationship with their employer has remained unchanged. 15% of the working people surveyed go further in stating that these relations have evolved and have above all been strengthened in this situation where solidarity played a key role. Nevertheless, 25% regret a weakening in these relations.

The perception varies and depends on the age of the working people surveyed, as well as the business sector in which they work. These two factors lead us to new observations.

The first is that 25% of working people aged 30 to 39 years, as well as 23% of those aged 40 and above feel that relations with their companies have deteriorated. 29% of young working people aged 18 to 29 years feel that these relations have been weakened, in particular, due to a lack of seniority and integration, while 82% of them say they have good relationships with their colleagues and 73% with their line management.  

The trade and transport sectors are the sectors most affected by this deteriorating relationship according to 33%,  against 15% who say that it has been strengthened.  13% of working people in the services sector say that the relationship has been strengthened,  against 24% who say it has deteriorated. Finally, the building and public works sector seems to have been the least affected, with 21% of working people feeling that the relationship has been strengthened,  against 20% who think it has been weakened.

Relations remain generally the same as before the crisis, which is a strong positive point for employees. Furthermore, this period offered opportunities, and for good reason, 50% of working people feel they have developed new professional skills since the beginning of the pandemic.

Companies' recognition towards employees divides opinion!

Companies' recognition of employees is a more personal affair than it seems. Just over one out of two working people, or 53%, said that the company had been able to show recognition for their work. However, 46% said that their company did not show recognition during this period and 17% that it wasn't the case at all.

Young working people, who are often less integrated, are however more sensitive to their employers' gratitude. 58% of working people under 40 years old say that their company showed recognition,  against 50% for the  oldest.

Companies have remained faithful to their values 

Solidarity is a value that takes on its whole meaning in this crisis period, and for good reason, it seems to be part of many companies' DNA. The vast majority of working people (68%) consider that their company has done everything it can to help, support and assist them during the crisis. Furthermore 45% say that their company has even created jobs, a rare thing in this complex global period.

However, this notion of solidarity varies according to the sectors. The public sector comes out on top with 75% of working people declaring that their organisation has done everything it could,  against 68% for private employees.

Overall, 79% of working people feel that their company has remained faithful to itself and its values. More of them (83%) stated that their company has always respected its employees and suppliers.

To conclude, the pandemic, which has had unprecedented impacts on the economy, has had very little impact on relations between working people and their companies, despite working from home imposed in many sectors and sometimes resented. Some relations have come out stronger and companies that already upheld the values of solidarity and recognition have continued their initiatives to promote employees to support them throughout and beyond this period.

Methodology: 

This study was carried out with a sample of 1,018 people, representative of the population of employees and civil servants aged 18 years and above, established according to the quota method, based on sex, age, socio-professional category, agglomeration category and region of residence criteria.
The interviews were carried out by online self-administered questionnaire on a CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview) system from 20 to 26 April 2021.
OpinionWay carried out this survey applying the procedures and rules of ISO 20252 standard.