Paperjam Human Resources Grand Prix 2010


The Fondation François Elisabeth (FFE), which manages the Clinque Bohler, the Kirchberg Hospital and the Clinique Sainte-Marie has just been awarded the Grand Prix HR paperJam for its initiative to introduce sophrology into business.

Sophrology and Business

Sophrology (relaxation therapy) is a technique to relax the body and thereby relax mentally, allowing the individual to be better balanced within themselves, to have a different approach to their environment and a better understanding of others.

Among the many areas where relaxation therapy can be helpful, those which are particularly used in the workplace include: stress management, sleep management, mental preparation for events, and self-confidence.

Allowing its employees to take ownership of such a technique can help an employer to meet a primary goal of improving well-being at work, from the perspective of corporate social responsibility; similarly, the employer affect staff motivation and satisfaction with long-term positive impacts on the rate of absenteeism related to burnout. Another significant benefit from this initiative lies in the relational approach in the business: better management of staff emotions and stress ultimately leads to better support for customers.


The Fondation François-Elisabeth Sophrology Project: a three-step initiative

For step one, as seems logical in the hospital sector, sophrology was first used on patients in FFE hospitals. Since 2006, the Clinique Bohler, in particular, has provided an accompaniment for pregnant women and new mothers through health workers with a dual qualification (Midwife Sophrologist, Nurse Sophrologist). The feedback from patients was very positive, as sophrology was used for situations such as stress management related to the delivery or helping with breastfeeding during the hospital stay.

In the second step, in order to respond to requests for training from hospital staff, particularly in terms of stress management, and in order to capitalise on the positive experience of patients, management and human resources decided to offer relaxation therapy workshops to employees. The initiative has been successful mainly due to the ease of access and understanding of basic techniques for all staff, regardless of position or office held, and with minimal time constraints on work time. The result is quickly seen by staff trained in this technique, with a benefit both professionally and privately. The high participation rate of hospital staff in the workshops reflects the success of the initiative.

In the third step, an external initiative was conducted by the FFE to transfer this technique to other companies wishing to offer stress management methods to their staff. In 2010, the auditing and consulting company Deloitte offered its staff relaxation therapy sessions provided by the seven Sophrologists from the FFE.
The FFE initiative fitted the criteria set by the paperJam jury to assess the various applications: it added value at many levels (for the individual, business, society), had transferability to the company’s internal and external clients, was original and innovative, and finally, included indicators measuring the efficiency of the initiative in the short, medium and long term.


Sophrology and Society

Apart from the aforementioned benefits for well-being and motivation, relaxation therapy can have economic benefits for society as a whole. According to a study in Switzerland where sophrology has been practised for 20 years on a large scale: for people who regularly followed courses for a year, it would save 30 to 40% in health costs for the average person.

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