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HR tips and tricks: Working better does not mean working more

Workplace performance sometimes hinges on things so simple that they can easily be overlooked.

Recognising the importance of sleep

A good night's sleep is like fuel: it's what it takes to remain productive all day at the office. Aetna, a large American insurance firm, offers tips and tricks for getting a good night's sleep and rewards its employees for giving importance to getting enough sleep: 25 dollars a month for volunteers whose electronic monitoring devices record seven hours of sleep per night for 20 consecutive days.

What is a good manager?

One who is benevolent, ethical and respectful and who looks after their teams' well-being. That does not mean being a chief happiness officer or equipping the office with table football. Since happy employees are vital to the company's interests, the following are a few recommendations that can be implemented by any manager keen on creating conditions that contribute to the staff's well-being:

  • Delegate
    A good manager understands the power of showing trust in the team: making it accountable and showing recognition are stimulants. 
  • Be a haven of serenity
    A manager who loses their temper, adding to the pressure of the crisis, does nothing to improve the work environment or morale. A good manager is capable of staying calm. 
  • Communicate and smile
    There is nothing worse for teams than a sullen or withdrawn manager. Bad moods are contagious. 
  • Keep a sense of humour
    Humour has a relaxing effect and puts business in perspective. 
  • Inspire others
    Managers and staff are forced to spend a large part of their lives together. That being the case, it's better for the manager to provide inspiration, be receptive and open to suggestions.
  • Leave room for privacy
    A good manager makes it tacitly understood by staff that they have a right to privacy outside of working hours: no meetings after 7pm, empathy for family, attention to every individual's well-being, etc. 
  • "Well done", "thank you", "yes" and "no" are part of a good manager's vocabulary
    Recognition is a key to motivation, a well-known fact that can also be quickly forgotten. Congratulating staff, making achievements known to the hierarchy, not taking all the credit, but also taking decisions that are not always popular, assuming responsibility for mistakes: these are tasks that can require abnegation. They are difficult but indispensable.

Slow and steady wins the race. Make staff accountable and share with them

Base Design is a branding agency whose creative director, Thierry Brunfaut, gives us a methodology based on responsibility and autonomy for all, enabling him to get more done while working less. His week features four moments of truth with his team. Apart from these four informal meetings, team members work when and where they like, and in some cases even choose their work team, the only rule being that projects have to be well-managed.

  • Monday morning: the three challenges of the week
    It takes just 20 minutes for each team member to post their three challenges of the week on post-its that will stay up until the following Monday. Each challenge must have a clear aim, a deadline and a public commitment to achieve it.
  • Wednesday morning: how far have we come since Monday? 
    Three hours to discuss the state of play of projects under way, to encourage feedback and share feelings, humour, the important event of the week, expectations of the meeting and commitment to the team's success.
  • Midday Thursday: time to share a meal!
    Taking the time to get to know each other is key to working well together. 
  • Friday afternoon: flashback on the week
    Time to take stock of the challenges. A goal met gives a sense of achievement. A goal not met teaches us about mistakes made and helps us to identify areas for improvement.
(Sources: ,,


BNP Paribas Group, first quarter 2019 results

The business of BNP Paribas was up this quarter for the three operating divisions with in particular a gradual upturn in the business of CIB. Economic growth slowed down in Europe but remained positive. After the crisis in the markets at the end of 2018, the market context remained lackluster at the beginning of the quarter, but improved towards the end of the period.

Director and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas, Jean-Laurent Bonnafé:
“BNP Paribas delivered a good level of result this quarter, at 1.9 billion euros. Revenues were up thanks to business growth in the operating divisions with in particular an upturn in client business at CIB. Operating expenses were well contained and benefitted from cost saving measures, generating a positive jaws effect.”

BNP Q1 2019 results 1

BNP Q1 2019 results 2

One pager with the results
The press release



Do companies really want a more sustainable world?

Yes, the success of our Sustainable Business Ateliers is good proof of that. Most companies are aware of their social responsibility, but some are in need of information. To help them on their way, BNP Paribas Fortis organises regular regional Sustainable Business Workshops. Last year, our bank organised two pilot sessions in Liège and Limburg and more recently it was the turn of Namur, Gits (in West Flanders) and Ghent. Other Belgian cities will be announced soon.


During the Sustainable Business Workshops the invited clients are inspired by the experts from our Sustainable Business Competence Centre, and by other clients who speak about the actions they have already taken with their business.

After the presentations, participants are divided into groups and share experiences led by a moderator.

How do clients rate them?

Feedback from the participants revealed that the focus on cooperation and networking opportunities are the greatest advantages of the Workshops. Those attending always include representatives of small, medium-sized and large businesses from a variety of sectors - a diversity which participants find highly enriching. After all, no single company can overcome all of the present challenges on its own. Companies will not only have to cooperate with one another, but also with the government, universities, startups, etc. to make progress.

According to the participants, BNP Paribas Fortis is also the only financial service provider that goes great lengths to support companies in the area of sustainable business, by analysing at which stage of the sustainable business path the companies are and by guiding them to use sustainability as an opportunity for their activities.

Do you want to participate in one of our Sustainable Business Workshops? Please contact your Relationship Manager for the practical details.

Not a client yet? And do you want to know more about the guidance we offer and the benefits of sustainability for your company? Discover what our Sustainable Business Competence Centre can do for you.



Solvay links the cost of credit to a reduction in greenhouse gases

Solvay has agreed new terms in an existing €2 billion revolving credit facility, linking the cost of credit to a reduction in greenhouse gases. Solvay concluded this positive incentive agreement with its syndicate of nine banks. BNP Paribas Fortis is acting as Sustainability Coordinator and agent bank to Solvay’s long-term banking partners.

Solvay announced in September 2018 a commitment to cut greenhouse gases from its own operations by 1 million tonnes by 2025 relative to 2017 levels. The Group intends to achieve this reduction by further improving energy efficiency, energy mix and by investing in clean technologies. “We seek to integrate sustainability into all key aspects of our business, including financing. Associating Solvay's ambitious greenhouse gas emissions target to the cost of credit is a logical step. The successful teaming up with our banks shows that the way towards more sustainability is a collective effort," said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay.

I am proud that Solvay has mandated BNP Paribas Fortis to introduce a Positive Incentive Loan mechanism that supports Solvay’s ambitions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This innovative solution is a clear example of how we and the syndicated banks we represent aim to serve our clients in terms of value creation. Collaboration between banks and clients is key in driving the economy forward to a more sustainable future,” said Max Jadot, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis.

Read the full Press Release

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