Société Générale’s 870 Belval-based employees can reach their offices by bus directly from Thionville, Arlon, Habay or Messancy. Photos: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne/Société Générale. Montage: Maison Moderne

Société Générale’s 870 Belval-based employees can reach their offices by bus directly from Thionville, Arlon, Habay or Messancy. Photos: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne/Société Générale. Montage: Maison Moderne

To retain or recruit new talent, some companies are offering their employees extra benefits. To get to their offices in Belval, Société Générale employees have their own shuttles. It’s a measure put in place to accompany the move of the teams to Belval.

. Part of the workforce--1,120 employees according to Luxembourg’s statistics bureau Statec--will move to its new city-centre headquarters, the Arsenal, in September. These staff members mainly work in front office functions: private and corporate banking and some support functions.

An additional 870 employees, mainly in the support, back and middle office functions, have started to move to the . The move began on 5 June and will be completed in September. The bank has put in place a number of measures to support employees affected by this change of workplace, one of which is the return of the shuttle buses.

The concept: two return trips a day from France and Belgium

Starting in September, two buses--operated by Emile Weber and each with 65 seats--will leave every morning from Thionville and head for Belval. One will depart at 7am, the other at 7.30am. Two additional shuttles will enable employees from Belgium to commute to Société Générale. The first, departing from Habay at 6.45am, has a stop at Messancy. The second, at 7am, leaves from Arlon. Each of these buses has 20 seats. For the return journey, the buses will leave at 5.30pm and 6pm for France and at 5pm and 5.45pm for Belgium.

The company surveyed its teams to determine the number of seats needed and the timetable, given that employees can organise their days flexibly, as long as they arrive before 9.30 in the morning. 60% of Belval-based employees live in France, 7% in Belgium. The shuttle system began on 5 June--with the move--and is now running at reduced capacity due to holidays and the fact that not all teams have yet moved to the new building.

How well are they being used? “It’s too early to have any statistics. But the shuttles are used every day, whether from Thionville or Belgium,” says human resources director Aurélie Ederle. “We have employees who use them morning and evening. But there is flexibility of use, and others take the train in the morning and the shuttle in the evening, for example.”

The bank leaves itself the possibility of adapting the frequency of the shuttles after the start of the school year, depending on usage.

How much does it cost the company?

The shuttles are free for employees, but will cost the bank “between €220,000 and €225,000 over the next six months.”

What's in it for the company?

“The main benefit is the attractiveness, both internally and externally,” says Ederle. “It’s part of Société Générale’s culture to be a responsible employer and to support change. It seemed natural to do so.”

What’s more, “an employee to whom you offer flexible and supportive working conditions will have a lower rate of absenteeism, greater commitment and lasting employer loyalty.”

What does Société Générale hope to achieve?

The HR department hopes to reduce staff turnover by “two to three percentange points”--it was “around 9%” at the end of 2022--and “to have an external impact.”

Other measures to accompany the move

The shuttles are one of the three measures in the “transport” package set up by the bank to accompany their teams’ move. In addition, there is a partnership with Klaxit, through which employees can carpool with other members of the company (the use of the Société Générale logo on profiles allows colleagues to meet up on the platform) or other members of the platform. The passenger must pay 50 cents per journey to the driver, who in turn benefits from government support.

Société Générale is also offering a “parking for all” approach. Although it does not have 870 spaces, it rents some in the Terres Rouges car park. And if both options are full, the company reimburses the employee for parking elsewhere in Belval. “Today, this is the most widely used support measure.” The cost of these other measures was not given.

“The building itself contributes to the attractiveness of the site,” says the HR director.

Other well-being measures

In addition to flexible working hours, there are other tools to promote a balance between private and professional life. “We have set up a sports hall to enable our employees to take part in sporting activities during their working hours, free of charge, along with equipment and lessons.”

Those who work in one of the company’s two buildings will also be able to use the other one from time to time, for reasons related to personal or professional organisation.

This article was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.