does corporate benevolence pay off?

a former employer had the corporate values of "benevolence, efficiency and collaboration". unfortunately, the boots didn't follow the shoes, and I handed in my resignation... as did six other colleagues out of a team of eight in the space of a few weeks!

the data speak for themselves: a toxic corporate culture is by far the main cause of an employee's departure, and a factor ten times more important than dissatisfaction with remuneration in predicting resignation.

According to a study published in 2022, the main factors contributing to toxic cultures are a lack of promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion, a feeling of disrespect for workers, and unethical behavior.

in a context of shortage of main-d'œuvre, what organization can still afford to be falsely benevolent?


over the past year, i've been able to see, at mainWe're not swimming in rainbows, and there's always room for improvement, but "setting an example" is one of main's strategic priorities, and this is also expressed in the work environment the team has decided to create.


Firstly, one of the things I'm grateful for is that the team has a clear framework that applies to all team members. As an organization, we aim for effectiveness and efficiency, but these "rules of the game" give me a great deal of autonomy, enabling me to strive for a real balance between work and the rest of my life.

  • adoption of a 35-hour working week with no reduction in salary.
    we could probably all work 50 hours a week. there's no shortage of projects. however, having made the common "contract" of 35 hours a week as a team, we more often come to question whether our priorities really are priorities, whether the return on investment of time is worth the candle, and whether the effort is justified.
  • overtime that is justified, justifiable, validated by the team and taken back.
    some projects (allô le sommet des accélérateurs) or times of the year (allô end of financial year) require a helping hand, but the team has agreed that this should not be the norm. moreover, this overtime is not volunteer work. it is credited to a bank of time to be taken back.
  • a schedule that encourages collaboration and flexibility.
    the team has established that from monday to thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the priority is work. for the rest, employees have the flexibility to establish the best schedule for them. for my part, my daily schedule is variable, but most weeks i've decided to condense my hours to work only from monday to thursday. this makes for an intense four days, but peace of mind for a long weekend every week. This makes for an intense four days, but peace of mind for a long weekend every week. In addition, the team has adopted a common block of concentration time on Tuesday afternoons, with no meetings and dedicated to moving projects forward.


Secondly, I'm really pleased that main has decided to name expectations in terms of "response". This avoids frustration and usually ensures that what's really important is addressed, while preserving team members' energy.

  • clear expectations about communications and how things get done.
    the team has made it clear that taking emails and slack messages outside office hours is not expected. if there's a real emergency, we call each other on our cell phones. (in 18 months, it's happened to me once. hello boss!) the team has established that slack is the primary internal communication channel and that we don't use email for internal communications, with rare exceptions. on the other hand, the organization does offer physical collaboration spaces to work "in person", but telecommuting is the de facto option.
  • the right to rest.
    six weeks of "vacation", from the first year without having to accumulate them. yes, you read that right! there are three weeks (one in June and two around christmas) during which the whole office is closed, and three weeks to place on the calendar according to one's choice, from the first year on the job.


finally, and this is where the organizational culture really comes into its own, team members need to keep in mind that we're working with people, not numbers.

  • promoting a culture of collaboration.
    since its foundation, main has always been driven by the conviction that collaboration is the way to amplify the impact of actions. The organization also applies this motto to its operations, organizing twice-yearly team retreats that use the strength of the group to create action plans that are coherent with the needs of the ecosystem and engaging for the team.
  • listening.
    mainThe results of these surveys are shared with the entire team on a regular basis. Members of management have noted that this practice has made it possible to concretely integrate elements of continuous improvement into operations, increase the commitment of team members and optimize the flow of information.
  • promoting well-being.
    in addition to offering a group insurance plan, the possibility of contributing to a group RRSP with an employer contribution, main offers its employees a discretionary monthly credit. each employee has a $50 credit applicable to wellness-related expenses and a $100 credit applicable to telecommuting-related expenses, all offered through the application of Quebec startup tedy.
  • reminding ourselves on a daily basis that we are all human.
    one of the elements of the culture that i like the most is that the team has adopted a code for letting colleagues know when you need to take it easy, when you're going through something unpleasant or when you need support from the team. there's no need to flaunt your private life in public if you don't feel like it. simply adding the octopus emoji (🐙) to your slack profile is enough to signal that you're in "please treat gently" mode. using this code is part of the induction process for all new recruits.


as brené brown, the standard-bearer of organizational management practiced with courage and vulnerability, often says, "clarity is kind".clear is kindby setting expectations in this way, main This culture gives me the courage to speak up when something "sticks", because I know I can count on my colleagues to go into solution mode and address what's not working. i know we can have difficult conversations with empathy, working collectively to minimize pain and maximize happiness. that's why on sunday evenings, i have zero stomach ache when i think about work on monday.

benevolence pays off?


- Caroline Cloutier