New report confirms people-centred workplace practices crucial for recovering Europe's competitivenes

Establishments with more extensive practices for direct employee participation
score better in terms of performance and well-being according to findings in
the new report from Eurofound's third European Company Survey launched at a
joint EU Presidency conference in Riga today. The report also highlights that
‘win-win' arrangements often include practices that draw on employees tacit
knowledge but warns that these ‘win-win' outcomes are not a given even when
favourable practices are in place. The European Company Survey maps workplace
practices in terms of work organisation, human resource management, direct
participation and social dialogue.

Other results show that despite the crisis, most managers (84%) and employee
representatives (67%) report a ‘good' or ‘very good' work climate, and the vast
majority of establishments make available a variety of instruments to
facilitate direct employee participation. Establishments that offer a broad
range of variable pay schemes also perform better in terms of well-being and

The survey found that more than half (56%) of employee representatives report
they can use as much of their working time as is necessary to carry out their
duties, 32% had received training and 37% have access to external advice.

The majority of establishments provide paid time off for training (71%) or
on-the-job training (73%) for at least some of their employees. However, while
the majority of establishments provide training for at least some of their
employees, 13% of establishments do not provide any training at all. In this
context, barriers to the provision of training by companies need to be
addressed, paying attention to the ways in which workers learn and develop.

Social dialogue is functioning well in a large proportion of establishments,
but there also is a sizeable group where a lack of resourcing and a lack of
trust go hand-in-hand with a high likelihood of industrial action. The
availability of resources for employee representatives varies greatly between

‘Achieving ‘win-win' outcomes is not guaranteed even when favourable practices
are in place,' says Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Eurofound's Director. ‘Policymakers
and the social partners have a role to play in fostering best practice, raising
awareness and implementing initiatives at sectoral level.'

The 3rd European Company Survey was carried out at a time when Europe was only
just starting to recover from the biggest crisis to hit the world since the
Great Depression of the 1930s. For many companies, therefore, the crisis is
likely to have had a major influence on the experiences which they report.

The focus of the report links to the EU's Europe 2020 strategy - in particular,
its flagship initiatives for the ‘innovation union', ‘industrial policy for the
globalisation era', and ‘agenda for new skills and jobs'. If these are to
succeed, what happens in European workplaces is crucial. Recently, the debate
has centred on workplace innovation, which stresses the importance of tapping
into the tacit knowledge of employees to achieve ‘win-win' outcomes that
simultaneously benefit both companies and employees.

More info - Source: Eurofound