Achieving high performance, employee health and engagement from Eduard Iacob's blog

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Achieving high performance, employee health and engagement

Two things are clear.

Firstly, a vast and growing body of evidence and experience shows that workplace innovation practices which empower employees to make day-to-day-decisions, challenge established practices, contribute ideas and be heard at the most senior levels lead to better business results as well as enhanced workforce health and engagement.

Secondly there is a substantial gap between “what works” and what happens in the majority of workplaces. Most surveys suggest that only around 15% of private or public sector workplaces are making fullest possible use of evidence-based practices equally associated with high performance and employee health.

US research shows that workplace innovation has a substantial effect on efficiency, with performance premiums ranging between 15 and 30 percent. One of the most significant European studies, a survey of 6000 workplaces in Europe, confirms that direct employee participation can have strong positive impacts on productivity, innovation and quality. Of firms which implemented semi-autonomous groups, 68 per cent enjoyed reductions in costs, 87 per cent reported reduced throughput times, 98 per cent improved products and services, and 85 per cent increased sales.

Extensive Swedish surveys found a very clear link between participative forms of work and performance: these organisations were more productive (+20-60%), showed a much lower rate of personnel turnover (-21%), and a lower rate of absence due to illness (-24%) compared with traditionally organised operational units.

The benefits of workplace innovation for employees are also demonstrated by a substantial body of research. Participative work practices such as self-organised teamwork enhance employee motivation and quality of working life, playing a particularly important role in reducing employee stress, enhancing job satisfaction and mental health, and improving retention.

Such factors in the work environment include empowering job design, self-organised teamworking, structured opportunities for reflection, learning and improvement, high involvement innovation practices, the encouragement of entrepreneurial behaviour at all levels of the organisation, and employee representation in strategic decision-making. These workplace practices enhance the ability of employers to secure a full return on their investments in training and technology, generating multiple improvements in performance, innovation and quality of working life.

Our approach, The Essential  Fifth Element, offers a practical, evidence-based approach to understanding the workplace innovations that lead to enhanced business performance and working life. It has found many applications in organisations across Europe, including the Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme involving 19 Scottish companies.

Discover more about The Essential  Fifth Element, see how our Diagnostic employee survey helps you identify and implement critical changes in working practices, and download details of our accredited Leading Workplace Innovation programme.

There is still time to join us, together with MBDA, Leo Pharma and other innovative companies at Engaging Everyone in Innovation, including a workshop hosted by SAAB Aerospace, on 22nd-23rd March in Linköping, Sweden. Or if you’re concerned with mental health in the workplace, the next Good Work & Mental Well-Being Lab event is hosted by Macmillan Cancer Support, on 27th-28th March in Leeds.

Click here to view the Fresh Thinking Labs Programme

Keep in Touch

Fresh Thinking Labs is your platform for learning, development and change across the whole organisation. Its programme is driven by you, and its aim is to help you build an international community of practice to help and support you in driving change forward in your organisation.

We hope you will join us, and welcome further discussion to ensure that Fresh Thinking Labs meets your requirements in every way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Professor Peter Totterdill
Workplace Innovation
20 Fletcher Gate
Nottingham NG1 2FZ

Telephone +44 (0)115 933 8321
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