The European Union’s Europe 2020 strategy aims to address the shortcomings of the European growth model and to create the conditions for ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’. The findings of the ECS 2013 are of particular interest for the ‘innovation union’, ‘industrial policy for the globalisation era’, and ‘agenda for new skills and jobs’ flagship initiatives, the success of which depends on what goes on in European workplaces.
The recent debate centres 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.
Another important factor shaping European workplaces and a key element of the European social model is social dialogue. While it could be argued that social dialogue includes elements of the direct participation that features highly in the debate on workplace innovation, the policy focus is on the two-way communication – consultation and negotiation – at various levels, between representatives of workers and employers.
• Despite the crisis, most managers (84%) and employee representatives (67%) report a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ work climate.
• Around 20% of establishments outsource part of their design and development, production, and sales and marketing activities, but full outsourcing is rare.
• Teamwork is practised in 73% of establishments, with 32% of establishments having employees in more than one team at the same time. In 67% of establishments, at least some employees rotate tasks with other employees.
• Autonomous teams exist in 20% of establishments. Employ- ees make decisions about daily tasks jointly with managers in 40% of establishments, and by themselves in an addi- tional 6%.
• The majority of establishments provide paid time off for training (71%) or on-the-job training (73%) for at least some of their employees.
• Establishments increasingly make use of flexible working time arrangements and part-time work: in 2013, 66% of establishments offered flexitime to at least some of their employees and 69% had at least one employee working part time.
• Almost two-thirds of establishments (63%) use some kind of variable pay schemes – and multiple types of variable pay are prevalent.
• The vast majority of establishments make available a variety of instruments to facilitate direct employee participation.
• 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 availability of resources for employee representatives varies greatly between countries.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Third European Company Survey – Overview report: Workplace practices – Patterns, performance and well-being