Unlocking Employee Potential – Workplace practices in Europe

This report is based on the fourth edition of the European Company Survey (ECS), which was carried out jointly by Eurofound and Cedefop in 2019. It describes a wide range of practices and strategies implemented by European companies in terms of work organisation, human resource management, skills use and skills development, and employee voice.

Key findings

  • The ECS 2019 demonstrates that companies can design their workplace practices to help generate outcomes that benefit both workers and employers. Businesses can boost performance while improving aspects of workers’ job quality by bundling practices that increase employee autonomy, facilitate employee voice and promote training and learning.
  • Around one fifth of EU workplaces have these beneficial bundles of practices in place. Successful examples can be found across all types of business regardless of country, size, sector, or competitiveness strategy.
  • The most successful firms not only have facilitating practices in place, they also have a supportive management.
  • Training is an important way to achieve positive workplace outcomes. Most workplaces in the EU offer at least some training to at least some workers, but only a few offer comprehensive training and learning opportunities.
  • Businesses with strong workplace social dialogue score better on performance and wellbeing. Workplaces with involving, trusting and influential social dialogue are also more likely to have regular, direct employee participation that makes a difference on the ground.
  • Workplace practices :

    • Many jobs still offer little autonomy and few challenges: in 36% of EU27 establishments, a small proportion of workers (fewer than one in five) can organise their work autonomously, and in 42%, a similarly small proportion are in a job requiring problem-solving.
    • Establishments use non-monetary incentives to motivate employees more frequently than monetary incentives.
    • 71% of workers in EU27 establishments have skills matching their job requirements; 16% on average are overskilled, while 13% are underskilled.
    • Only 4% of establishments did not provide any training in the year prior to the survey.
    • More than two-thirds (70%) of managers think that involving employees in changes to the work organisation gives the establishment a competitive advantage.
    • An official structure for employee representation was reported in 29% of establishments; 28% of establishments are members of an employer organisation.
    • Among establishments with an employee representation, those where management has a trusting and constructive relationship with the employee representation, and where the employee representation can influence management decision-making, score better on workplace well-being and establishment performance.

    Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ European Company Survey 2019 – Workplace practices unlocking employee potential | Eurofound


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