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July 2013: News in Brief

July 2013: News in Brief

The importance of involvement at work

A major report from Eurofound based on the European Working Conditions Survey has demonstrated both the importance of employee involvement, and the scope for improvement in the UK.

The report  found that the vast majority of workers in Europe were in workplaces offering little chance for involvement in decision-making, both in terms of their immediate tasks and the wider organisational issues at work. The UK is close to the EU average in terms of the number of employees in high-involvement organisations, behind the Nordic and central European countries. Countries with higher union membership levels tended to have more employees in high-involvement workplaces.

The amount of involvement tended to vary significantly according to the type of job. Low skilled work and jobs involving routine machine production tended to offer much fewer opportunities for involvement. Conversely, higher skilled jobs and those involving IT were more involving. Organisations with a strong HR capacity tended to offer more involving work as did those with established representative channels such as trade union relationships.

The lack of involvement at work in the UK is worrying given the evidence it finds on the positive impacts of involvement. Eurofound showed that involving workplaces were more likely to train their staff and offer flexible working. There was a significant impact on health and safety: workers in high-involvement workplaces were less likely to think their job had a negative impact on their health, they were less stressed and took fewer days off sick. Employees at involving workplaces were also more motivated.


Spending review – Osborne turns the screw

The government has announced plans to abolish automatic wage increments in the public sector as part of its efforts to reduce public spending and narrow the deficit. The change will initially hit civil servants and will soon be expanded into teaching, health and the police.

The move comes on top of the continuing 1% pay cap for public servants. It has been roundly criticised by the trade unions representing those affected including Prospect and the PCSU.


The Spending Review saw the Chancellor announce some £11.5 billion of further spending cuts though the NHS, schools and international development budgets were protected. Local Government was amongst the biggest losers, with cuts of 10% in addition to those already announced.


Employee Engagement through a CEO’s eyes – New research released

Research carried out by Ashbridge Business School for Engage for Success has examined how CEOs see employee engagement. It shows they understand engagement to be an encompassing dialogue and a strategic narrative within an organisation. This leads to a sense of purpose and emotional connection from staff with the outcome being a climate where staff give the best of themselves at work.

The research identified three barriers that prevented CEOs from getting involved with engagement. First, shortcomings in leadership capability, such as lack of self-awareness, can hinder engagement. Second, some leaders recognised that they themselves could be a barrier to engagement in terms of disengaging traits or behaviours. Third, CEOs acknowledged that the culture, system and hierarchies within an organisation could be a block to engagement.

The research can be downloaded from the Engage for Success website here.