News in Brief July 2018 Survey reveals potential efficiency gains if managers listen to their employees The Skills and Employment Survey 2017 has shown clear evidence of a link between employee involvement and organisations’ ability to embrace efficiency-enhancing ideas. The survey found that 28% of those with a line manager who was highly supportive were able to put forward efficiency-enhancing ideas, compared with only 13% of those with a less supportive manager. Overall 70% of employees had taken direct action to implement efficiency-enhancing ideas themselves over the past year, but only one in eight (13%) had put forward such suggestions to management. Professor Alan Felstead of Cardiff University who led the research commented, “The big message coming out of our findings is that workers have great ideas about how productivity could be improved. Growth is unlikely to come from simply increasing the supply of skills; employers need to harness the views of their workforce and treat them fairly.” New Commission launched on future of work The Fabian Society and Community have launched a new Commission on Workers and Technology, chaired by Yvette Cooper, to explore the impacts automation will have on UK jobs over the next 10 years. Commenting on the launch, Yvette Cooper said “Technological change opens up the possibility of a positive transformation of the labour market, but there are significant risks that work itself could change for the worse. Politicians, trade unions and business leaders must act now." A survey published to coincide with the launch reveals that under 10% of workers say the government is doing enough to prepare for the arrival of new workplace technologies and only 16% say trade unions in their workplace have been taking steps to ensure technology would improve their working lives. Ford tests motion tracking of employees to reduce stress Ford has begun a test programme at its Valencia Assembly Plant involving the issuing of motion tracking suits to over 70 employees, in a bid to reduce physical stresses on workers’ bodies during the assembly process. The special suits, normally used by elite athletes, track the motions of workers’ arms, legs, shoulders, head and neck to create virtual profiles of the employees’ movements throughout the day. These profiles are then used to adjust workstations to improve posture and comfort and reduce possible strains. The company is now looking to introduce the system to other European facilities.