Working better by working together - Workplace Innovation shows European companies the way forward
Workplace innovation is the big trend in Europe right now, and to talk about it Business Planet went to Vilnius in Lithuania to speak to Rasa Rotomskiene. Rasa is one of the ambassadors of the European Workplace Innovation Network, so what does that mean?
- Nowadays, to stay ahead of your competitors it is not enough to invest in the newest technologies. Successful companies also need to exploit the non-technological aspects of running a business.
- The structure of the company, Human Resources management, internal decision-making, the work environment – all these elements help gain and keep market advantage. This is called workplace innovation.
- Workplace innovation improves motivation and working conditions for employees, which leads to increased labour productivity, innovation capability, market resilience, and overall business competitiveness.
- To push the uptake of these kind of innovations by European companies the European Commission launched the European Workplace Innovation Network (EU WIN) in 2013.
- European Workplace innovation network (EUWIN) portal
- EU website on workplace innovation policy
- EUWIN Knowledge Bank
- EUWIN Film Bank
“Well. It’s about all these soft aspects that help running your business and gaining competitive advantages which require creativity rather than large financial investment. And it’s about innovative ways of work organisation, company management, working environment and similar things,” she says.
It is a weekly routine at the medium-sized industrial company, Arginta. The workers gather for a rather special meeting. The goal is to identify production glitches and work out together why they occur, and how to solve them to increase efficiency.
This company’s organisation was totally overhauled two years ago. At that time there were only three quality controllers, but now all 200 employees are invited to take part. This new organisation is based on a completely new management style.
“Quality improvement decisions can be made by all the employees in the company. That is not depending on any level where the employee is. Financial bonuses nowadays are purely depending on the team results, not on individual results,” says Business Development Director Tomas Jaskelevicius.
This all has an effect on the workers’ commitment and productivity, and the results of this new system are very interesting. The company was losing money in 2013, but is now back in the black. It is in the top three of its sector, transforming and installing metal structures and panels. The company has also developed an extensive sub-contractors network in Lithuania, and has more than hit its quality improvement targets.
“Today, our quality ratio is over 99%, and that is a very good result compared to two years ago, 80%… The quality is the most important for our worldwide customers, as they treat the quality as priority number one,” says Tomas.
Is this purely a one-off gain, or can the system be continuously applied?
“My advice for Tomas would be just to keep going. Keep your staff engaged and motivated, ensure top management commitment and enjoy what you are doing,” says Rasa Rotomskiene.
The European Workplace Innovation Network was set up by the European Commission, and brings together 1500 experts to help companies better understand the methods and efficiency of this kind of approach with a database, newsletters, and various events and conferences.
So what should you do if you want to know more for your company?
Rasa explains: “It’s free. It’s open for everybody to join, you just need to register online, and you will get access to network events and resources.”