Innovative Workplaces: employee engagement in a learning cluster of nine organisations

Acas and Workplace Innovation Limited jointly led an innovative project in the East Midlands designed to help companies improve employee engagement through a combination of individual support and collaborative learning. Participating organisations received three principal forms of support:

Firstly an initial ILM-accredited short course provided a reflective space in which participants could evaluate practices in their own companies relating to work organisation and employee involvement, and could formulate an action plan for the implementation of change. At the final session of the course the plan was presented to the other project participants for peer review and evaluation.

Secondly the participants took part in regular Network meetings led by Workplace Innovation over a full day. The morning sessions were devoted to a thematic discussion of common problems, the afternoon to action-learning sets in which each organisation presented progress, achievements, obstacles and dilemmas for peer review and discussion. Two “Gatekeepers” from each organisation participated in both the inaugural course and the Network meetings: notionally one was a senior manager whose role was to lend authority to the change project and the second had responsibility for its day-to-day implementation. However Gatekeepers were challenged throughout the project to demonstrate the extent and effectiveness of their attempts to involve a much wider cross-section of employees and managers in analysis, diagnosis, planning and implementation.

The third element of support was delivered by Facilitators who maintained regular contact with each organisation, offering support, guidance and signposting to specialist resources.

The independent evaluation of the project undertaken by Nottingham Trent University demonstrated high levels of satisfaction from participating organisations, cost effectiveness in delivering tangible change and value added to company performance.

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Workplace Innovation is an international company that bridges the gap between research and practice, spreading more productive and better ways of working across the UK and Europe.

We are the originators of The Fifth Element, an evidence based approach to workplace innovation and how it can transform your organisation.

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