Productivity and performance benefits with workplace innovation

Eurofound have issued a report based on three case studies (facilitated by SIPTU’s Ideas Institute) where workplace innovation has been utilised.  The research study shows enhanced productivity for the multinational companies concerned following work organisation innovations:

Kirchhoff, an automotive components manufacturer that employs 97 people, where manufacturing capacity has grown significantly leading to surplus production capacity

Medtronic, a medical equipment manufacturer that employs 2,000 people in Galway, productivity has estimated to have doubled

SAICA, a corrugated paper plant that employs 92 people in Co. Meath, there has been improved machine output ranging from 10% – 50%, as well as a better cash flow and reduction in maintenance downtime

Essential lessons coming out of the research:

1) Difficult financial situations can provide favourable contexts for change, but it is critical to communicate the benefits of the change to employees to make sure that everyone understands what they will get out of it. Build understanding of shared goals and benefits to help harness collective motivation to implement innovations.

2) Joint working in small groups is very helpful in overcoming the objections of individuals who were more difficult to influence directly, as collective influence over behavioural and attitudinal change could prove more powerful.

3) Good quality communication between employees and management is ESSENTIAL. Make absolutely sure that employees learn about change before it happens.

4) Delegate as much decision-making responsibility to employees as possible about how to go about making the innovations work – this will help maximise the benefits of work organisation innovations.