Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Staff and Workplace Innovation Will Drive Productivity in Scotland, Says Minister

22/08/2016 - Scottish businesses with ambitions to grow are today being urged to empower their staff to innovate in order to drive productivity, as Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse launches a new workplace innovation service from Scottish Enterprise.

Hosted by conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, today’s launch event will contain a masterclass on how employers can redesign jobs to deliver a range of business benefits including increased productivity, decreased staff turnover and reduced absence.

Research from the US shows productivity can rise by up to 30 per cent for those investing in workplace innovation. A Dutch study also indicated 75 per cent of successful business innovation is actually through changes to managerial, organisational and work practices at an operational level. Recent research in the UK found that poor leadership and management practices account for productivity losses equivalent to £19bn per annum.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: “Evidence shows that a fairly treated workforce is a more productive workforce and that’s good for individuals, good for business and Scotland’s economy, and at the heart of the Government’s Economic Strategy.

“International evidence shows that tackling inequalities and boosting competitiveness go hand in hand. We want our economy to thrive, delivering more, better paid jobs and the relationship between employers and their employees is crucial. More and more successful Scottish businesses recognise that their employees must feel valued, rewarded and engaged in their work.

“Innovative and creative approaches are vital both to engage a workforce and increase productivity. That is why I am particularly pleased to help launch this new strategy, which I am sure will help companies and employees across Scotland.”

Adrian Gillespie, Managing Director of Growth Companies, Innovation and Infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise said: “The way workplaces are organised and employees are engaged is more important than ever before. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that innovative workplaces are more productive and competitive, in short they are more successful. We want our new Workplace Innovation Service to support companies find new ways of engaging the creativity and skills of their people to drive success.”

Professor Patricia Findlay of Strathclyde Business School, who leads a team of workplace innovation researchers, will highlight case studies and international research on good practice in relation to workplace innovation and notes that: “There is increasing evidence that innovating works for businesses, for employees and for society. Yet many businesses don’t think of innovation as something that is especially relevant to them. By thinking about new ways to get the best out of your people, processes and relationships, businesses can create value and improve performance while also delivering fair work for their employees. Getting that message out and supporting businesses to innovate is crucially important.”

John Reid, General Manager at Michelin Dundee, who will talk about how redesigning jobs has empowered Michelin's employees to deliver for the business, said: “For any team to achieve success it must rely on every individual in the team, top to bottom, contributing all their talents and efforts. Unfortunately, many organisations only manage to scratch the surface and miss the opportunity to harness the massive potential of their people. To successfully unlock the potential of a workforce the organisation needs to firstly achieve the engagement and motivation of their people. Only then can you successfully empower them and develop their potential. Key ingredients are Respect, Transparency and Trust all aligned with a clear and simple focus.”

Lindsay Macpherson, HR Director at the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland, who will share RZSS Edinburgh Zoo’s experiences in developing people management approaches that have stimulated workplace innovation, said:

“At the heart of what we have been trying to do at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is let our employees have ownership of what they do, how it impacts on them, their colleagues, the organisation and how they can influence things. Whilst it is still early days for us, thanks to the support of Scottish Enterprise we have been able to develop the tools and resources needed to help our staff achieve their aims.”

The Scottish Enterprise workplace innovation service is aimed at supporting companies increase productivity and business performance by unlocking hidden talent and innovative new ideas or work processes from their existing staff and organisational structures. It consists of three elements which will be delivered over two years, including a series of master classes, a Workplace Innovation Engagement programme focusing on individual and shared learning and a High Performing Participating Teams approach to support improved performance.

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