Workplace innovation supports implementation of European Pillar of Social Rights

  • Frank Pot emeritus Professor of Social Innovation of Work and Employment at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands)
  • Peter Totterdill Director Workplace Innovation Europe CLG (Nottingham, UK and Dublin, Ireland) and Visiting Professor of Kingston University (London, UK) and Mykolas University (Vilnius, Lithuania).
  • Steven Dhondt Research Manager at TNO, The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (Leiden, The Netherlands) and Professor of Workplace Innovation at the University of Leuven (Belgium).


The implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights could be enhanced by stimulating workplace innovation. There is a reciprocal relationship between job quality and innovation capacity as well as between job quality and labour productivity. Whether these relationships are positive (higher job quality, more innovation capacity, higher productivity) or not depends to a large extent on management strategies and workers‘ involvement. Results of ‘participation & trust regimes’ are often better than results of ‘command & control regimes’. Fragmented changes are less beneficial for workers and organisations than joint optimisation of work organisation, technology and labour relations. This joint optimisation together with a ‘participation & trust regime’ is called ‘workplace innovation’ which was adopted in the EU2020 Strategy in October 2012.

The European Commission funded the European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN) from 2013 to 2017. The concept of workplace innovation integrates (parts of) agendas such as innovation, digitisation, productivity, job quality, lifelong learning, wellbeing at work, skills and social dialogue. Activities of EUWIN have been successful in a number of countries and many organisations. However, continuous attention is necessary as well as extension to other countries. The market mechanism does not provide a ‘good jobs economy’ nor ‘upward convergence’ by itself. The policy action of the European Commission should be to continue support for workplace innovation (dissemination, capacity building, research). The partners of EUWIN pledge to do the same in their own countries and to continue international collaboration.