Workplace innovation at the BMA Group
2011 – The BMA Group is engaged in consulting, knowledge transfer and project implementation in many areas. BMA is a recognized trainer (also by ESF) and offers training and courses in the field of occupational health & safety, health management, business skills and management & organization. At the time of the ESF application BMA was in a huge growth phase. BMA wanted to approach this growth from the perspective of workplace innovation. The project ‘Trainer 2.0’ was the first concrete activity in the field of workplace innovation. The grant provided an opportunity to investigate the innovation potential.
Why this is workplace innovation
The project involved research within the organization to what in terms of organization, jobs and competences, may lead to higher productivity and better working atmosphere.
An important aim of the project was to increase labor productivity. In addition, an important objective was to give more structure to the fast growing company and create a strong organization through workplace innovation.
Apart from the analysis in the field of labor productivity, there was made an analysis of the innovation potential of the company to find out where there are opportunities to further improve the organization and ensure BMA’s continuity. A major bottleneck showed the dependence of the Director (who is also a large shareholder) and the first administrative assistant. They were overloaded and were responsible for too many important jobs. To reduce the dependence of this Director and the first administrative assistant and to lighten their burden in some areas new people were employed, including a controller and a commercial assistant. Also, these new employees were well trained in the duties of the Director and the first administrative assistant, allowing them to cooperate and to take over tasks if necessary.
And the jobs of the other staff were scrutinized. BMA started with the duties, powers and responsibilities of employees. These were clearly defined for each employee and also some employees got extra jobs others more focus in their job. There was paid attention to the skills of employees so that employees were allocated in the right job.
In addition, employees were made more accountable for their responsibilities because they were allowed to make their own time schedule and to work from home occasionally so they can plan their time more flexible. The staff were involved in all phases of the project: from the development of the project tender, to the declaration. Discussing the progress has been integrated into the weekly staff meeting. To improve internal communication a communication plan was formulated. It was agreed that a quarterly joint consultation will take place in which the company goals and results will be discussed with staff.
The project Trainer 2.0 has caused a tipping point. Especially in the field of duties, powers and responsibilities, results were achieved. There is made more use of the skills of employees and talents were mapped. The work environment has become more enjoyable by the clarification of job roles, increased responsibility and because employees are more informed about the (medium) long term goals of the company. Even in an economic sense, the project Trainer 2.0 delivered results for BMA. Since the project, sales have almost doubled and also labor productivity has increased.
This project has been realized through a grant from ESF action E. ESF Action E provides subsidies to employers who organize operations and working conditions in a smarter way and work more effectively. More information is available on the website of the Agency of the Ministry of Social Affairs. More information about BMA can be found at www.bma.nl.
Attached is the full case description (in Dutch). This description is made by Bureau Bartels in the context of the evaluation of the ESF subsidy scheme.