Workplace Innovation - Europe's competitive Edge

A manifesto for enhanced performance and working lives

2022 – This manifesto by EUWIN Members and Honorary Advisors addresses the European Social Pillar agenda as well as the broader policy priorities of DG EMPL and DG GROW. It summarises the nature, origins and policy significance of workplace innovation, making a case for enhanced recognition throughout Europe’s policy eco-system.

The manifesto deals with the following topics (summary).

  1. What is workplace innovation?

EUWIN describes workplace innovation as “new and combined interventions in work organisation, human resource management, labour relations and supportive technologies". The term describes a participatory process of innovation which leads to empowering workplace practices and sustains continuing learning, reflection and innovation.

The main goal of Workplace Innovation is the simultaneous achievement of high performance and high quality of working life and contributing to wider society.

It is a useful concept for policymakers, enterprises, employees, and other stakeholders.

  1. If it works, why isn’t everyone doing it?

The manifesto mentions several reasons for companies not to practice workplace innovation, such as: ‘lack of knowledge and/or management skills’, a ‘short term focus’ and ‘waiting to see what competitors will do’.

And it concludes:

Altogether this indicates a pressing need for social partners and governments to work together in designing and implementing new forms of soft regulation, promoting and resourcing workplace innovation through awareness campaigns, capacity building, knowledge dissemination, the creation of learning networks, social partner agreements, research, and direct support to businesses.

  1. Workplace innovation’s long EU pedigree

The manifesto concludes here: Workplace innovation’s longstanding position (the manifesto refers to a first EU study in 2001) within EU policy, culminating in its firm recognition within the European Pillar of Social Rights, places an unavoidable obligation on the Commission to act in ways that encourage and resource its wider adoption by businesses in all Member States.

  1. The role of policies for workplace innovation

The importance of development of skills is generally underlined.

However, the most crucial development of skills occurs through informal learning on the job – but mainly when appropriate workplace practices support it. Creating the best conditions for such continuous learning presupposes deliberate policy to design high-quality jobs with task complexity, job autonomy, skill discretion and organisational participation.

5. The role of EUWIN

EUWIN’s thirteen-strong international partnership actively promotes the sharing of knowledge and experience between different countries and stimulates collaboration in joint actions and research.

EUWIN argues for a consistent, long-term and adequately funded European policy framework based on joined-up action across the Commission (especially DG EMPL, GROW and RTD).


EUWIN-Members and Honorary advisors: ‘Workplace Innovation – Europe’s competitive Edge. A manifesto for enhanced performance and working lives’. European Journal of Workplace Innovation. Volume 7, Issue 1, April 2022.