Headlines: October 22nd, 1998

A new survey shows that partnership working, training and family friendly working practices lead to higher levels of employee commitment and job satisfaction.The 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey involved the DTI, ACAS, the Economic and Social Research Council, and Policy Studies Institute. It covered the views of 30,000 employees, 1,000 worker representatives and managers in over 3,000 workplaces, making it the largest survey of its kind.Key findings from the research show that more than half of workplaces have mechanisms to promote employee involvement and these same workplaces have had the highest levels of productivity growth.

They also show that 85 per cent of workplaces with union members recognise such membership, that more than 90 per cent of workplaces allow employees to be accompanied at grievance and disciplinary hearings, and that 97 per cent of employees are entitled to take time off for family emergencies.

Ian McCartney, DTI Minister of State, said: “The survey shows that it makes good business sense for organisations to build trust and a greater sense of partnership at the workplace. Managers who are good at consulting their workforces benefit from a more committed and satisfied workforce.

“However, we should not be complacent. The survey reminds us that there is considerable room for improvement. One in three workers had had no training in the past year. And nearly five out of ten had no entitlement to family friendly working arrangements like job sharing.

“Our Fairness at Work proposals address these shortcomings. They foster cultural change and the partnership approach at the workplace. They can help transform more businesses into modern companies with committed and productive workforces.”
The survey results are posted on the web at: www.dti.gov.uk/emar