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The new way of working

In order to properly manage the current social dynamics and complexity, it is essential that employees are given the space to contribute their own knowledge and skills.The vision on employee Participation (Medewerkers participatie) cannot therefore be seen in isolation from the idea of ​​professional space and the desire to increase the agility and flexibility of the organization.

The participation of employee in the way companies are managed

Definition of Employee Participation
“The whole of formal and informal forms of consultation, in which “ employees “ influence decision-making, working conditions and the functioning of the organization”. The perspectives of employee and organization are interrelated.

Employee Participation
Employee Participation focuses on the influence of the employees in and on their daily activities and is a means by which employees, in the organization, actively participate in the discussions regarding the policy plans and take part in the decision-making in the department plans. In doing so, the organization shows that employees are important, the organization shares important management information with the employee and shows that it takes the contribution of employees seriously.

Why Employee Participation?
Nowadays employees are increasingly verbal and highly educated, are used to thinking along and often want their opinions to be heard. An entrepreneur/manager who does not use this brainpower is doing himself short. By involving employees in the decision-making, these – often better and practical decisions – gain greater support. Let employees look for solutions themselves, give them the space to do so and then discuss the options they put forward. Those who come up with a solution themselves are much more eager to implement it properly than those who are instructed to do so by their manager. Employee Participation is not a goal in itself but contributes to the sustainable success and better performance of the organization. In short, an energetic organization!Why would an organization choose to let employees participate in decisions? Various motives are mentioned for this in the literature. We will discuss (1) motivation and commitment, (2) job satisfaction and absenteeism and (3) productivity and results.

Motivation and commitment
A first important motive for Employee Participation is that it contributes to the motivation and commitment of employees, to the quality of the work and to the satisfaction of employees with their work. The importance of the humanistic perspective is emphasized: by offering space for participation. Organizations meet the non-material needs of employees. The recognition for their efforts improve and the space for creativity and for self-development improves. Employees are more motivated for their work if they can influence their own work. This relationship is supported by research into so-called “high involvement organizations”. These organizations show better results in terms of the quality of work, the quality of products and services, productivity and the number of complaints from customers. The turnover of personnel was also lower.

Job satisfaction and absenteeism
Greater motivation and higher involvement are closely related to the room for employees to make their own decisions at work. In this context, Employee Participation is therefore associated with regulatory control capacity of employees. The ability of employees to influence how and when they do their work. Work stress studies indicate that control capacity is an important moderating variable. Employees can easily cope with a heavy load, both in size and complexity, provided they have sufficient opportunity or space to manage the implementation themselves. This argues in favor of organizing the work into complete tasks and not dividing tasks unnecessarily. It also advocates organizing decisions about work as close to implementation as possible.

An approach in which employees actively participate and take ownership of their situation also gives employees a sense of responsibility and control and will therefore help in making the processes surrounding employability and sick-leave management to be perceived as fair and important. 

Productivity and results
Employee Participation is also associated with productivity and organizational results, among other things because the knowledge of employees is better utilized and because employees are more motivated to implement decisions in which they, themselves, have been involved or know more about. There is a growing number of research findings that support this connection. 

The positive relationship between employee participation in better organizational results (in terms of productivity or financial results) can be traced back to three variables.

Firstly, this is an improvement of communication and coordination within an organization, so that tasks are better coordinated. Employee participation contributes to the smooth integration of tasks.

A second explanation is the motivation of employees. This is higher when they are involved in decisions about their work, especially when their needs are met.

The third variable relates to the skills of employees. Active involvement of employees in solving problems and issues at work is often accompanied by forms of training  or (formal or otherwise) learning.