Workplace Innovation - a guest blog

More than 250 businesses have now signed up to the Scottish Business Pledge.

More than 250 businesses have now signed up to the Scottish Business Pledge. All pay the Living Wage, and all have signalled their commitment to two or more of the other Pledge practices. These Pledge businesses include employers of all sizes, across sectors and industries and from across Scotland and it takes only a quick glance at the list to get an idea of how diverse a group they are. The Pledge companies are also diverse in how they implement Pledge practices, and there is clearly no ‘one size fits all’.

Yet across that diversity, Pledge companies also show an important similarity beyond having signed up to the SBP. What Pledge businesses have in common is a public commitment to a broad set of progressive practices that can lead to better business performance and resilience, sustainable growth and to fair and high quality jobs and work – a self-reinforcing loop or virtuous circle designed to deliver for employers, employees and society as a whole.

Being a success in what you do and making a commitment to continue to do better are crucial for individual Pledge businesses. But it is also crucially important to understand why and how certain business and workplace practices and behaviours work – how they lead to positive outcomes, and how to learn from when they don’t. This understanding can help solve problems, avoid pitfalls, and identify new ways to improve and to recreate success as business circumstances change. Importantly, this understanding can help other businesses to learn and can broaden the adoption of progressive practices across Scotland.

This is where the research team from the Scottish Centre for Employment Research (SCER) at the University of Strathclyde can help. SCER hosts the Innovating Works initiative which works in partnership with key public agencies to promote and support workplace innovation and fair work. Indeed, the business approach of Tribe Yoga (URBN Fitness) – announced today as the 250th Pledge businesses – reflects its founder’s involvement in Innovating Works with its key objective of improving work and workplaces. The SCER team have also worked with GMG Contracting and Munro Rehab Limited, both Pledge businesses, amongst other small and large, private and public sector organisations.

With support from key partners and Scottish Government, the SCER team have offered their online diagnostic tool to Pledge businesses to use to explore their own practice, with analysis undertaken by the SCER team and fed back to the business, along with any pointers to areas where positive changes and improvements might be made. The SCER team are very experienced in working with businesses in flexible ways that recognise time and business constraints and that is focussed on doing things better and doing better things.

Learning from, with and across the Pledge businesses is crucial to designing and delivering the best support to businesses, and learning and sharing across and beyond the Pledge businesses could have a significant impact. There are discussions taking place across the world about what workplace practices produce the best outcomes for business and for employees. Pledge businesses can add something very valuable to those discussions, delivering a better understanding of how the Pledge practices interact and the kinds of outcomes this produces in different combinations and in different business circumstances. This can help shape business practice in Scotland and beyond.

Businesses are right to ask for robust evidence and good examples of how particular practices support performance and produce positive outcomes for employees. Pledge businesses are well placed to be at the heart of that evidence, generating practical lessons about what works at work that is good for business, good for people and good for Scotland.

For further information, please refer to sources of help on this website (workforce-engagement) and for a link to the workplace innovation online tool, please contact the SCER team on,

Professor Patricia Findlay, Strathclyde University

Professor Patricia Findlay