The Memorandum sets out the goals of the EANPC and the prime areas of concern. It presents, under the scope of productivity development, various economic policy and labour policy facts and integrates key areas of concern into a productivity flower. The petals of the flower each represent a policy or activity domain.
Productivity development is increasingly dependent on cooperation and team-working. For advance in any working community can only be achieved by the willing involvement of all concerned.
Partnership can take many forms ranging from working agreements at the national and regional levels down to the enterprise, plant and work-group levels. What the co-operative processes might lose in rapidity of decision-taking they gain through the committed backing and understanding of all parties.Partnership helps to build social capital on all levels in the enterprise. Social capital together with human capital constitute the 'human factor', essential to productivity improvement.
Expressed succinctly, economic growth is a state in which the amount of goods and services produced is increasing.
Experience shows that the positive development of society depends on economic growth. The dynamics of the economic process lead, through thriving enterprises, to the overall development of society and the economy; however, there is no automatic mechanism ensuring a balance between economic sectors and regions in the wake of structural change.One of the general tasks of economic policy is to try to avoid - or at least alleviate - the deleterious consequences of structural change.
Competition and quality
Competition is the driving force behind the development of productivity and growth as every enterprise strives to enhance its position on the sales and procurement markets. On the other hand, strong productivity increases and economic growth intensify competition. Nor is it just enterprises but also national economies which compete with one another. In economic theory enterprises and economies are presumed to be confronted with equal competitive conditions. In the real world, competitive conditions differ very much from one national economy to another and among individual enterprises.
Quality continues to assume ever growing importance. In fact, 'productivity' and 'quality' are two sides of the same coin which, though sometimes looking different, are inseparable in the long run. Since quality stresses customer satisfaction, its enhancement is likely to enable sales and production volumes to be increased, thus facilitating productivity increases. Productivity without quality is as meaningless as quality without productivity.
Innovation and Technology
Innovation is the dynamic element of production and growth. Without innovation, further development by enterprises, the economy overall and society is stymied. Innovation is driven by competition and is strengthened by creativity.
Technology is one of the main contributing factors to productivity development; but on its own it does not make the enterprise or organisation competitive. Workers play a key role in product and process innovation and technology upgrading (human capital), provided that workers’ participation and organisation of the work (social capital) are optimally applied.
Innovation must lead to new products and services, to enhanced performance processes and to renewal of the economy overall. This means that innovation must not be confined to matters of new production technology but must also lead to new products and services, and contribute to improving work organisation and working conditions.
Increased productivity has, for the past two centuries, gone hand in hand with increased employment: the countries with the best rates and levels of productivity performance are those which have generated and sustained the best levels and rates of employment increase. However, in the past two decades, low economic growth and productivity performance have had negative impacts on employment—jobs disappear and there is under-employment of the available potential...
Moreover, with the growth of the services' society, the relationship between measured productivity development and employment has become less clear. The so-called 'productivity paradox' appears to indicate that the high rate of employment increase in services has been accompanied by a slowdown in the rate of productivity growth. In order to combine the development of productivity and economic growth in such a way in the future that they generate positive employment impacts, new approaches to sharing productivity advance must be developed and implemented.
The way in which work is designed - from the physical lay-out of the individual workplace - through to the way in which the enterprise is ‘articulated’ with its environment, notably its suppliers and customers - is a significant source of productivity development. And, on the other hand, the quality of work organisation is influenced by a number of factors, one of which is productivity development.
Particularly as, over the past few years, the rate of economic growth has declined, competition between enterprises has intensified and the pace of economic structural change has quickened, the quality of work organisation has become more important as a factor influencing productivity development. In this respect, new forms of employment, such as part-time work, project and tele-working, virtual and mobile work plans as important a role as forms of work in which the workforce has more freedom of initiative, enhanced skills and greater responsibility for their collective work.
Health and safety
Healthy workers working in healthy working conditions are thus an important precondition for the enterprise to work smoothly and productively. An enterprise's economic goals do not - or should not - conflict with its goals relating to working conditions. There are now fewer 'classical' health risks such as those brought about by heavy work; but there has been an upsurge in burdens such as work intensification, time pressure, greater responsibility without balancing authority and high concentration or, on the other side, monotony and social isolation.In a broader meaning, safety and health at work extends into the management fields of working time organisation, training and learning, work design or individual career development. Sensibly designed, all such elements can have positive impacts on the health of the workforce.
Skills and Qualifications
An enterprise's productivity and efficiency depend increasingly on the deployment of a highly skilled workforce. In a situation in which enterprises world-wide operate at a technologically similar level, high skills have become a key competitive factor for productivity and economic efficiency.
There is a clear connection between the level of qualifications of the workforce and productivity development. On the one hand, working productively in the present demands a broadly skilled workforce. On the other, the existing skills and qualifications of the workforce limit the possibilities for the enterprise to react to the changing demands of the market.
Paying due attention to the environmental protection aspects of production and product development - 'Green productivity' is no longer a luxury; it is not something which can be afforded only by large enterprises in good times. For environmental protection and know-how of environmentally-friendly production and work processes is an important factor to competitiveness.
'Green productivity' also impacts favourably on other factors contributing to productivity development. Linking environmental management opportunities with safety and health at work can be a significant contribution to improving working conditions since enterprises' internal and external environments are very closely associated. Finally, the important role that workers can play in identifying and eliminating waste, and monitoring green production strategies is to be stressed.