Research line: Ensuring inclusive work

An ageing population and a more urbanized landscape: these are two developments that will be inevitable in the years to come. They both mean that we have to deal with a growing labour shortage. To deal with the consequences of this, an expansion of the labour force is essential: more people will have to go to work. But how do you ensure that increased employment does not occur at the expense of productivity? And how do you keep all those employees physically and mentally healthy? These are the kinds of questions that we seek to find answers to in the Labour Market Participation research line.

An organisation’s ability to exist

The ongoing availability of inclusive work to (future) employees requires an investment from organisations. Due to the developments mentioned above, certain jobs will disappear and at the same time new professions will arise, whereby people and machines will increasingly be working alongside each other. Also, because of the increasing flexibility of the labour market, citizens will have to become more self-reliant and enterprising. However, not all citizens will have equal access to the necessary skills. All these changes require new organisational structures, the redesign of jobs and functions and a continual update of skills. As for organizations, it is important that they can continue to deliver a higher yield in terms of performance and that they continue to achieve good results. For non-profit organisations, increasing productivity is crucial to their continued ability to exist, and for commercial companies this increase is a prerequisite for growth.

This growth is not only good for the companies themselves, but also for the economy and prosperity of our society. After all, with a stronger economy, more money can be spent on value creation and impact. In this changing world of work, how can employees be ‘kept up to date’, for example when it comes to skills that are necessary to deal with the development of work and the complex problems that lie in the future? That is an important point of attention within this line of research.

Social innovation as a means to an end

To increase productivity, social innovation is essential. Social innovation focuses primarily on the renewal of the organisation and the work process: How do you organize this process efficiently? Which organizational form and approach to change should one choose? Where do you place which employee? And which leadership style is most effective? In addition, social innovation focuses on the talent development of employees: How can they be encouraged to perform at the best of their abilities? How can they develop further? How can they increase their knowledge? And how can one ensure that this knowledge also leads to higher production? This requires a focused HR policy and well-equipped HR professionals who can think strategically and at the same time develop and deploy practical interventions.

Healthy workload

The World Health Organization considers work stress to be the health epidemic of the 21st century, for a legitimate reason. Large segments of the workforce increasingly experience work pressure and work stress. In recent decades, however, governments and organisations have paid a great deal of attention to physical health and the absence of disease. However, mental well-being is at least as important in times of increasing workload as a result of digitization, robotization and globalization. This line of research is therefore also concerned with supporting employers and employees in (re)designing work so that work pressure remains at a healthy level and does not lead to work stress.