Mercado Interior, Industria, Emprendimiento y Pymes

Workplace innovation

Workplace innovation

To stay at the competitive edge, companies need to invest not only in technological innovation but also in non-technological practices. Workplace innovation can mean many things such as a change in business structure, human resources management, relationships with clients and suppliers, or in the work environment itself. It improves motivation and working conditions for employees, which leads to increased labour productivity, innovation capability, market resilience and overall business competitiveness. All enterprises, no matter their size, can benefit from workplace innovation.

Workplace innovation

  • improves performance and working lives, and encourages the creativity of employees through positive organisational changes
  • combines leadership with hands-on, practical knowledge of frontline employees
  • engages all stakeholders in the process of change
  • what does this mean in practice and how can you implement it in your organisation? take a look at Your guide to workplace Innovation

You can find possible methods and indicators for measuring this type of innovation in the report 'Workplace Innovation - Concepts and Indicators' (953 KB).

What the European Commission does

Based on the success of the European workplace innovation network, the Commission now supports workplace innovation through three projects.


INNovaSouth improves Southern European SME's entrepreneurial culture while increasing their market resilience and competitiveness by providing services and financial support for innovative workplace solutions. One of their tools is the online manual of good practices for workplace innovation, an innovative model of non-technological innovation best practices. It aims to inspire entrepreneurs to find simple, immediate and innovative solutions to increase employee’s motivation and productivity. 

INNovaSouth can also provide local SMEs with an €8,000 voucher to be spent on workplace innovation services, goods, tools and best practices. This helps local entrepreneurs adopt these solutions for increased employee productivity.


The RailActivation project has an open innovation ecosystem that aims to create mechanisms for business and organisation so the railway sector can improve workplace innovation. Therefore, RailActivation is working on new mechanisms and tools based on proven principles to anticipate the effects of digitalisation on the railway sector as well as designing the EU railway industry's innovation process transformation from the inside out. They are doing this by actively reimagining the business around the customer, enabling employees to initiate change. 

RailActivation will be the first business model of its kind adapted to the rail industry and will make workers more committed through SME's workplace innovation, enabling inclusive growth in railway SMEs.

Start at Best

Start at Best contributes to new European-led workplace innovation among SMEs. Its innovative attitude draws from the startups and inspiring that initiated this new trend. Financial grants are on offer through open calls for proposals, adding to workplace innovation in EU countries, especially where the practice is less integrated (i.e. Italy, Ireland and Portugal). Start at Best launched three national open calls and one Europe-wide open call in 2020. 

With a total budget of €225,000, the project is aiming to support 30 individual companies or consortia of firms and providers by allocating direct funding through grants up to €7,500. The deadline for applications is 6 May 2020.