The Industrial Society has relaunched as the Work Foundation in a move to
strengthen the organisation’s research and consultancy role and widen its
influence with policymakers.
The rebranding exercise follows the sale last year of the society’s
workforce training business and associated publications to the Capita Group and
formalises the change of focus for the organisation. Founded in 1918 the
society has campaigned to improve individual skills through training, but under
its new name it is shifting away from its training heritage to focus on
increasing business take-up of workforce management issues through research,
consultancy and advocacy.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown gave the keynote address at the
launch event in London. The new name, he said, encapsulates "what is
essential to the success of British business in the new century: a new approach
to work, to the benefits of work, to the management and co-ordination of work,
to the rewards of work, to family-friendly work."
Work Foundation chief executive Will Hutton said so-called ‘soft’ issues of
human resources are in fact ‘hard’ and should be "at the centre of
business and organisational strategy". The Foundation’s first report
demonstrates that the need for action is urgent, according to Hutton.
Working Capital, Intangible Assets and the Productivity Gap reveals that
employee satisfaction has plummeted over the past decade, despite the increase
of high-performance management techniques.
"Some UK employers are exploring ways of liberating their workforces
through innovations over balancing work and domestic life, or delegating
decision making – but they do so against a hostile background. One of the Work
Foundation’s objectives is to reinforce their instincts and persuade others to
join them," says the report.