The world of work is changing apace. New technologies, organisational structures and production processes increasingly facilitate the work of employees and enterprises. Competing in today's global markets requires not only high-quality products and services but also rapid innovation.
Healthy, qualified, motivated, high-performing staff are a vital factor in meeting current and future challenges in today's globalised economy. In light of this, the New Quality of Work Initiative (INQA) was designed to link employees' interest in healthy working conditions that foster personal development with their company's need for competitive jobs. INQA is a joint undertaking of Germany's federal government, state governments, social insurance partners, social partners, foundations and enterprises, and was launched in 2001 by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. It is clear from the initiative's joint activities that investing in human capital pays off in the form of motivated employees, falling absenteeism rates and an innovative corporate culture.
The What is Good Work? INQA survey reveals that workers are not only proud of their work but also that most employees are indeed enthusiastic about their work. This survey and other INQA projects show that a progressive corporate culture, company activities to promote employee health, and tailored skill-building offerings are particularly important in this regard. The INQA Good Practice database provides assistance in this connection and encourages others to emulate its examples of good practice.
INQA devotes itself to forward-looking topics and passes on knowledge on an application-related basis. Take, for example, demographic change: It is already clear today that the economic challenges of the future will have to be met using older personnel. In response to this, INQA launched the 30, 40, 50 plus - Healthy Work into Old Age campaign in 2004 with well-known partner enterprises. The campaign advises establishments and workers on how they can preserve their productivity in the wake of demographic trends.
Jobs which are not only secure but also healthy and competitive are important to the success of innovative enterprises. With this in mind, INQA is also a partner in Germany's Best Employers competition. Each year, 50 enterprises are awarded prizes as voted for by their workers. For INQA, this partnership is one example of helping players from the business community learn to view 'employee-orientedness' not simply as a cost factor but also as a driving force for greater productivity.
The INQA initiative follows the principle of "joining forces". Accordingly, this principle also applies to the activities of INQA's thematic working groups. These groups include INQA Lifelong Learning, INQA Construction and INQA Office. Their networks are open to anyone who would like to accomplish something - be they entrepreneurs, workers' representatives or health experts.