The aim of the Employees as a strategic resource project is to deepen understanding and find solutions for implementing sustainable reforms, successfully managing change and human resources, enhancing proactivity and adaptive behaviors among municipal workers, and promoting social and organizational job resources. The project also provides information on practical means for municipal reform and promoting the culture of experimentation. The project’s scientific novelty lies in the way in which it brings together two lines of research; HR management practices on the one hand, and proactive work behaviors and work engagement on the other.
The project is a consortium that consists of two sub-projects: the Human resources management project conducted by the University of Vaasa, and the Transformed, engaged and successful project conducted by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
The Human resources management project collected both quantitative and qualitative data from, for example, municipal leaders, HR management, heads of department, and personnel representatives. Its aim was to obtain an overall picture of the strategic nature and current state of HRM at the level of HR practices in the municipalities, as well as information on how the HR practices can support employees’ strengths and the new skills required by the municipal organizations’ transformed structures.
The Transformed, engaged and successful project collected quantitative data from municipal sector employees. Employees responded to the electronic questionnaire twice. In 2016, altogether 10 920 employees participated in the study and 18 months later, of the 4 302 participants who had indicated a wish to participate in the longitudinal study, 2453 responded. The aim was to obtain an overall picture of the level and changes in employees’ work-related well-being (work engagement, burnout, job boredom), the job characteristics that are expected to influence well-being (e.g., role conflict, workload, servant leadership, social capital, justice, empowering HRM practices), and the proactive work behaviors (adaptive performance, job crafting) that enable employees to balance their job characteristics and thus improve their well-being.
These two types of datasets (HRM and employees’ perceptions) are also linked by the level of the municipal. Therefore, together, the Human resources management and Transformed, engaged and successful projects provide information on how HR practices may enhance employee well-being during changes resulting from law reforms.
The main findings of the projects are published in six research reports. In addition, scientific research papers in English are under preparation.
The Finnish Work Environment Fund, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Keva, and Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Riitta Viitala, Professor, School of Management, Human Resource Management, University of Vaasa.
Anu Hakonen, University lecturer, School of Management, Human Resource Management, University of Vaasa