At the recent CIPD Applied Research Conference, the PrOPEL Hub team shared insights from the research and evidence base underpinning the work of the hub.

The UK ‘productivity puzzle’ – that is the long-term lag in our economic growth compared to competitors – is no secret.  The causes for this are still not fully understood, but one thing is certain…if the UK economy is to survive the challenges thrown up by our EU exit and the Covid-19 pandemic, a solution is required.

Here at the PrOPEL Hub we believe that the workplace is the key to driving higher levels of engagement and productivity.  We are comprised of experts across 7 universities and the CIPD who are committed to using evidence-based insights from research to empower employers to boost productivity and wellbeing through progressive people management practices.

The work of the hub is underpinned by 5 major research projects funded by the ESRC, and strengthened by collaboration with Cardiff and Ulster Universities. The research projects explore links between workplace practice and productivity through a range of different perspectives.

The recent CIPD Applied Research Conference was an opportunity for our team to share the latest findings from these and other feeder projects, and discuss our work to ensure PrOPEL Hub insights drive real and positive change in the day-to-day operation of businesses.

To learn more and for opportunities to get involved with the PrOPEL Hub team, watch the videos below.

Managerial competences, engagement and productivity – developing productive relationshipsThe University of Sheffield

In this session chaired by Dr Martin McCracken, Professor Paul Latreille and Professor Richard Saundry from the University of Sheffield share details of their research into links between managerial capability, conflict resolution and productivity.  The panel discuss the importance of equipping managers at every level with the right skills to conduct quality conversations with staff and Paul and Richard outline details of their work with Acas to develop effective online training interventions to improve the conflict resolution skills in the workplace.

To learn more about Paul and Richard’s research and for opportunities to become involved, check out or follow them on Twitter at

Transforming Productivity and Wellbeing Through Engagement & InnovationUniversity of Strathclyde

Professor Patricia Findlay and Professor Colin Lindsay from the Scottish Centre for Employment Research at the University of Strathclyde share insights from their on-going research into the link between workplace practice, employee engagement and innovation.  They are joined by Lee Ann Panglea, Head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Discussion covers what is already known about practices that unlock discretionary employee effort and encourage workplace innovation and the factors influencing an organisation’s adoption of these.

To learn more about the Scottish Centre for Employment Research and for opportunities to become involved, check out

Workplace Wellbeing InterventionsUniversity of East Anglia

In this video, Jonny Gifford is joined by colleagues from the University of East Anglia and RAND Europe to discuss their research exploring the workplace wellbeing practices positively linked to productivity, staff engagement, health and wellbeing. 

The project team includes Professor Kevin Daniels, Professor Olga Tregaskis, Professor Sara Connolly and Dr Dave Watson from the University of East Anglia and Chris van Stolk from RAND Europe.  The team share key learnings from their extensive research into what works in wellbeing and outline the focus for their most recent research in the area.

More details on the work of the team can be found at c

The Impact of Homeworking on ProductivityCardiff University

In this video, Professor Graeme Roy is joined by Professor Alan Felstead, from Cardiff University. They discuss Alan’s latest research into working at home – available here.

Themes covered include:

  • Trends in homeworking prior to COVID-19
  • The scale of the shift to working at home during the pandemic and consequences for productivity and wellbeing
  • The future of working at home post pandemic.

Getting to grips with productivity in ethnic minority businessesAston University

In this session chaired by Meryl Levington, Professor Monder Ram from CRÈME at Aston Business School discusses the challenges ethnic minority entrepreneurs face running micro-businesses in three diverse sectors and what his team’s research into productivity in micro businesses has shown to date.

He discusses how both the research team at CRÈME and the businesses they work with have had to adapt their models due to Covid-19 in order to survive, and highlight the lessons emerging from their research for policy makers and the CIPD.