- What is WERS?
The Workplace Employment
Relations Study (WERS) provides the most nationally representative,
comprehensive and authoritative account of employment relations and
working life in Britain. There have been five surveys to date in
this important study, which provides a record of change in the area
of employment relations spanning a quarter of a century.
- Who is funding the research?
WERS is sponsored by the
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Acas, the
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the United Kingdom
Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the National
Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). NIESR's
involvement is made possible through funding from the Nuffield
- Who is doing the research?
This study is being conducted
by NatCen (National Centre for Social Research), Britain's leading
centre for independent social research. NatCen has carried out WERS
since its inception in 1980 and has been commissioned by the
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to conduct the
sixth Workplace Employment Relations Study in 2011.
- How was my workplace chosen?
Your workplace has been
randomly selected to participate in WERS from a list of British
employers. The list is called the Inter-Departmental Business
Register (IDBR) and is maintained by the Office for National
Statistics (ONS). To ensure that WERS is fully representative of
the range of employers in Britain - whether large, small, public or
private sector - once a workplace is selected they cannot be
replaced by another. Therefore your place in the study is unique,
so we urge you to participate to help make the study as insightful
and informative as possible.
- Why don’t you ask someone else?
Because that would be faulty
research. We have scientifically selected every workplace in the
study and it is very important that we get input from each
workplace selected. Getting information from as many of the
specially selected workplaces as possible will make the data more
- Who do you need to speak to?
A WERS interviewer will need
to speak to the most senior manager in your workplace who deals
with issues relating to personnel, staff or employment relations
issues. In order to get a balanced picture, and if relevant to your
workplace, they will also speak to the most senior representative
of the union (or independent staff association) with the most
members at your workplace, and the most senior non-union employee
representative. Questionnaires will also be supplied for completion
by up to 25 randomly selected members of staff.
- What does taking part involve?
You will be contacted shortly
by a member of the WERS team at NatCen who will explain how you and
your workplace will be involved. The study involves face-to-face
interviews with the senior manager responsible for personnel, staff
or employment relations issues and up to two employee
representatives, as well as questionnaires for up to 25 employees.
Please remember, the study is designed to work around your schedule
and will be as unobtrusive as possible.
- What types of questions will I be asked?
Questions will cover all aspects of working life, from company
policies to internal relations and employee statistics,
- workplace characteristics
- recruitment and training
- information, consultation and communication
- employee representation
- payment systems and pay determination
- collective disputes and procedures
- redundancies, grievance and discipline
- equal opportunities
- work-life balance and flexible working
- health and safety
- flexibility and performance; and
- business strategy and workplace change.
- Do I have to answer the questions?
You can refuse to answer any
question at any time during the interview. Your participation is
voluntary. However, since your workplace has been scientifically
chosen to represent many others like it, your contribution is very
- What about confidentiality and data security?
We operate under the rules of
the Data Protection Act and your personal information will remain
strictly confidential and secure at all times. The results of the
study will be used for statistical and research purposes only, and
your personal details will never be disclosed to anyone outside the
WERS research team. Any data used will be anonymous, so it will not
be possible to identify you or your workplace from the study
- Who else is taking part in the study?
Approximately 3,000 workplaces
across Britain will be involved in WERS, making it the largest and
most comprehensive account of employment relations and working life
in Great Britain.
- Why should I take part? What’s in it for me?
WERS is the most definitive
and influential study of employment relations in Britain. Your
participation will ensure that the data is as accurate and
insightful as possible. To say thank you, we will give employers
early access to the findings, which will provide a valuable
resource for benchmarking and insights into successful professional
policies and practices.
- Do I have to take part?
The study is entirely
voluntary. Your contribution is very important to us to get an
accurate picture of the views, practices and experiences of all the
selected workplaces, but it's entirely up to you. If you do take
part, you don't have to answer all the questions and you can
withdraw from the study at any time.
- Where does the study take place?
The interview can be held at a
time that is convenient to you, and the interviewer can come to
your workplace to speak to you there.
- How have the study’s findings been used in the past?
The findings from previous
WERS have influenced employment policies across all areas of
working life and employment relations, such as equal opportunities,
work-life balance and rates of pay.
- What have previous WERS told us?
Previously, WERS has
influenced development, debate and practice across areas such as
the National Minimum Wage, work-life balance, and Equal Opportunity
laws; ensuring decisions are sensitive to the needs of employers
- What did WERS 2004 tell us?
In 2004, WERS results also
showed that overt workplace conflict has remained low since 1998,
that British employers are investing more resources in training,
and employees are increasingly satisfied with their jobs.
- Who do I know who backs the study?
Various industry organisations
support WERS, including the British Chambers of Commerce, the
Trades Union Congress and the Alliance of Sector Skills
- What do I do if I need to change my interview time?
Please contact NatCen if you
need to change the time of your interview - call 0800 783 5890 or
Please don't arrange for someone to attend the interview in your
place as they may not be able to provide us with all the
information we need.
- What if I have any other questions?
For more information about
WERS please contact a member of the WERS Research Team on 0800 783
5890 or email email@example.com.