Watch the recorded panel discussions about Partnership Driven Workplaces at EXPO 2020

Good workplace conditions and partnership building is one of the best investments a company can do to be sustainable, innovative and competitive and the Swedish labour market model could be an inspiring method. 

The Swedish Workplace Programme invited business leaders and union representatives to EXPO 2020 to discuss – if the Swedish labour market model can be adapted in different contexts globally. The panelists shared how they apply the model as an approach to contribute to sustainable business and green transition.

They all agreed that the core of the model can be adapted in different contexts and contribute to sustainability. The companies are leading the green transformation by developing new technologies and finding climate neutral ways to produce their products. This  will have an impact on both companies and employees. It will demand cooperation in the workplace to continue to be innovative and prepared for a shift. The panelists emphasized that the investment in time from the leadership to find common ways to meet challenges that arise is crucial for developing companies and employees for a sustainable future. Please, watch the recorded discussion to find out more.

How to implement 

In the second panel, the SWP team shared challenges and successes of using the partnership-driven workplace strategy in a practical way in different contexts to promote decent work and sustainability.

Examples were shared on how to inspire and support companies in different parts of the world to strengthen relations in the workplace.  Improvements have been taken place both at management level and for the employees. Please, watch the recorded discussion to find out more. (1:02:15)

Panel discussion 1 with Johan Järveklo, International Secretary, IF Metall, Martin Lundstedt, CEO and President of Volvo Group, Anna-Karin Rosén, Managing Director Saab Ltd Abu Dhabi and Maya Moukbel, Head of Innovation Ericsson Middle East and Africa. Moderator Kaveh Hagi in the middle.
Panel discussion 2 with the SWP team , Alessandra Cornale Global Programme Director, Patricia Ponce National Programme Coordinator in Colombia, Maria Castilla Regional Programme Coordinator in Colombia and Evalena Persson Programme Director for Vietnam. Moderator Kaveh Hagi in the middle.

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This executive summary presents the findings from the study “Workplace Cooperation: Finding Practical Solutions in the Colombian Context,” conducted by the Fundación Ideas para la Paz (FIP). The study evaluates the added value of the Swedish Workplace Programme (SWP) dialogue and cooperation model within the Colombian labor market.

Throughout 2022, FIP dedicated efforts to thoroughly understand the SWP model, including its concept, foundations, implementation process, and contributions to the labor market. In 2023, FIP documented the experiences of three companies—SKF Latin Trade, Securitas, and Epiroc—that implemented the SWP model in practice. The study also included face-to-face workshops to gather feedback from various stakeholders including civil society, businesses, government, academia, and international cooperation. The findings suggest that the SWP model has the potential to strengthen labor relations, contribute to decent work, and resolve workplace conflicts in Colombia.

The case studies highlight the importance of collaboration between employers and workers to promote decent work and sustainable development in Colombia. They demonstrate that social dialogue facilitates worker participation in labor decision-making, enhances their representativeness, and promotes cooperation between employers and employees, thus improving labor relations and contributing to the well-being of both employees and companies.

The SWP model is particularly noted for improving workplace relationships and commitment to jointly finding solutions to challenges faced by workers and the company. It empowers workers, enhances leadership, and helps integrate business policies into daily practices, reducing the initial disconnect between management objectives and the day-to-day realities of workers. The study also highlights the model’s capacity to manage conflicts constructively, transforming the perception of conflict as an opportunity for improvement. Structured dialogues deepen understanding of the underlying causes of conflicts, fostering empathy and facilitating effective resolution. This promotes a culture of collaboration and a democratic approach to decision-making, building trust.

Additionally, the model is recognized for enabling workers to make decisions, identify challenges, and propose solutions that impact their well-being, and bridging gender gaps in the workplace. Its inclusive approach adapts to the unique needs and characteristics of each company, promoting a stronger and more diverse organizational culture. It also drives good work performance and productivity by involving workers in problem identification and resolution, as well as in implementing improvements and efficiently identifying ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) risks for companies.

The document identifies the SWP model’s added value in empowering direct interaction among labor stakeholders in Colombia, overcoming historical or cultural reservations, and contributing to the development of stronger labor relations and improved workplace environments in the country.

Challenges and opportunities of the model are also discussed. The study points out the importance of addressing value chain risks, particularly in a global context where corporate clients demand decent work processes and due diligence. It emphasizes the need to integrate SMEs into this process and use anchor companies as drivers of social dialogue throughout the value chain. The role of the state in social dialogue and the importance of highlighting the benefits of the model for adoption across various business sectors are discussed.

The opportunities of the model include raising awareness of human rights in the workplace in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP), to strengthen due diligence, manage risks, promote long-term sustainability, and improve organizational culture. The document also underscores the importance of involving workers in change processes, leveraging their insights for continuous improvement of processes, and fostering innovation opportunities. Lastly, it suggests replicating the model in value chains to address work environment risks and gender biases, involving suppliers and contractors, and integrating the model into corporate policies to strengthen existing programs and transform organizational culture towards resource efficiency and effective participation of employers and workers.