On Tuesday 20 October 2020, Cedefop together with the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) , organised a live #AskTheExpert webinar session to delve into the European Company Survey 2019 findings relating to employee involvement.


In a lively and interactive discussion, report authors Gijs van Houten and Giovanni Russo dug deeper into the ECS findings which show how businesses with strong workplace social dialogue score better on performance and wellbeing. The findings also reveal that workplaces with involving, trusting and influential social dialogue are also more likely to have regular, direct employee participation that makes a difference on the ground.

Moderated by Maria Jepsen, Deputy Director of Eurofound, Aline Hoffmann, Head of unit Europeanisation industrial relations at ETUI and Rebekah Smith, Deputy Director, Social Affairs at BusinessEurope also contributed to the interactive debate. Participants were invited to join the discussions via a Q&A and LIVE online chat.


10.00 CET Welcome and introduction
10.05 CET          Presentation of ECS 2019 findings relating to employee involvement
10.20 CET Discussion with social partners and Q&A with audience - #AskTheExpert
10.55 CET Closing
11.00 CET End of webinar



Moderator: Maria Jepsen

Maria Jepsen was appointed Deputy Director at Eurofound in 2019. Prior to this, she was Director of the research department at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), and assistant professor and research fellow at the Free University of Brussels (ULB). She is currently also associate professor in labour economics at ULB and external lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL). Her main research interests include gender studies, the impact of welfare states on labour supply, wages and working conditions, and more recently the European social dimension. Maria has also served as a coordinator on the European Commission tripartite advisory committee on health and safety at work. She holds a PhD in Economics and a Master’s degree in Econometrics from the Free University of Brussels (ULB).

Report author: Gijs van Houten

Gijs van Houten is a Research Manager in Eurofound’s Employment unit with specific expertise in cross-national survey methodology and the analysis of workplace practices and organisational strategies. Gijs joined Eurofound in 2010 and has worked on all three Eurofound surveys, focusing on the European Company Survey in recent years. He spent a year away in 2016, working at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. He holds a Masters in sociology from Radboud University Nijmegen and a PhD in social science from Utrecht University. He lectured in quantitative research methods at University College Dublin and in policy analysis and institutional theory at Utrecht University. Before joining Eurofound he worked at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP).

Panellist: Rebekah Smith

Rebekah Smith is Deputy Director in the Social Affairs department of BUSINESSEUROPE, managing sustainability, CSR and diversity; industrial relations, labour law and working conditions; and social/employment aspects of digitalisation. She has been working at BUSINESSEUROPE for ten years and in the field of EU affairs for fifteen years. She is a member of the management committee of the platform on EU implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. She coordinates employer members of the European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions. Previously she was Policy and Communications Manager for a Brussels-based consultancy, as well as working for the EU Representation office of a UK region. Rebekah has a Master's degree in European studies and studied at Hull University in the UK and Osnabrueck University in Germany.

Panellist: Aline Hoffmann

Aline Hoffmann Head of unit Europeanisation industrial relations and joined the ETUI in October 2012. From 2001 until 2012 she was head of the European Works Councils Team at the headquarters of the German metal workers union IG Metall, working on issues of union policy towards central and group works councils as well as supervisory board representation. For 10 years she represented the IG Metall at the Company Policy Committee of what was then the European Metalworkers Federation (EMF). She was a member of the Supervisory Board at Bosch for 5 years. She is also the coordinator of the European Workers’ Participation Competence Centre (EWPCC). After completing her BA in political economy at the University of California at Berkeley in 1993, she worked at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). She then took a Masters degree in European Studies at the University of Cambridge, followed by a PhD from the University of Warwick.

Report author: Giovanni Russo

Giovanni Russo holds a position as Expert at Cedefop, where he works on the issues of skills development, skills mismatch, and skills utilisation. With a background in Labour and Behaviour Economics, he joined Cedefop in 2010, after more than 15 years of career in academia. Previously he was Associate Professor at Utrecht University, Utrecht School of Economics. He has published in various international journals. He holds a PhD in Economics from the Free University of Amsterdam.

Next webinar session

On 29 October, the third online #AskTheExpert webinar on skills use will take place. Registration is now open.

Event details

Event Date(s)
Event Type
Virtual event
Cedefop involvement


Giovanni Russo
Béatrice Herpin