PrOPEL Hub hackathons help managers take action to improve job quality

In February 2024, WISERD co-directors, Professor Alan Felstead and Rhys Davies hosted hackathons in Sheffield and Belfast for human resource managers interested in improving job quality for their teams.

Event participants completing an online job quiz.

Organised by the PrOPEL Hub and attended by nearly 100 managers from a range of private, public and third sector businesses, including government departments, social care providers and software developers, the events used quizzes and survey results to prompt participants to reflect on how they could improve job quality for those they manage.

To begin the hackathons and establish the context in which participants arrived at these sessions, they were divided into small groups to consider various HR challenges, such as improving performance management, managing workplace conflict, and increasing employee well-being.

With the help of an online job quality quiz,, created by Alan Felstead, participants were asked to assess the quality of their own jobs and those of their staff members. Consideration was given to what features of work employees are likely to want from their employment, such as good pay, an easy workload, convenient hours of work and job security. These features were then ranked from what the participants believed to be the most to least important. Following this, was a discussion of what they, as managers, felt they could do to better meet these needs and improve job quality.

Event participants rank features of work on a whiteboard.

At the end of the session, the results and rankings given by event participants were compared to national evidence based on quiz data previously collected from over 100,000 individuals. Using the findings from the journal article based on this data, participants were encouraged to take away practical ideas for how they might improve job quality for those in their teams.

Ideas included introducing colleagues to the online quiz and encouraging them to provide feedback about what they like and don’t like about their jobs. During the events, participants came up with other ways of using the quiz and other resources. These included: adopting the questions used in the quiz for their own employee attitude surveys, collecting anonymous feedback about job quality, and organising in-house hackathons to facilitate open discussion about job quality and ways in which it might be improved.