Good nutrition is good business: How one factory focused on food and increased productivity by 15%

Background

Providing meals for 4,000 workers three times a day is complicated, requiring a team to manage preferences, health concerns, consistency and variety. Complaints about the food served at factories is common and often these complaints are brushed off as minor or unimportant. However, there is a clear connection between canteen condition, food quality and worker engagement and productivity.


An ILO study argues good nutrition at work is good business, leading to gains in productivity and worker morale, prevention of accidents and premature deaths, and reductions in health-care costs. Worker satisfaction and thus retention is directly related to food served onsite. In a survey conducted by Labor Solutions in 25 factories, eighty percent of workers unsatisfied with the food provided were considering quitting. In the same study, twenty-seven percent of employees said access to healthy food and drink was the number-one way their employer could be supportive. Brands and factories alike should take this issue seriously.

This case study takes a closer look a Vietnamese factory that used WOVO to focus on improving their canteen and after 3 months saw a measurable increase in worker satisfaction and productivity.

Case

Factory management knew workers were unhappy about the food served in the canteen, but lacked the tools to systemically collect feedback and address the issue. So, management saw WOVO as an opportunity to help them solve their ongoing canteen problems.

Unsurprisingly, when WOVO launched, a majority of complaints received via WOVO’s Connect Feature, were regarding the food at the canteen. Analysis showed workers dissatisfied with the repetitive, tasteless and small amounts food. Workers also complained that food menus were only published onsite in the canteen, resulting in dangerous crowds and shorter break hours as workers rushed to canteen to decide whether to dine in or order out.

The management at this factory, now equipped with WOVO, decided to take the following steps:

  • Proactively reach out to workers using a factory wide survey. Based on the survey results, they got rid of the unpopular dishes and added a few recommended ones. Now this survey is being ran on a quarterly basis.

  • Factory management also decided to start publishing the menus on WOVO using the newsletter feature. This seemingly minor adjustment had a big impact on the workers’ behavior. They no longer rushed to the canteen at lunch time; instead, they checked menus on their phones. This helped reduce over-crowding and allowed to have a more relaxing break.

  • Increased their promotion of WOVO to encourage workers to voice opinions. This helped to reduce the workload of team leaders and HSE staff as they no longer needed to have repetitive conversations or manually record the issues. Workers were also able to give suggestions easily and quickly when issues first emerged helping the management address the issue faster.

While, WOVO was a needed a tool to help the factory management communicate and gather feedback, improvements policies and procedures were also necessary to create sustainable change. Here are some of the actions management took:

  • Staff from the administrative and HSE departments, now conduct monthly meetings with the canteen team and randomly check food portions and hygiene onsite to ensure ongoing compliance.

  • If the factory receives multiple complaints about food, they treat the issues as urgent and try to resolve it immediately, before the day ends, including providing additional snacks or milk, when workers complain about a lack of food.

  • The factory expanded the compliance committee to include night-shift workers to ensure consistency no matter the shift.

  • The canteen team also made improvements such as replacing the old utensils, changing the kitchen layout and adding more staff to provide food faster. They also took special notice of the hygiene, taste and diversity of the food.

Results

Three months after making changes, the impact of their work was clear:

  • The number of reports regarding canteen and food had dropped by 40% compared to the last quarter.

  • Absenteeism due to food-borne illnesses dropped to zero.

  • A 40% increase in the number of daily meals served, an indicator that more workers were choosing to dine in.

  • Workers were more productive, increasing production by more 15%.

  • A 25% increase in worker satisfaction.


WOVO's ongoing support and engagement is key to factories ability to make real lasting change and react in the moment worker needs. Proud of what his team had accomplished using WOVO, the Human Resource director said, “we love Connect and Company Post features of WOVO since they have made significant contribution to our workplace communications. Thank you WOVO Team.”