Background: In 2020, an Indonesian footwear manufacturer implemented Labor Solutions’ internal grievance mechanism, WOVO, at the request of a client.
The platform had active utilization with workers using it to ask questions about leave, production targets, and salaries. But rarely did the human resource team receive messages about health and safety or other serious issues.
The factory instead relied on monthly inspections from an internal health and safety team to ensure worker safety. But the inspection staff had limited capacity and many issues remained unidentified and persistent.
Implementing eLearning for workers
In early 2022, the factory’s client asked the group to implement WOVO’s digital trainings and ensure workers completed courses on Understanding Grievances and Health + Safety. The courses explained health and safety standards and the importance of speaking up to help solve issues quickly.
Results: A Working Grievance Mechanism That Engages Workers
Immediately, there was a 50% increase in the number of health and safety messages and reports. Reports included reports of smoking, need for new protective gloves, and insect infestations. Now aware of what constitutes an issue and how to report an issue to reach a resolution, workers were quick to use the tools and highlight issues.
eLearning for workers is the first step to effective grievance mechanisms and management. “Factories are complex social settings and physical environments. Workers are the most likely to spot issues first, but they must first be able to identify something is wrong, know how to report the issue, and not be scared to do so,” said Jen Green, Senior Director of Content and Partnerships, “that’s why education is the first step to prevention and arguably more important the grievance mechanism itself.”
The following quarter there was a 124% increase in the number health and safety reports, demonstrating not only that workers knew what and how to report but also that they trusted the system and their management to resolve the issues. The factory was surprised, and, at first, overwhelmed.
“We see utilization as a strong indicator of trust, if workers don’t trust management, they don’t use the system,” said Pradeep Paul, Senior Director of Global Client Excellence. “When we saw this huge increase in utilization, we reassured the factory that it was a good sign. But reminded them that they needed to continue to resolve issues to maintain worker trust.”
The Labor Solutions Client Excellence team provided support to help the factory first set up a transparent process to investigate and remediate each issue. After implementing and communicating the process, the factory was able to tackle each problem and solve most of the underlying, long-standing issues reported by workers more efficiently.
Ongoing Progress to Manage Grievances Among New and Existing Factory Workers
The process for managing grievances is still in place and now new workers are required to take the digital training when they are onboarded. While the factory receives fewer health and safety messages now, workers still actively report issues. The factory also still conducts internal and external health and safety audits, but they no longer need to wait for an audit to happen to uncover or address problems.
This case study shows how eLearning for workers can be used to increase health and safety reporting in factories. By educating workers about their rights and how to report issues, companies can create a more transparent and trusting environment that aligns with human rights due diligence (HRDD) principles. Learn more about how to kick-start your HRDD process.