How One Brand Changed Grievance Collection + Reduced Audits

Read how a leading sportswear brand used WOVO to holistically support suppliers and workers and ended up with better data and fewer audits.


Background and Challenges

While many of the brand's suppliers had a grievance system in place, the brand faced several challenges

  • Transparent Data Sets: The brand was reliant on the supplier to provide data. This meant the supplier could "clean" the data, resulting in brand concerns about accuracy.

  • Comparable Data Sets. Suppliers were manually submitting reports, using different metrics, and formatting, making it nearly impossible for the brand to see trends or compare results, or systemically integrate the data into other data systems or sets.

  • Low utilization rates-- Most of the suppliers were only reporting a handful of cases a year. It seemed unlikely that facilities with thousands of workers would have so few issues. The brand wondered if the issue was access or if the suppliers were hiding data.

  • Targeted Improvement Actions: Without visibility of the baseline data, it was difficult for the brand to help suppliers improve

Brand Goals

  • One database for all worker feedback to easily access, compare + respond to data

  • An easy way to deliver critical content to workers across their supply chain

  • Transparent data.

  • Accurately pinpoint each supplier's specific challenge and be able to support suppliers' improvement efforts


The Solution

The Tool

The brand and Labor Solutions decide the best option was to start with WOVO's Connect feature and management training. Connect allows management and workers to have ongoing two-way communication. It can be used to collect questions, safety reports and suggestions. The WOVO case management system allows supplier management to sort, manage and respond to cases. The WOVO reporting dashboard allows for suppliers and their clients to track progress, ensure engagement, and quickly make changes.


Planning: Clearly outline goals + expectations for suppliers

The Labor Solutions team held a workshop with global and local brand representatives to clearly set expectations and create a communication strategy.

  • Brands who do not provide clear boundaries and expectations are less likely to succeed, as suppliers, fearful of what might happen, are resistant to participate and cooperate.

The brand decided to focus on the following data points:

  • Connect Utilization- the percentage of workers who asked a question

  • Types of Cases-- The brand was interested in what types of questions and reports workers were making, but were clear with the suppliers that they would not be punished based on these results

  • Speed to respond-- how long it takes management to respond to a worker question or report

The brand, together with Labor Solutions held a call with the suppliers and sent an email outlining the goals and expectations of the program.


Deployment

  • Labor Solutions held a Kickoff Meeting for each facility, to re-introduce WOVO, set clear expectations and timelines and re-engage key stakeholders.

  • LS conducted a training with team members responsible for managing the dashboard to answer any questions about the technology.

  • LS provided templates of worker-facing materials, such as introductory posters and instructional videos.

  • But WOVO is a supplier owned tool and program the supplier is responsible implementing the promotional plan. Many decided to use their weekly meetings with workers to introduce the program in addition to the materials.

  • The brand and LS decided not to provide training on grievance management at this point because most suppliers already had a grievance system in place and management thought the existing processes worked and would likely not be receptive to a training.

  • Workers at each supplier started using WOVO and management started to receive messages in their Dashboard.

The First 3 Months

The first three months served as trial-and-error period for management to better understand the volume and type of messages received + for workers to build trust in the program and system. During the first three months they tested the system to better understand what type of messages to send and if management will respond appropriately.


The brand also started receiving live data. But the brand decided to just observe and not to apply pressure to the suppliers.


Results + Data

After 3 months of usage, management started to have data + questions!

  • LS's Client Advisors conducted a "Using Data to Create Change" seminar for suppliers. Each supplier was also given specific insights into their reports and suggestions for next steps.

Many suppliers created a strategy for how best to use WOVO in their facility.

  • One supplier saw a lot of reports about food and decided to focus the next few months on the canteen. Read their case study here.

  • One supplier used WOVO to conduct a survey and found that workers weren't reporting safety issues because they thought it was too hard and got in the way of production. This facility decided to use WOVO to focus on safety. Read their case study here.

After 6 months, the brand was able to pin-point several trends

  • On average the brand saw a 25% utilization rate across all their suppliers. Up from less than 1% they had seen before WOVO.

  • They were receiving way more data from workers than they ever had before!

  • Suppliers who responded quickly and worked to resolve issues had the highest utilization rates.

  • Different countries were facing different challenges. By looking at the case trends the brand's local teams were able to focus their attention + efforts

  • Suppliers were more eager to seek support from the brand to solve issues.

  • Some suppliers were still struggling and needed more support. The brand enlisted Labor Solutions to support these facilities

  • Other suppliers were clearly deliberately neglectful of the system and flippant towards workers concerns. These facilities required audits to better understand what other management risks were present at the facility.

Brand Actions after 6 Months

  • The brand asked Labor Solutions to conduct a workshop with the struggling suppliers on communication and grievance management

  • The brand decided to deploy a survey to workers to better understand their needs and concerns and add a data point to their collection. Engagement Score- the score each supplier gets based on worker responses to this question "would you recommend your supplier as a place of work to a friend or family member."

  • Based on the results of the survey and the connect feature, the brand decided they would create several digital trainings.

Brand Results after 1 Year

The brand was happy with WOVO and wanted to do more with the platform. They decided to integrate WOVO utilization scores into their audit program.

  • Low WOVO utilization rates now trigger audits.

  • Suppliers with high utilization scores can opt out of annual audits

  • Suppliers cannot pass an audit if they don't have at least 50% of their workers pass the digital training courses.

  • The brand also conducts their wellbeing survey annually now.

  • Based on WOVO reports, the brand's local teams helped suppliers to identify the issues to be focused and set up Corrective Action Plans. They also continue to refer to WOVO data when measuring suppliers' progress.

  • Suppliers were happy because the tool gave them autonomy and actually made changes within their facilities. They can also share data with other clients so they don't have to use multiple platforms.


The brand continues to require that strategic suppliers implement WOVO. They are excited by their results and the continued potential. Suppliers are happier, and workers are safer.


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Labor Solutions’ products and services support brands and retailers in reducing risks through engagement, access, and improvement. Our plug-and-play tools have been carefully designed to support our clients’ varying needs throughout the entire Worker Engagement Cycle. Our Client Advisory team helps our client’s set-up for success in each facility and country. To learn more about our tools and services click here.