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Building an Effective Worker Survey Tools for Supply Chain Workers

Shareholders, governments, and consumers increasingly are holding companies accountable for the harm caused in the supply chains. These new demands are driving companies and multi-stakeholder initiatives to look for innovative scalable, solutions to identify, prevent, and mitigate human rights risks.

Workers are the most likely to see and hear issues first, so many companies have turned to digital worker surveys to gather direct worker feedback. While there are

many survey tools on the market, few meet the unique needs of multi-tiered complex supply chains.

Labor Solutions’ Vice President of Innovation and Product, Lordiclaire Suriawinata, leads the design of Labor Solutions products. In the following article, she shares how she and her team think about worker surveys. Their framework has resulted in an industry-leading tool and the collection of feedback from millions of workers. [Read more about how Labor Solution conducted a survey of 350,000 workers for adidas]

In nearly a decade, Labor Solutions has never closed a survey without reaching the determined sample size, a fact that Ms. Suriawinata, is proud of,

“We strive to create tools to be used efficiently and effectively at scale. Our worker survey tool is just that. We never have to go back to a client and say, ‘I’m sorry we couldn’t get enough responses.’ That to me says we’re doing something, well a lot of things, right.”

Below, Ms. Suriawinata gives readers insight into the framework that guides her and her team's work.

A worker survey is only as good as the responses collected

To ensure surveys have quality input—sufficient, accurate, reliable responses — the survey tool must be scalable, accessible, trusted, and valuable to users;

  • Scalable: supply chains are huge and issues to identify can be complex. Tools need to provide enough guidance through content banks, translation and localization support and surveys need to be able to reach millions of workers quickly and affordably around the world to ensure that their efforts are successful, and their results are accurate.

  • Accessible to targeted population: Flexibility to meet them in their preferred channel is a priority, but worker surveys conducted on a global scale need to also account for the diversity of the population and their circumstances. Tools need to provide enough guidance to support multiple languages, varying literacy, and digital connectivity levels, and solutions to prevent response training.

  • Trusted + valuable to the targeted population: Everything humans do is based on trust. A worker survey is no different. Naturally, workers have lots of questions; Why are they spending time taking a survey? Who is collecting the data and what will they do with the data they find? Survey participants need to feel like their voices are valuable and their responses will create demonstrable change for them. This trust is built outside of the technology. It comes from engagement (at all levels), good questions, and follow-up. At Labor Solutions, we first build trust with the employer and work with the employer to build trust with workers.

Worker Survey output must be relevant, insightful, and actionable

Just as important as the collection of reliable data, is the output of the survey data. Complex supply chains have thousands of suppliers and millions of workers, aggregating, comparing, and presenting meaningful, actionable data is key.

  • Aggregated: Companies want to see how the whole supply chain is performing first and foremost to understand their overall performance. Reports need to pull data from multiple different sources to give this oversight. Surveys created for supply chains conducted at a global scale need a level of standardization that can be shared and implemented with other companies to achieve this automatically.

  • Comparable: Issue identification can happen at any level of the supply chain and breaking down data into specific suppliers, demographics, and time periods is a necessary step of risk management. Reports need to be automated to process and organize large datasets for easy analysis between these groupings to gain more targeted insight.

  • Meaningful and actionable: Are the results of the survey going to help them make effective solutions? Coordinated surveys are a balancing act of what the companies want to look at on a global level and what the individual suppliers need on a local level. These surveys and their reports need to be flexible enough to present the specific information that each party needs so each of them can focus on making directed and meaningful changes.

For almost a decade, Labor Solutions has worked closely with complex supply chains to identify and address these complex needs to create an effective and industry-leading survey tool that covers all these bases and more. [Find out How Labor Solutions conducted a survey and leverage those results to make meaningful changes in Myanmar]

Labor Solution provides the industry's standard surveys such as Nike's Engagement and Wellbeing Survey and is a Social & Labor Convergence recognized Worker Engagement Tech. We have fine-tuned our methods over a decade to deliver value + actionable insights. Find out more about Labor Solution's Worker Survey here.


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