Thinking about your feedback loop; what information are you trying to get from whom, to whom, and to bring about what change?
The workers that make our clothing and electronics around the world every day face deplorable conditions. There's little incentive for change because those workers are invisible. Labor Link makes workers visible, giving them a voice and a seat at the table through simple mobile surveys and info push. We deliver real-time worker feedback directly to decision-makers at apparel and electronics companies so they can align sourcing and program strategies with worker needs. On one end of the spectrum, we help identify and address labor exploitation like child labor, sexual harassment, and non-payment of wages. On the other end of the spectrum, we also drive positive social change by assessing needs for programs on financial inclusion, environmental sustainability, and health and nutrition.
Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?
Workers dial a local phone number and place a missed call. That triggers an automatic call-back from our system, which is free for the worker to receive. They listen to and answer short, multiple-choice surveys (typically 10-12 questions) with their touch-tone keypad, recorded in local language (so it doesn't require literacy and can run in multiple languages). They receive a voice-recorded message or SMS to thank them for participating, plus educational messages about their rights and local services.
Give two concrete examples of how feedback loops have brought a program or policy more in line with citizens’ desires.
Women's clothing brand Eileen Fisher is committed to upholding human rights in its supply chain. Deploying our Labor Link mobile surveys in several factories in India, they discovered that migrant workers in North India are living in temporary, cramped housing, and workers identified housing as their highest priority need. The company is now partnering with us, Social Accountability International, the factory, and workers themselves to co-create a solution to the housing issue that can potentially be replicated by other companies and supply chains facing a similar issue.
It's still early days, but we just signed a partnership with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to roll out an anonymous Worker Helpline in 200 factories over the next 18-24 months, giving voice for the first time to over half a million garment workers in Bangladesh. Helpline feedback will be reported to local employers, the Alliance and its member companies to inform training on fire and building safety, drive investments that improve workplace safety, and reduce risk of workers being trapped in a deadly fire or building collapse.
If there was one thing you could change to increase the impact of your feedback loop, what would it be?
Articulate and quantify the business case for buyers and suppliers of more worker-centric policies, e.g. measure enhancements to productivity and product quality that can result from better working conditions and stronger job satisfaction. This would boost the incentive for companies to follow our recommendations, based on worker feedback, to improve specific aspects of working conditions or address workers' individual and community needs.
In countries where we're not able to set up our voice-based IVR platform for technical barriers, we could use other apps/platforms listed on the Feedback Store to capture information.
What is the one thing you would most like to see changed to improve the competition process?
The UX of the website is confusing, as well as the multiple entry process and knowing what to submit when. There should be some kind of reference guide or help for entrants.
What are you doing to make sure that feedback providers know that they are empowered by the information they can give and that they know exactly what the information they are providing?
We close the loop with respondents in several ways, first through our initial outreach giving workers a sense of what to expect in the process, second by sending phone messages (voice or SMS, depending on literacy) to share findings, and third by encouraging local employers to post complete findings in the workplace.