Side Session | 6 June
Championing Worker Voice: The role of technology in promoting worker wellbeing
Organized by: Good Business Lab
Good Business Lab is an international not-for-profit labor innovation organization. We use rigorous research methods to find a common ground between worker well-being and business interests. We believe that building the business case to support better conditions for workers is the most sustainable way to transform labor markets and enable all workers to live dignified lives.
Our undertakings in India, Latin America, and the United States cut across four focus areas and are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially good health & wellbeing (SDG3 ), gender equality (SDG 5), decent work & economic growth (SDG 8), and industry, infrastructure & innovation (SDG 9). Our research prioritizes vulnerable populations such as low-income workers, migrant workers, women workers, and workers in need of upskilling.
Good Business Lab has been successful in forging several strategic partnerships, building a strong base of funders, knowledge partners, institutional collaborators, academic affiliates, and individual supporters. Some of these include the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Harvard Business School, University of Michigan, and Humanity United among others. Whether it is for conducting large-scale rigorous research or utilizing technology to elevate our interventions, we also leverage an ever-expanding global network of private sector employers such as Shahi Exports (India’s largest apparel export house), Toyota, and McDonalds in labor-intensive industries across several continents from Asia to Latin America.
About the session
Amidst globalization and a rise in labor market inequalities, a blue collar worker entering the formal economy faces an increasingly precarious future. Many workers move to urban centers and are confronted with languages that they have never heard, and social dynamics they have never encountered. This further vitiates the asymmetrical power dynamics between workers and firms exacerbated by high production pressures, and a work environment where abuse and harassment of the workforce go unreported. Anecdotally, we also know that much of the abuse and harassment of workers at the lowest rung often remains unreported and unresolved. This not only negatively impacts workers, but also businesses, as it increases attrition and absenteeism while lowering productivity. How can we support workers and management communicate better? How can we design technological solutions to bridge this communication gap and create better work environments?
In alignment with the theme, “From Commitment to Action'' – this panel will bring to light the challenges related to harassment of workers, and lack of voice while emphasizing technologically enabled solutions that facilitate worker voice, and showing a clear business case for the same.
The panel discussion will see participation of subject matter experts on worker wellbeing, firm representatives with experience of using technology to remediate workers’ issues along with labor representatives representing the voice of the workers. Following the discussion, the session will end with an exclusive showcase of Inache, GBL’s worker voice tool.
The main objectives of this session are to:
Reflect on the need for providing workers a platform to report their grievances and suggestions in a safe and trusted way
Share examples of worker voice technology solutions for workers to speak up and managers to listen and help
Examine the business case for worker voice technologies – how tools reduce absenteeism and increase productivity
Panelists will reflect on the following questions:
What issues are workers facing and what are the available channels of communication? Are they used and if not, why?
What does ‘worker voice’ mean? What does it mean to design technological tools to enable worker voice on the factory floor?
How does providing workers with an enabling environment increase job satisfaction and in turn, productivity and retention? What does the evidence suggest on the business case of worker voice?
What are the most important recent initiatives on worker wellbeing and worker voice that have transformed the supply chain? What are the gaps & opportunities remaining?
How does worker voice feature in the larger narrative of business and human rights?