Worker voice – ESG compliance
Worker voice is a powerful and authentic way to measure ESG compliance. It is sometimes also called “employee voice”, and it means the opinions, comments, desires and views of workers.
Worker voice is authentic, third party, ESG compliance data.
Low cost, simple, amazingly powerful. Ask the workers!
Worker voice definition
Good definitions for worker voice or employee voice are available online:
- CIPD (in the UK) states that worker voice or employee voice is the “means by which people communicate their views to their employer and influence matters that affect them at work”.
- Wikipedia refers “to the participation of employees in influencing organisational decision-making”.
ESG means “environmental, social and governance” and it is a matter that concerns all stakeholders in any business. This includes the corporate customers, the end-consumers of products, shareholders, investors and society at large.
Worker voice can be a powerful measure of ESG compliance.
Worker voice ESG compliance
In this short post we focus on how to use technology to collect worker voice for ESG compliance.
The focus for worker voice or employee voice should be on workers as a whole rather than specific individuals, and this allows us to gain insights about how workers are collectively treated.
This can include matters that affect individual workers such as whether whistle-blowing or grievance processes are available and trusted. But the main thrust of the approach is general; for example, are workers being paid on time, and getting a living wage? Do workers find the facilities clean enough and are they given enough breaks? How are female employees treated verus male employees? and so on.
Social practice can be monitored via worker voice for “S” and for significant parts of “G” of ESG compliance.
Technology for worker voice and ESG compliance
The best way to collect worker voice data for ESG compliance is via a simple, specialist system that offers one-way communication between workers and the company and external stakeholders; external stakeholders include corporate customers, end-consumers of products and shareholders.
A simple worker voice app can be installed on the mobile phones of workers in order to collect worker opinions.
A well-designed app can cover all aspects of a workplace and this can include health and safety, freedoms and pay, and whether grievance processes are effective. It can also operate 24 hours a day and continually; so this approach means that we can monitor whether workplaces live by their standards – all the time.
We have learned through experience that a small footprint mobile app is best and the app should require no permissions and take no personal data. In this area, “less is more”.
The app should be:
- Quick and so taking less than a minute
- Broad, including enough topics to make the data useful
- Rewarding, so it should include a way to thank workers who provide their opinions
- Sound, with statistical protections built-in to deal with artificial or contradictory responses
- Easy, with a simple user interface that is understandable across languages and cultures
- Anonymous, guaranteeing privacy for workers so that they can answer freely
- Continuous, so apps go onto worker phones and stay on worker phones
A simple system works with a minimum amount of training and can deliver a huge amount of authentic data. There are limitations and matters to be aware of, so see our article about potential issues: “Worker voice data, 7 things to know“. But a well-designed app goes onto the worker phone and stays on the worker phone, and has the protections, checks and balances built-in to ensure the data is authentic and safely collected.
As of the time of writing (February 2022), we have live implementations in workplaces now consistently running at over 10,000 data points per week. This example comes from a single workplace and the data covers 56 individual topics across 7 dimensions.
If the system collects worker voice data properly, then the data is:
- Third party
- Standardised and comparable
This means that, with some moderation, it can be used to generate a social score for a workplace. We can compare social scores across workplaces and this is a very powerful driver for change.
Theories of change
We support three major drivers of change via the social score:
- Comparison: humans love to compete and the social score means something because it can be compared, and we emphasise this in our dashboards and reporting. Competition challenges workplaces to improve and worker voice data is authentic, real-time and third party.
- Nudge economics: we link the social score to the cost of trade finance and supply chain finance (another capability of our platform). So corporate buyers and brands can reward improvements in real-time. This means that our social scores are important to suppliers all the time and not just once a year when there is an audit. Suppliers win and lose based on how they treat their workers – all the time.
- Consumer-driven: we link workers directly to consumers using web-links and QR codes and this is both online and in-store. Consumers can see what the workers who made their products are saying. And this is in real-time. So consumers can vote with their wallets based upon the social scores of the suppliers who make the products; and this allows retailers and brands (and suppliers) to measure their return on investments in ESG compliance.
These are powerful forces which our worker voice technology harnesses and deploys at low cost and at scale.
Mass-market, simple, low cost
We offer our app as a low cost and mass-market product.
We set up factories, fields or farms on our system inside an hour. In order to start, a workplace simply uploads a simple file listing their workers by their employee number and we do not need personal identification data like names, email addresses or phone numbers. Their workers download the app from the google play store, register to their workplace, and then data starts to flow. Our app is simple and intuitive and we aim to support any language needed.
This approach allows us to keep the cost to a minimum. Our app is effectively free for workplaces to adopt. Within a day or so, useful data is available. Within a few weeks, we usually have enough data to switch on our social score system.
How can I find out more?
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