Over 62% of factory workers say that training in rights and responsibilities has led to improved communication between workers and managers, according to Axfoundation’s recently published impact assessment of digital training on 19 supplier factories in China. The report, covering suppliers to Axfood, Martin & Servera, KICKS, Filippa K and Åhléns, indicates that working environments have improved since Quizrr training programs were introduced. The report is available in English and Mandarin.
“Our assessment shows signs of improved worker engagement after Quizrr trainings, which is a significant result. A majority of workers and managers responding to the survey claim that nominations of worker representatives take place, followed by democratic elections and participatory meetings. More than half of the respondents claim these changes occurred after the training. If correctly reported, this is an important achievement.”- Viveka Risberg, Axfoundation
Aiming to build capacity
Asia, particularly China, supplies most of the world’s food and goods. After decades of supply chain management based on audits, experience and research show that this approach does not lead to sustainable change. Capacity building measures are also needed to empower employees through increased knowledge and stimulate dialogue between workers and management.
Axfoundation initiated a capacity-building drive in 2014 to support Axel Johnson companies to operate in a more effective and sustainable way by reinforcing workers’ rights and empowerment at supplying factories in China. Digital learning program Quizrr was chosen to provide training programs to increase knowledge of rights and responsibilities. Gradually, more advanced programs have been implemented like Wage Management System and Worker Engagement. In the fall of 2019, before the Corona pandemic, Axfoundation assessed the output and outcomes of the initiative by collecting quantitative and qualitative data via online surveys at 19 of the factories.
Many of the respondents report that the training has led to increased understanding of processes at the factory. In response to open questions about the training, some workers say that the training has led to more active involvement and has improved problem solving at the factory. When asked about changes they had noticed at their factory after training, the right to speak out, willingness to express ideas and increased motivation were often mentioned. Raised awareness and consciousness regarding working conditions and production processes is a prerequisite for actual improvements, according to Viveka Risberg at Axfoundation.
percent of workers said trainings led to improved communication between workers and managers
percent of workers said there had been an election of worker representatives
percent of mangers said trainings led to more resolved grievances
High number of respondents
Almost half (49%) of all workers and managers working at the 19 factories responded to the survey. The report is based on in total 1,869 respondents (1,315 workers and 554 managers). The response rate and the number of respondents is high enough to support indications that positive change is ongoing, and that knowledge is crucial. However, methodological weaknesses should be taken into account.
“There is a risk of bias as respondents may over or underemphasize their input. It is also possible that surveys initiated by customers tend to generate more positive responses from suppliers. In short, it is difficult to validate the veracity of the responses.” – Viveka Risberg, Axfoundation
Over the last few years, local representatives of Axel Johnson companies in China have been closely involved in the implementation of Quizrr. Their representatives believe that Quizrr has played a role in changing attitudes. Short films used in the training programs depict the benefits of effective worker representation, good dialogue and rights-based approaches. The aim is to encourage better understanding and openness, both of which are unfortunately difficult to measure. Among the reasons for the positive outcome of this initiative, may well be changing attitudes among workers and managers.
Quizrr uses short films shot in local factory environments, which workers and staff can easily relate to, in conjunction with a series of questions.
factories in China supplying Axel Johnson companies were using Quizrr
workers and managers trained
training sessions held