For years, Nike, Inc. has been a leader in improving factory worker conditions, going beyond compliance by providing resources and support to its manufacturing partners. Over the last few years, with the help of vendors like Labor Solutions, Nike has developed, piloted, and deployed at scale their worker Engagement and Wellbeing Survey (EWB).
The EWB is designed to help suppliers better track and facilitate factory worker engagement. Featuring 21 questions, the survey covers topics like safety, stress, financial security, and general wellbeing. The goal of the survey is to help managers identify opportunities to better support employees and encourage two-way communication.
Recently, Nike publicly shared the EWB survey in an effort to encourage industry-wide support of worker engagement and wellbeing activities. “Industry collaboration is critical in preventing the replacement of ‘audit fatigue’ with ‘survey fatigue,’” comments Bijie Li, Director of Operations and Surveying at Labor Solutions, “I am encouraged by the sharing of this survey so the industry can work together to use surveying strategically and successfully to create change.”
According to Li, the biggest challenge facing the survey industry is that surveys will be used as a scoring mechanism for factories. “If brands and industry groups start applying value judgments to survey results, we risk that workers will be coached, results will be skewed, and change will not occur,” explains Li. “Rather than viewing feedback from workers as either good or bad, we should recognize that getting any kind of feedback from workers is valuable. Disengaged workers rarely give feedback and when they are forced to do so they often lie because they don’t believe their voice can create change.”
Li is encouraged that Nike, in addition to releasing the EWB questions, is sharing a white paper that includes best practices for survey use. Among other things, the white paper highlights the importance of factory management engagement and follow-up with workers in a timely manner after the survey is completed. It also notes that a survey is not the solution, but a “starting point to catalyze factory management to further engage employees.” Nike explains that the survey was created as a way of providing better feedback to management, so “it is most effective when bundled into a technology platform that enables communication with management.”
Over the last three years, Workplace Options’ Labor Solutions team has partnered with Nike and its suppliers to implement a significant number of EWB surveys. Labor Solutions has conducted the EWB throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. Beyond delivering the survey, Labor Solutions has also conducted follow-up focus group discussions and helped craft solutions for participating facilities. One such solution is WOVO, a mobile and web-based worker engagement and communication platform developed by Labor Solutions. The EWB is now available to all Labor Solutions clients via WOVO.
“The Labor Solutions team has learned a lot through the consistent deployment of the EWB around the world, including how to respond to unexpected results, how to successfully deploy the survey using technology platforms like SMS and WOVO, and how to navigate the relationship between a brand and its supplier when presenting data,” explains Li. “Perhaps the most rewarding part of the process is seeing how the factories are using the data to effectively create change.”
For more information about the EWB survey, contact LaborSolutions@workplaceoptions.com.