2016 was the year retail got bruised. From Sport’s Direct to Ivy Park, ethicality was brought to the fore in some of the most public accusations of modern day slavery for many years.
Behind each of these scandals is a glaringly obvious cause – a severe lack of communication. Our consumer-driven society is cultivated by business leaders who are distanced from the reality of the supply chains involved in creating their products.
Historically, it’s been hard for ethically minded suppliers to find effective ways to gain honest and open feedback from workers in their supply chain. As working norms are not universally open and transparent, audit interviews are susceptible to coaching and paper surveys are tiresome to collate. So what’s the solution?
Never one to sit back and do nothing, Matrix set to work with a solution. Working off the theory that happy workers make a happy and prosperous business, Matrix has launched MatrixChat. A new service which combines social media and technology to provide support to workers and retrieve meaningful insights in real time.
In China, where Matrix’s partner factories are based, 80% of workers use WeChat to communicate with other people. So, it made complete sense to use it as a platform to engage workers. Through development of a new mini site, MatrixChat, will allow workers to post their concerns and log everything from quality of life and satisfaction statistics to making workplace requests for communal wifi. The transparent communication will help factory managers to hear worker’s voices and understand how they can improve their lives to ensure they feel better at work and are able do a better job in the long run.
Information, education and inspiration
MatrixChat will also serve as a learning, news and product gallery hub, giving workers the chance to learn about everything from relevant regulation changes, to seeing images of the products they helped to create being sold on shop shelves in the UK. Matrix has also taken steps to help migrant workers settle in and feel secure in their day to day lives through partnerships with local NGOs and institutions.
The new service could revolutionise engagement with factory workers meaning factory floor exposes of the same ilk as Sports Direct and Ivy Park could be a thing of the past. Open communication and access to information will inspire and motivate workers, while consumer goods brands that make the necessary tweaks to their supply chains stand to gain from the increased productivity of a happier and stable workforce.
You can follow MatrixChat on WeChat now.