Communities case study
Improving wellbeing and relationships in Bangladesh
Working with textile factories in Dhaka
The Very Group partners with suppliers globally who put people first. Collaborating with likeminded suppliers enables us to implement training courses that improve the lives and livelihoods of workers within our supply chains. In Bangladesh, we identified two such partners, Silken Sewing and Essential Clothing, to work on a revolutionary new training programme that focused on colleague wellbeing, stronger relationships and better productivity.
Like us, the leadership teams at our partner businesses were passionate about creating a better environment for their people.
To help us put the programme into action, we chose Impactt, a Dhaka-based consultancy that specialises in improving workers’ livelihoods in a way that benefits businesses and colleagues.
The people element of the programme focused on building an even stronger relationship between the workers and mid-level management.
The course included supporting the HR team to update policies and procedures, and identify ways to improve worker-management relationships. The training highlighted what colleagues should expect from their employer and vice versa. After the module, the factories saw significant reductions in both absenteeism and worker turnover.
A buddy system to help new starters settle in faster and raise issues in an informal setting was also introduced following the module. These initiatives saw worker satisfaction increase at both factories and workers reported feeling more supported at work.
The productivity element of the programme focused on how to improve efficiencies in the factory by reducing the defect rate of products made, as well as helping the leadership team better understand where existing processes could be improved.
The purpose of introducing this concept to all employees at both sites was to encourage individuals to create small improvements, in turn resulting in big achievements such as greater efficiency and reduced waste.
In addition, new worker recognition schemes helped to boost performance and morale, with workers receiving zero defect operator status and bonuses for contributing to activities and ideas.
The general wellbeing element, called ‘UP!’ focused on communication, health and hygiene, and finance. Over 2,200 workers completed the training.
The improved communication skills, coupled with the benefits of the productivity module, led to more than 60% of workers receiving an attendance bonus, which represents a significant improvement from before the training. This additional money supports the workers to send their children to school and save money in case of emergencies.
The module also focused on financial literacy. It encouraged the predominantly female workforce to open bank accounts so that they can plan better and understand the benefits of saving part of their income. Helping the workers to create their own budgets gave them a clearer understanding of their income versus expenditure, improving their ability to manage their finances better.
The programme was introduced to assist our suppliers to better support their people. The stability this training has brought to these factories will have social and economic benefits for the factories, our communities in Dhaka and ourselves.
We will continue to strengthen our relationships with even more factories to enable us to support more factories improve conditions and access to support for their workers.