Ethical Toy Program launches worker voice technology with MicroBenefits

New program leverages mobile technology to enable direct feedback from toy factory workers in China

The Ethical Toy Program is working with MicroBenefits to pilot a large-scale worker voice program which leverages mobile technology to make the sharing and collection of direct feedback on workplace conditions in the toy supply chain simpler. This industry pilot will deploy worker voice technology at 50 different toy factories in China.

Frontline manufacturing workers are most affected by conditions at their places of employment but communicating directly with them at scale can be a challenge. Workplace culture, fear of retribution or poor communication processes can prevent workers from giving direct feedback on their working conditions.  

To improve communication, the Ethical Toy Program is using mobile technology to receive insights directly from frontline manufacturing workers. Mobile devices connected to the internet are ubiquitous in China. Because of the high-rate of existing usage, leveraging mobile technology to create a worker voice platform is an effective way to reach a digital generation of workers. Not only are mobile devices convenient, but workers are also extremely comfortable using them and feel confident sharing information in this way.

The Ethical Toy Program has received funding from The Walt Disney Company to pilot worker voice technology at 50 toy factories in China, reaching thousands of workers. This pilot will use MicroBenefits’ mobile-based worker voice technology platform to deploy worker surveys in factories, improve communication, strengthen grievance channels, deploy targeted digital learning, and to gather other data on working conditions. 


Driving engagement with worker voice technology

The Ethical Toy Program will use the MicroBenefits platform to support audits by facilitating worker surveys at scale. Workers will be given a Quick Response (QR) Code with five or six questions to answer. This new process will work in the same way as current worker interviews but at much larger scale. Survey data will be used to validate audit findings and strengthen audit integrity.

The Ethical Toy Program will also use the platform to survey workers about their needs and concerns and to gather workers’ insights on specific issues in the workplace. These insights will inform the ongoing development of the Program’s assessments, capability building and worker well-being initiatives.

MicroBenefits’ CompanyIQ Worker Voice platform enables the Ethical Toy Program to distribute digital education directly to workers to increase workplace safety, knowledge of workers’ rights, and to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth through gamified learning.

“Improving workers’ lives at factories starts with understanding their needs. Our Worker Voice pilot will strengthen communication at factories and enable frontline workers to raise any concerns with us directly, helping us to address the issues they face in the workplace. It will also bring extra resources for factory management to help them improve positive engagement and dialogue with their workforce,” said Carmel Giblin, CEO and President of the Ethical Toy Program. “We are grateful to The Walt Disney Company for its generous support in helping us advance our work in this area.”

“In today’s competitive, rapidly changing manufacturing environment, it’s vital that factories keep their workforce informed and engaged. The Ethical Toy Program is among the first responsible sourcing initiatives to use worker voice technology at scale. MicroBenefits is delighted to be the delivery partner for this large-scale pilot to deploy mobile technologies at factories across China, a historically hard-to-reach population of frontline workers,” said Bryant J. Eggett, President of MicroBenefits.

Findings from this pilot will inform how to best employ technology with Ethical Toy Program audits and how to efficiently integrate it into the day-to-day operations of toy factories to support workers.


Get involved

We invite more brands and retailers to get involved and support our worker well-being initiatives. If you are interested in sponsoring this program to enable us to roll it out at more factories in your supply chain, please contact mark.robertson@ethicaltoyprogram.org. For any factories who would like to participate please contact sarah.ng@ethicaltoyprogram.org

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