Introduction

In a high-intensity work environment like that of garment production, problems of psychological, verbal, and  physical abuse are common. This negatively impacts workers’ psychological well being inside and outside the workplace. To address this challenge, GBL, in collaboration with Shahi Exports, and Options and Solutions has designed a soft skills training program called S.T.I.T.C.H. (Supervisors Transformation into Change Holders) for production line supervisors (factory floor managers supervising the work of front-line machine operators and helpers). We are evaluating  impacts of the training on changes in the overall work environment for workers (harassment and abuse), retention, attendance, and productivity.

Design

To optimize the content of the training, we first conducted an extensive survey of the managerial practices and styles, workplace behaviors, and personality characteristics of all supervisors at Shahi. The data from these surveys was matched with historical data on productivity, and by using frontier econometric methods we identified which aspects of managerial quality are the most important determinants of productivity. We were also able to understand which of these qualities were most deficient across all supervisors, in order to design the modules such that they can tackle these deficiencies. The experiment covers a total of 2002 workers, wherein 1039 are receiving the treatment and 963 are part of the control group, which will receive the treatment in the second phase. The program is being delivered by STITCH-certified trainers, through weekly one-hour group sessions at the factory, over a period of 25 weeks.

Status of the project

The Lab along with its implementation partners is currently training nearly half of all supervisors in every Shahi factory unit. The results from the trial will be available over the next four months, and will inform any changes to the implementation model. Cognizant of the need for a holistic approach to transforming the work environment on the production floor, we intend to develop a training module for the upper managers on the factory floor, and implement it after phase 1 of supervisor training.