Wednesday, 30 March 2016

CRB's R&R facilitation workshop in Bangalore

"Workers who better understand their business role, responsibilities and workplace rights are far more likely to develop a deep "sense of belonging” and “job ownership” at their workplaces, compared to their counterparts in mere mercenary and transactional work settings”, was the key message that all participants of Rights and Responsibilities (R&R) training programme took home at Bangalore yesterday! Rights and Responsibilities (or R&R as it is popularly known), is the flagship capacity building initiative of Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), a CSR centre of excellence incubated in 2011 in New Delhi, by the GIZ, SAI and BSCI. CRB has been involved in designing, developing and implementing many innovative capacity-building initiatives in the ready-made garments, home textiles and footwear supply-chains of India and Bangladesh for the past five years. 

“It is surely exciting to see how the R&R approach has creatively translated our code of conduct aspirations into short, easy to comprehend videos that speak to workers in their own contextual reality”, says Yogananda Kote, India sustainability manager at NIKE who took an active part in the recent R&R facilitation training in Bangalore on 29th March. Instead of delivering long and often boring powerpoint presentations to factory workers who are generally lethargic with short "attention spans”, R&R learning methodology involves showing short, fictionalised video films of 8-9 minutes’  duration, shot in actual factory environments and thereafter engaging workers in a facilitated feedbacks and discussions. “This way, our workers are never bored and tired from a long dragging behavioural orientation, as the R&R approach naturally triggers spontaneous and open responses from workers on how they feel about their working conditions and the possible roles they could play in bringing about the changes they see as necessary”, says Kalpana B.G, who currently leads the human resources management function at the Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (the RMG arm of India’s Aditya Birla Group). “As much effective a tool R&R is in building awareness of workplace rights and responsibilities among workers, a few of these training videos are also excellent new recruitee induction material!” reflects Poonam Chopra, HR Manager at Arvind Exports. 

While for many skeptics, a positive and proactive orientation of workers on workplace rights and responsibilities (which R&R approach stands for) might sound like a naïve and pre-mature adventure of raising unrealistic expectations among the workforce, the R&R experience so far however points to the contrary! More than 70% of the factories that have successfully implemented R&R worker trainings as a regular part of their HRM engagement with their workforces, have reported drastic improvements on their workers’ absenteeism and attrition fronts, which include some major savings in losses of skilled workers! While a structured M&E component to the programme just got added this year, the general feedback from most RMG and Home Textile businesses who embarked upon the R&R journey 2-3 years ago have been tremendously positive and encouraging so far.       

About the Author :

Raphel is an experienced supply chain sustainability professional who has earlier worked with Bestseller, a top Danish fashion retailer, handling their entire supply chain sustainability programme for the Asia region, and also with Mothercare, Timberland, H&M and Columbia Sportswear in as similar capacity. Before joining the corporate sector he had stints with WWF-India, CSE and Australian High Commission (New Delhi). He is currently working with Centre for Responsible Business as Vice President – Supply Chain Sustainability

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