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Worker Engagement Key to Company Reputation, Research Finds

Research reveals it is critical for retailers to heighten engagement with workers and trading partners in the supply chain to safeguard against reputational risk.

The study, conducted by Responsible Trade Worldwide (RTW) amongst 1700-plus employees in retail global supply chains, revealed that on average 5.6 working days - or over a week - is lost for each employee per annum due to unauthorized absence, which is time off over and beyond legitimate reasons for being absent from work such as sick leave, holiday and maternity leave. This equates to 9,520 working days across the respondents.

Often such absence will occur due to personal issues such as family difficulties and, as such, it will always need to be managed by employers. However, according to Responsible Trade Worldwide, such high levels of unauthorized absence, as revealed in the study, should be a red flag for retailers when assessing their suppliers as it can often indicate poor working conditions, low worker satisfaction, lack of job security, insufficient training, and low pay, amongst other issues. Another key finding of the research revealed that there was 34 percent labor turnover amongst those interviewed, which could also create additional risk in the supply chain.

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