The Importance of The Worker Voice

What better way to understand the opportunities within your business, than to consider the perspectives of those who are engaged in it on a regular basis? Any way we look at it, people drive business – and when these people have the room to express themselves freely and know that their stories are heard, we give ourselves and our businesses the chance to improve in unexpected ways and make a positive impact on workers, their communities and the environment.

We collect and listen to workers’ and farmers’ views, opinions, and beliefs. They are central to our research and activities, allowing us to gather accurate, robust data that drives decision making.

The reality is that right now, ensuring that workers are heard and that their concerns and feedback are taken seriously, is an area that requires much improvement.

To add to the challenge of the worker voice not always being prioritised, language barriers, socio-economic divides, and widely differing worldviews also prevent workers from being heard and understood by their employers.

As is almost always the case, a dip into a philosophical work of literature can teach us a lot about what it means to see things from the perspective of another.

What can a charming – and famous – drawing from a classic story book teach us about the importance of the Worker Voice?

When we are asked why the Worker Voice is such an important factor in the design and implementation of a successful responsible business or business and Human Rights programme, this drawing, from a book called The Little Prince, springs to mind.

♦ “My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. Then, I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grownups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained.” — The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

We each experience the world in a unique way, and at Partner Africa, we’ve found unmatched value in genuinely seeking to understand the issues faced by workers, striving to improve their working conditions, and managing the risks of causing these issues to arise or worsen in our clients’ organisations.

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