Retaining Happy, Productive Workers
Plaza for Ready-made Garments, located in Suez, is a factory that specialises in outerwear and focuses on exporting its productions to Germany, the UK and the USA. Plaza had a major problem. Its worker retention rates were extremely low (between 90-100 workers were leaving every month) mainly due to bad relationships with superiors.
Such as the case with many factories, the prevailing culture is that a supervisor’s job entailed shouting at their staff to keep their production line in check and to ensure their staff are producing at full capacity. However, this wasn’t working neither in terms of production rates nor worker retention.
Some supervisors in Plaza attended the Supervisory Skills Training provided through KHATWA ‘for improving job quality’ which is implemented under the umbrella of the Federation for Economic Development Associations (FEDA) and supported by GIZ-Labour Market Access Project (LMAP) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
This is when they found some unexpected developments.
“These supervisors had workers from their line complaining every second day,” Nasser Khan, Plaza’s General Manager says. “After this training, I cannot believe they are the same supervisors. Before the training we were losing a lot of workers, but in the last four months we've had much fewer people leave.”
Safaa Attia, Plaza’s Human Resources Manager, confirms that in December, merely six months after the training, they had only 29 workers leave in comparison to more than 100 at the start.
Eman Galal, was one of the supervisors at Plaza who took part in the training. She’s responsible for a production line that follows steps from cutting materials to delivering the pieces ready for quality control, she supervises 75 female workers. “I've been a supervisor for ten years but I feel like I knew nothing about being a supervisor,” Eman says. “I used to have a really short temper. In the training I learned how to control my anger, how to deal with the workers. The training gave me the tools to communicate with the managers and workers. I even applied what I learned at home.” For her, the most valuable aspect was learning how to deal with different types of people and how to create a positive work environment. “The trainers would never tell us what is right and wrong, we were to understand that from the games and discussions,” she adds.
Kalthum, one of the workers who has been working at Plaza for four years confirms seeing a difference in Eman’s management skills. “Eman used to take decisions on a whim without consulting anyone. Now she consults the managers and us to solve problems in a positive way,” she says.
“If our relationships are good amongst ourselves, and with the supervisors and managers then we'll all care more about work and want to achieve better results,” Kalthum adds.
And that they did.
“My line was collapsing, but now my line is stable and our production numbers grew from 1,050 pieces per day to 1,250,” Eman says. ”The spirit in the team became better too. We're all friends. We share our problems with each other and support one another.”
The Supervisory Skills Training is provided through KHATWA for improving job quality. KHATWA aims at raising the awareness about the importance of job quality and at paving the way for SMEs to do so. Its success lies in establishing close networks with SMEs nationwide, thereby significantly influencing employment potentials.
KHATWA’s endeavors are piloted under the umbrella of the Federation for Economic Development Associations (FEDA) and supported by the Labour Market Access Project (LMAP), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).