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Introducing WEST Principles: 8 Guidelines for Worker Engagement Interventions

By Wayan Vota on September 4, 2017

Over the last 6 years, the emergence of new worker engagement technologies has sparked industry wide discussions about the value of connecting with workers in a new way, and how data about their opinions and experiences can be leveraged to improve working conditions.

Today, the idea of scalable, technology-supported worker engagement has passed the proof of concept stage and there is a proliferation of new technologies, approaches, and providers.

WEST Principles

The Worker Engagement Supported by Technology (WEST) Principles are a set of guidelines developed to maximize the impact of technology-driven efforts to engage workers in global supply chains. They give guidance on how to design and implement technological solutions that identify and address worker abuse and exploitation.

Technology-driven approaches can enable stakeholders at all levels of global supply chains to take action against human rights abuses and improve worker well-being—the opportunity lies in how these solutions are designed and implemented.

There are eight WEST Principles and their implementation occurs in four phases:

  • Design
    1. Start with Integrity & Purpose
    2. Use Worker-Centric & Inclusive Design
  • Engage
    1. Build Trust with Workers
    2. Facilitate Uptake & Ownership
    3. Manage Security & Risk
  • Analyze
    1. Analyze Engagement & Impact
  • Utilize Data
    1. Inform Decisions & System Changes
    2. Collaborate & Share Learnings

As you can see, the WEST Principles are similar to the Principles of Digital Development, so international development practitioners should find them familiar and easy to implement.

Join Us in Supporting a Unified Approach

By establishing an agreed upon approach, the WEST Principles aim to maximize the impact of technology-driven efforts to engage workers in global supply chains and ensure they can work with dignity and free from abuse.

Initiated by a group of technology providers, the Principles seek to engage stakeholders at all levels of global supply chains—including workers, worker organizations, the private sector, and governments—to collectively develop a roadmap to operationalize their use.

The principles were convened by Humanity United and Laborlink by Good World Solutions, the authors of the WEST Principles also include GeoPoll, MicroBenefits, Ulula, and Workplace Options.

All stakeholders are invited to endorse the WEST Principles to affirm their commitment to improving the way technology-driven efforts are designed and implemented. By supporting a unified approach, we can realize the promise of technology to improve workers’ lives.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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One Comment to “Introducing WEST Principles: 8 Guidelines for Worker Engagement Interventions”


    I am intersted and would like to be part of this initiative.