Transform complex challenges into positive growth
We use the scope and scale of our supply chain to tackle complex challenges and make a positive impact on the enterprise. That's why in 2016, when we recognized the automation era’s impact on production lines and traditional skillsets, we began investing in learning and development opportunities for our suppliers' employees. We call this initiative our Worker Empowerment Training Program (WETP), an initiative designed to train workers in new skillsets.
The program addresses the fourth goal of the UN Sustainable Development: "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all." This initiative closely aligns with our sustainability strategy and our Flex 20 by 2020 goals.
WETP was created to bolster the skillsets of our suppliers' principal supervisors and future production leaders. The original goal was to improve the technical and vocational skills of manufacturing employees by implementing the program at 20 supplier sites. We partnered with Business for Social Responsibility™ for program development and implementation. The nonprofit organization conducted a global research effort to uncover the drivers and trends related to growing factory worker skills.
Our team leader's ability to problem-solve and communicate grew significantly. The turnover rate improved because of it.- Managing Director, Inventus Power, benefited factory in China
Program graduates invest in future leaders
The program focuses on universal workforce development training for our factory partners through a 15-course curriculum on attitude, skills, knowledge and training-of-trainers. Courses include leadership, self-confidence, team spirit, assertive communication, personal finance management, mathematics and logic, to name a few. Once our suppliers’ supervisors and human resources staff complete the program, they are equipped to train other high-potential colleagues. Now they help build future leaders and share knowledge with their suppliers, creating a multiplying effect and expanding the program’s impact.
The program has delivered amazing results. In three years, our team has completed training for 46 supplier sites, 26 more than our original target.
- In 2017, we kicked off the program with three suppliers, two in Guadalajara, Mexico and one in Dongguan, China. The effort directly trained 65 valuable employees.
- In 2018, we expanded the program with 19 suppliers in Mexico and China. This second phase included internal suppliers at manufacturing sites such as canteen services, coffee shops and employee transportation.
- In 2019, we included five suppliers in China and 19 suppliers in Guadalajara and Tijuana, Mexico, training almost 300 people.
We directly trained 653 supplier employees, who went on to train 6,624 additional workers. Two of our suppliers, located in China and Mexico, also started delivering the practice to a supplier of their own. We expect the numbers to continue to grow in the coming years.
The Flex Worker Empowerment Training Program improved my self-confidence, the training also helped me improve my communication skills and be more direct.- Manufacturing supervisor, MGM, benefited factory in Mexico
Leadership isn’t limited to the office
We conduct interviews with the suppliers’ general managers, human resource leaders and WETP participants to measure the quality and effectiveness of the program. Based on consistent feedback, it is clear that the training helps employees strengthen professional relationships. And the benefits extend beyond the workplace. Participants utilize the lessons at home with family and friends, improving personal life. Suppliers confirmed that employees who complete the training have more self-confidence and communicate better with their teams.