The Social Impact Toolkit builds on experience from the Human Rights and Social Impact Pilot Project in Zambia, implemented by the Danish Institute of Human Rights, Kukula Capital, and five local Zambian partner businesses. The Pilot Project was done in order to establish the link between improvements in employees’ welfare and business productivity so as to obtain validated evidence on which the Toolkit could be built.
Pilot Project Implementation
Initiatives and Outputs
The Pilot Project resulted in a number of social interventions to improve the living conditions of workers and their dependents, including the installation of rainwater harvesting units, a medication scheme, the purchase of bicycles, and a water storage solution for employee households.
The Human Rights and Social Impact Pilot Project developed easy-to-measure productivity metrics that were monitored over a year and a half to ascertain whether there were any positive business outcomes post-intervention. These indicators included: employee turnover, employee absenteeism rate, sick rate, monthly employee appraisals and tenants’ feedback.
Employee appraisals and tenants’ feedback were documented and evaluated to note any improvements in employees’ work performance post-intervention. These were carried out by third parties who benefitted from employee services either directly or indirectly.
Rates of employee absenteeism and turnover are good indications of the workplace environment and overall satisfaction of employees. Low absenteeism and turnover rates generally indicate a loyal, motivated workforce that is hard-working and committed.
By measuring these calculations and performance indicators against the effectiveness of human rights based interventions in the livelihoods of workers and their dependents, it became clear what the economic and social benefits were relative to cost. The business outcomes of the Pilot Project interventions can be seen below:
Absenteeism rates reduced from an annual rate of 17% pre-intervention to 4% post-intervention.
13% reduction in absenteeism rate helped Pilot Project SMEs save c. US$ 20,262 annually from fixed employee salaries.
Poor and fair employee appraisal ratings were reduced by 3% and 11% respectively between the pre- and post- intervention periods.
Overall, there was an improvement in employee attitude and an increase in work commitment, with 56% and 24% achieving a good and excellent rating respectively by the end of the project.
Only 6.3% of the tenants felt the Project Pilot company’s services provided by employees were poor at the end of the project compared to 21.5% at the start.
There was a 10% improvement in the rating of employee service post-intervention, with a monthly average of 70% of employees rated as excellent, compared to 60% pre-intervention.