After completion of a baseline survey, the firms were randomly assigned to a Control group (N=110), a Production measurement group (N=105), and a production measurement plus Goals setting group (N=210).
Firms in the Control group did not receive any training, while all firms assigned to either Production or Goals were invited to participate in a training on production measurement. During the training, firms were instructed to follow a protocol to measure and record the amount of cassava peeled per employee per day. The training was offered to both employers and employees and was conducted on the premises of each firm on an agreed-upon date and time. For logistical reasons, a maximum of four employees per firm were allowed to participate in the training. Firms are usually run by one single employer, who receives the training. The training sessions were conducted either by a trained NBSSI Business Advisor (BA) and an IPA Monitor Officer (MO), or only by an IPA MO. The training took approximately one hour per firm.
At the beginning of the training, trainers introduced the tools that were to be used for production measurement. These tools consisted of a booklet for each employee, aluminum bowls of a standardized size (one per employee, up to four employees), a mobile-phone with a camera, a video outlining the protocol, and miscellaneous utensils (e.g. pencils, sheets, stickers, markers, etc..). The video was available in two local languages and it served as a reference in case the firm forgot the protocol. Each employee was given his/her own production booklet with a unique ID code and the names of both employee and employer on the front cover. On each page, the booklet had an illustration of twelve cassava bowls, numbered from 1 to 12, and at the top of the page, the following was written: `Today, I peeled this many bowls of cassava'. The design of the booklets and protocol is the result of careful piloting.
Once the tools were presented, employers and employees were trained to measure and record production using the following protocol. At the beginning of each working day, the employer would place on the side of the bowls a pre-printed sticker with the employer and employee ID and name, and the date of peeling. The employer would take the employee booklet and write down the date and the starting time of peeling. The employee would then start peeling cassava, placing the peeled cassava into her uniquely identified bowl. Employees received clear instructions that they could only use their uniquely identified bowl, and no other person could use their bowl to place peeled cassava. At the end of the working shift, the employer would count the number of bowls filled to the brim, circle in the employee booklet the total number of bowls, write down the end time, and place his/her thumb print or signature. The employer would then remove the stickers from each bowl and store the raw cassava.
In addition to recording production in each booklet, the employer was instructed to take a photograph of each bowl immediately after it was filled. The photos thus recorded information on the date and time at which a worker filled a bowl. In the event that the employer was absent, workers were permitted to take pictures of their bowls. Firms were informed that a monitor from IPA would visit each firm once a week to assess the firm's progress, collect data on production, and retrain on protocols if necessary. During the training, we promised that employers and employees would receive a completion certificate provided by IPA if they followed the protocols. We made it explicit that the phone and bowls were tools to be used only for the duration of this exercise and that the firm would not receive any reward based on how much cassava was peeled.
All firms were instructed to follow the production measurement protocol for eight weeks. Firms assigned to the Goals group were re-visited in week four and trained to set and record employees' production goals for the remaining four weeks. The protocol for setting goals was as follows. At the beginning of each working day, the worker would propose a daily target to the employer. If necessary, employer and worker would discuss whether the target was realistic, and the two would then agree on a target. Due to the informality of the context and the close employer/employee relationships and after consulting them in the piloting phase, we decided that goals would be set together by the employer and employee rather than individually by one of the two. Moreover, this is also in line with modern workplace practices, where it is common to have employees and employers agree on a target. The employee would then use his or her own goals booklet to record the number of bowls set as a target, and the employer would take a picture of the booklet immediately after the goal was set. The goals booklet was identical to the production booklet, in addition to an illustration of 12 numbered bowls at the top of each page with the sentence `Today, my goal is to peel this many bowls of cassava'. At the bottom of each page, there was an illustration of 12 numbered bowls representing the actual number of bowls filled on that day. After setting and recording a daily goal, employers and employees had to follow the same production measurement protocol described above.