The use of smartwatches to gamify worker performance could help reduce labor turnover and improve worker engagement in poultry processing.

The COVID-19 global pandemic may have exacerbated poultry workforce challenges, but labor shortages have been a concern for the industry for a number of years. 

“When we look at the data and research out there, we see that a lack of engagement in workers is one of the largest drivers of turnover and poor retention in workforces,” Dr. Jason Guss, CEO of Iterate Labs, explained.

“It can be a lack of purpose and goals for workers, lack of feedback or recognition, lack of a work culture or boredom, resources that don’t allow management to provide adequate feedback or not guiding workers on their potential career growth.”

Gamifying worker metrics

During the second webinar in the Poultry Tech Webinar Series, Guss previewed a smartwatch platform that can collect and track worker performance through artificial intelligence (AI).

Data collected by the wearables is collected by a gateway located in the facility. This information is then sent to the cloud, where it is easily accessible to managers and displayed in recognition dashboards to give workers real time information on their performance.

Gamifying these metrics could help reduce worker injury, fatigue and turnover, as well as improve training adherence. In addition, the data can provide insights to help managers at poultry processing facilities solve their top turnover-causing issues and improve engagement and retention.

Deployed in the real world

In a test of 50 workers at a meat processing facility, the wearables increased management daily facetime by ten minutes and resulted in the promotion of two workers based on their performance and scores on the recognition dashboards.

“We were not only able to help them drastically eliminate turnover, but we were also able to help drive production and safety outcomes as well,” said Guss.

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The facility reduced worker turnover by 65%, reduced nurse visits and recordables by 75% and improved average cycle time performance by 5%.

Even more notably, Guss said, was the feedback from management which noted that “we would normally have tons of turnover and absenteeism, but we were pleasantly surprised to see almost nobody left while we used the platform. The wearable has been a magical wand for our facility.”

The AI smartwatch platform test has scaled up to four additional facilities in the last 12 months.

What’s coming next

For more on the technologies set to advance the poultry industry, join industry-changing innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, investors and leading poultry producers at the Poultry Tech Webinar Series, scheduled for November 2, 4, 10, 11, 17, 30 and December 2.

During the webinar series, industry experts will preview what’s coming next – from prospective solutions to developing technology – for the poultry industry. 

This webinar series is proudly sponsored by: Arm & Hammer, Aviagen, Baader, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cargill, Ceva, Chore-Time, Cobb, Evonik, Marel, Phibro Animal Health, Staubli and Zoetis.

Visit our website for more details on the webinar series, topics and speakers.

Register for free today and join us for a glimpse at the future of the poultry industry.