For many companies, contractors are essential to the smooth operation of the business. They are an integral part of the workforce, providing specialist skills and additional resources that those companies can’t do without. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to change the way we operate, protecting the health and safety of our workers, adhering to government health orders and still trying to meet our commitments to customers. Now, in the wake of an extremely challenging year, many of us are faced with rebuilding our businesses and operating successfully in what has so quickly become the new normal. And, as uncertain times follow, with global, national and state economies recovering from the impact of the pandemic and different rates, adaptability is critical.
Why Now is the Time for Change?
As workers return and our businesses re-open, we are all eagerly anticipating a return to some kind of normality. But, I think it’s clear that our work lives have irreversibly changed during the pandemic. Operating in the new normal is challenging enough with employees in multiple locations, but the problem compounds if you also engage contractors. Movement between sites, visibility over contractor compliance and confusion over protocols can all hinder operations. That’s why, as business leaders, this is the moment to take the right actions to build ongoing resilience.
Many of us will have embraced digital transformation during the last 12 months, adopting a digital-first attitude and leaning on the cloud to enable remote working. What better moment to use this digitalisation as a steppingstone to continuing efficiency and flexibility? When resetting our businesses for the new normal, we should ask ourselves what makes us agile and what will help us respond to whatever is thrown at us next. And we should consider how we will maintain and reinforce the behaviours that have been fundamental to our safety and continuity of our businesses during the pandemic.
Why You Have to Drive a Culture of Prioritising Health?
If nothing else, the last year should have taught us how important it is to protect the safety of our workers. When incidents happen, it can have a huge financial and reputational impact. However, when times are difficult, while we know we should put safety before profit, often the opposite is tempting. When trying to save jobs, boost short-term profit and ultimately ensure the viability of your business, tough decisions are made that don’t always support the former priorities of the company.
The truth is that debt can be a significant driver for risky practices. In fact, new research published in Decision Sciences has shown that companies with a 20% increase in debt see a similar rise in health and safety regulation breaches. Not only do these breaches put workers at risk, but they have both short and long-term financial implications. In the study, profit margins dropped by an average of 1.27% in the year after a safety breach, with similar effects on sales growth and return on assets. As we recover from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s never been more important to drive a culture of safety in your business, ensuring worker health continues to receive a strong focus. In fact, prioritising health and safety can in many ways be seen as a strategic initiative, allowing your organisation to lead by example, while at the same time building business resilience and sustainability.
The Role of Technology in Achieving Adaptability
Many of us have adopted new technologies to help us cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. This sudden rise in digitalisation has highlighted the benefits that software and applications can deliver to our businesses. We are able to automate manual processes, communicate remotely and scale our operations according to business needs. However, now is the moment to review the technologies we are using and to adopt others that have the potential to add real business value taking strategic initiatives to the next level. After all, technology can save us time and money, make us more efficient and deliver flexibility to our operations.
Contractor management software, such as that offered as part of Conserve’s compliance management services, can do just that. It delivers several key benefits that lead to a more adaptable business model:
- Stronger communication – with more and more workers operating remotely, communication is paramount. With the right software, you are able to communicate regularly and effectively, instil health and safety messages, engage workers in new procedures and ensure everyone has access to new guidelines and training materials. And, if there is an urgent message, a need for certain workers to isolate, for example, you can send instant notifications.
- Enhanced flexibility – many businesses have had to reduce the scale of their work during recent months, along with the size of their workforce. To begin to regrow, you may well need to rely on a contingent workforce more than ever. With the right management system, your business can easily source, pre-qualify and bring in the right people as and when you need them.
- Increased visibility – by using technology to monitor compliance, your business has a digital, real-time record of every contractor’s status. You are able to clearly see that your contractors have the necessary qualifications and insurances, that they have completed health and safety training and that they have agreed to comply with your internal procedures.
A Compliant Workforce Builds a Healthy Company
How your business operates now that change has become the new normal will define your success in the coming year. Without a doubt, every business needs to be able to adapt and to achieve that level of adaptability, the combination of the right technology and people is key. By using a complete solution to help manage your contractors, you can automate processes, empower your workforce and, most importantly, keep everyone safe and well. After all, by ensuring a safe workforce, you are taking a huge step towards building a healthy company.
For over a decade, Conserve has helped organisations overcome contractor management challenges. We can help you develop a contractor management service that will be not only effective but will make your organisation safer, while minimising your overall risk. Request a demo now or visit the Conserve page for more great content.
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