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How to manage contractors in the digital age

15 November 2019

If you look after contractors in the workplace you’re likely to be a human resource manager, business owner, health & safety manager or learning & development manager. You will be responsible for the safety of your workforce, for their training, and to ensure they have the right qualifications for the work they are employed to do.

Discussing how to manage contractors is currently a hot topic. And, with the surge of the freelance or contingent workforce, a contractor management system (CMS) is regarded as a business first management tool. The CMS caters for all contingent workforce needs, to ensure their health and safety requirements and compliance at the very minimum.

If you are using spreadsheets for this purpose, you may find them adequate for some basic contractor management needs, however they are not a sustainable solution as your business evolves and expands. Replacing spreadsheets is important, if you want to remain compliant. As the complexity of your organisation grows, it is all too easy to miss the likes of a license renewal; that when overlooked could land you with a serious fine or – worse – cause property damage or injury.

If you’re considering how to manage contractors in this digital age, your first step is to confirm your contingent workforce challenges, health and safety obligations and wider-related business needs.

Choosing a new solution

Deloitte Insights encapsulates today’s market with ‘Cloud Hits the Enterprise’:

Businesses of every shape and size are using software as a service (SaaS) solutions to gain instant access to world-class IT capabilities without having to spend time and money acquiring, developing and maintaining their own IT systems and applications. This new model enables large companies to respond more quickly to market shifts and emerging business opportunities, improving their agility and flexibility. At the same time, it enables smaller companies to grow at unprecedented speed and in some instances to compete on equal footing with businesses that are much larger.

Cloud-based SaaS platforms are in abundance and flexible workplaces are now the norm. You will need to do your research to find a solution that meets your individualised needs and discern what offering will best meet them. Whether a solution is good or not will depend on how it meets the intended business requirements in real time and how well it is adopted across the business. The user experience should offer easy navigation and be intuitive (e.g. notifications, reporting) to become embedded as a day-to-day management tool. Other key essentials to factor in are the security and protection of information and anytime accessibility across devices, including mobile.

Organisations that have taken the leap to a cloud based solution have quickly discovered the benefits of digital transformation in their daily operations, streamlining the way they deal with clients, suppliers and stakeholders. Upon learning how to manage contractors digitally, users confirm it is far from complicated. Noting the misconception that an online solution is only for enterprise organisations, users have experienced ease of use and intuitive reporting that far exceeds the complexity and unwieldiness of a spreadsheet set up.

Key features of a contractor management system

An effective contractor management system solution should have the functionality and benefits to:

  • Invite suppliers and employees to connect, access and complete onboarding requirements before they have started the job.
  • Capture information and evidence by defining specific work requirements for suppliers, contractors and employees.
  • Induct and train individuals prior to work commencement with access to a repository of compliance and related professional development.
  • Verify requirements as well as track and be notified of the expiry date of records to minimise downtime of a worker that is nearing work permit expiry.
  • Monitor and permit those that are verified access to one or all of your work sites.

Key check-list considerations when choosing a Contractor Management System (CMS):

  • How simple and user friendly is it for your users and contractors? Communicate and streamline management for all types of users.
  • Contractor access to information, training and autonomous management of personal information (including licenses, certifications)
  • How easy is it to integrate with other systems such as HR or payroll (adding further automation to reduce administration)? Seeing your digital technology as a whole helps keep your business healthy.
  • Easy-to-use dashboards with reporting is expected, yet what about customisation?
  • Affordability – understanding your user numbers
  • Support – Downtime with implementation and user training
  • User permissions, levels of access and authority

How to manage contractors in the cloud

Implementing a dedicated contractor management cloud solution will ensure that key information is stored and protected by permissions and authentication. Cloud based solutions are recognised as pivotal to the future IT landscape. With a cloud solution the software sits at the vendor’s site, and the customer simply accesses the contractor management system through a web browser via an internet connection on a simple permissions basis, like a subscription you may have to the likes of Netflix.

Cloud based system contractor management solutions will help align processes offering reassurance that legal documents, permissions and notifications are stored safely. Such technology makes it easy to access your data anywhere and at any time with heightened automation to save organisations significant resources when handling their day-to-day operations. Companies enjoy cost-saving, time-saving benefits that come from the ease of a single transparent tool that caters for their contractor management needs.

What does return on investment look like?

If you work in a heavily regulated industry and fail to meet your compliance requirements, even once, the fine alone could have paid for a solution that would have prevented such an error to occur in the first place. For those in less-regulated industries, the ROI can be realised in missed opportunities. The benefits far outway the cost implications that are flexible and manageable, based upon the volume of users.

Through implementing a contractor management system businesses have solved many modern workforce challenges that include the mitigation of risk. Sitepass’ partnership with the National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) is integral to this focus: supporting the protection and safety of people in the workplace.

Head to our workplace solutions page to learn more about how to manage contractors using online software.

Ben Borin
Ben Borin

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