By Wayne Alcock, Managing Director at Quyn International Outsourcing
It can be challenging to assemble a reliable, skilled workforce to run large-scale construction projects in rural locations. Often companies need to source and relocate skilled labour from other parts of the country or from within their company to meet project-specific needs. This can result in tension with local communities who feel as though they are missing out on employment opportunities. For companies in the mining, engineering and construction industries, the process of identifying and onboarding skilled and unskilled labour from rural communities can be costly and excessively time-consuming. Navigating community and stakeholder engagement can be tricky, and if not handled respectfully, can lead to conflict that delays and jeopardises project progress. By partnering with a Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider, companies can mitigate their labour risks, ensuring that project requirements are met and effectively balanced against community and labour considerations.
Eliminating distractions and delays
Having a TES partner puts labour-intensive projects such as infrastructure development and mining operations in rural areas in a strong position to be able to fulfil their production targets and workforce needs. The Human Resources (HR) and Industrial Relations (IR) aspect of infrastructure and mining projects can easily distract businesses involved from their core objectives, but by partnering with a TES provider, businesses can outsource such time-consuming needs to a trusted partner. An accredited, trustworthy TES partner will assist in identifying and onboarding workers from the local community which means taking prospective hires through an interview process, the importance of on-site safety, the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and much more.
Benefits to business and community
Not only does the company benefit from a ready, reliable workforce, but the labour-providing community benefits greatly too. Many people in rural areas have never been formally employed, do not have bank accounts, and have never had a full medical check to assess whether they are in fit health to work. By taking them through these procedures, TES providers are often the first to provide workers in rural areas with their first experience of formal recruitment, which provides invaluable knowledge that can be put to good use when seeking other job opportunities further down the line.
Timing is everything
A TES provider starts with conducting interviews in the area, often months before the project is due to start, with the purpose of compiling a database of available job seekers and skills. This can be very time-intensive, and in some cases, more than a thousand interviews are conducted only to discover that there is only one skilled individual to hire. This time is not wasted, however, as this makes it possible to formulate a list of what skills need to be outsourced, as well as what training needs to be provided to unskilled workers sourced from the community to meet project requirements. All of this can then be handled by the TES provider before the project is due to start, which means that when contracting companies arrive on site, the project can commence immediately without any labour-related delays.
Advantages of outsourcing
It is usually the case that the companies responsible for running the project have not previously stepped foot in the project location. This is where a TES partner can make a huge difference. A TES provider knows exactly how to approach this kind of scenario, because it’s their domain of expertise. They will be clear on how to approach and engage communities and will be knowledgeable in cultural and political formalities that need to be observed before a working relationship can be established. They will be informed as to which traditional or political leaders need to be approached for permission to start seeking workers in the region. Language will not be a barrier for the TES provider, who will also ensure that access to jobs is provided on an equitable basis.
Establishing stability on-site
The TES partner will then act as a go-between, representing both the contracting companies and the project employees. Where there are multiple contracting companies involved in a project, by utilising the same TES provider, it is possible to create uniformity and stability on-site. Everyone is paid a uniform rate, in line with their agreement, and everyone is paid at the same time, and is subject to the same working conditions with access to the same channels for airing grievances. This ensures that in-fighting between workers, and conflict between workers and employers does not arise.
Choosing the right TES partner
Instead of sourcing thousands of workers for a project, companies only need to focus on finding a single TES provider with which to partner for their labour requirements. Companies should seek a provider that has knowledge of the area, from having worked there previously and built-up contacts and an understanding of how everything works in that region. This means that there is already trust built with the community, and it will not be necessary to start from scratch. By outsourcing the riskiest component of any construction or development undertaking, companies can focus on their core objectives in meeting project and progress deadlines right through to completion.