Having a solid risk management plan is important for any industrial workplace and involves evaluating potential dangers, determining their financial impacts, and developing solutions to negate or minimize any negative consequences.
Managing risks with a permanent staff is one thing, but what considerations should be taken into account when bringing on temporary workforces — particularly when the stakes are so high?
Risk Management Basics
Let’s first review some risk management considerations and explain why they’re important:
Step 1: Determine the threats – Consider Murphy’s Law, which is the idea that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. What potential hazards are there at the worksite?
Step 2: Evaluate how certain threats make your critical assets vulnerable – Critical assets are anything that could drastically hinder your overall operations. This can include: manufacturing processes, company patents, financial data, workplace equipment, and more.
Step 3: Figure out the risks – Determine how likely any attack on your identified critical assets are and how bad any negative impacts might be.
Step 4: Develop a plan to reduce the risks – How can you avert disaster? What specific risk management processes and procedures can be put into place to protect against hazards? It’s important to emphasize regularly maintaining safety practices. To see how Strom can help with planning, see our Crisis Planning services page.
How does risk management relate to temp workforces?
The protection of workers – both temporary and permanent – is directly related to managing any risks. In other words, the more you can guard against risks, the safer your workforce will be. If you’re an organization considering bringing in temp workers, consider the following:
- Communicate with the temporary labor provider – , thorough communications ensure that proper safety standards are established so that they may be put into place before the workers arrive onsite. This is extremely important.
- Ensure that training has occurred – Under federal OSHA guidelines, temporary workers must receive the same training in terms of safety that permanent workers receive. Everyone must follow the same safety procedures, and while temp workers may not be on the site for as long, it’s important for them to be just as informed as any permanent staff.
- Make sure all employees handle your critical assets correctly – Safeguarding and backing-up company patents, manufacturing processes, and controls/access points are highly important.While you may hope that every worker would be respectful of a company’s critical assets, in practice this is not always the case.
At the end of the day, both the host employer and the staffing agency have a dual responsibility to ensure that proper safety guidelines are being followed. The key here is to emphasize communication. If you are able to do this, averting disasters and maintaining proper risk management will be that much easier.
To learn how temporary staff can help your workplace, read our other post, Labor Dispute Preparation 101: How Temporary Staffing Can Help.
In the event that a labor disruption occurs, utilizing a temporary workforce can help your business seamlessly transition and keep any drop in productivity to a minimum. Being able to draw from a database of workers with a variety of different skills, such as those provided by Strom, allows you to find people to fit your business’s specific productivity needs. However, when it comes to how to train temporary employees, there are a number of things you’ll want to keep in mind during the transition:
Make Sure Assistance is Readily Available – Before temp workers even arrive onsite for their regular shifts, ensure that you’ve deployed knowledgeable staff available to consult workers at each station. Utilizing a buddy system of sorts is worthwhile.
Highlight Processes – Workplace processes that emphasize efficiency, particularly in the area of machine operation, should be followed to a T. In addition to basic process training, ensure that proper documentation is readily available in instances where workforce members need to refer to documented procedural guidelines for reference.
Make Sure Workers Are Correctly Equipped – Having the right equipment is a must, especially in manufacturing and industrial workspaces. This isn’t just limited to equipment that helps get the job done efficiently, but also safety equipment that protects workers from injury.
Protect Intellectual Property – As one of your business’s most important assets, intellectual property should be protected with the utmost sensitivity. Ensure that all loose ends are tied up by getting temp workers to sign agreements intended to protect any proprietary information.
Emphasize Protections Against Injury – Job sites, particularly those in manufacturing, can present safety challenges if workers don’t follow proper protocols, or if the job sites themselves aren’t up to compliance. Therefore, thoroughly helping temp workers understand safety nuances is absolutely critical. Companies such as Strom Engineering can help businesses mitigate safety concerns by providing onsite consultations, particularly during instances where regular workforces aren’t being utilized.
Pay Attention to Specific Certifications – Even when drawing from highly skilled databases of temp workers, there are certain operations that will require additional training through certifications. Such certifications are important to pay attention to, as they can help you meet and exceed industry compliance. Certifications may also range based on different geographic locations.
Make Temp Workers Feel Welcome – Even if they’re only temporary, temp workforces can play an integral role in supporting your organization, particularly during ramp-up periods. Thus, make sure to treat them with respect and compliment team members on a job well done when warranted.
In regards to temporary employees, training is up to both sides – the temp staffing agency and the host employer – to make the situation safe and beneficial for all involved. When everyone works together, productivity can be maintained and your company can transition seamlessly to move beyond the challenges presented by labor disruptions. To learn more about temporary workforces, read our other post, Labor Dispute Preparation 101: How Temporary Staffing Can Help.
When your company is facing a strike, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most: maintaining a capable workforce, even if the employees on the team change. What happens during a union strike is that the striking employees depend on the fact that you won’t have a solid plan in place to deal with the sudden change.
While the union understands that hiring replacement workers during the strike is a real possibility, there is an assumption that temporary employees will not have the experience or qualifications to meet your company’s production needs. When you utilize a company like Strom that completes total background checks and pulls from an existing worker database, it’s like having an ace up your sleeve. Here’s how working with Strom can we give you an advantage at the bargaining table:
The quality of your backup workforce has a big impact on the length of a strike and could prevent one from occuring in the first place. Union leaders will know whether your worker contingency plan includes qualified temporary employees. If you are planning on hiring directly on your own, you lose a bit of negotiation leverage, because there are never any guarantees that the hiring process will go smoothly.
Available temporary employees vary by time of year, economic conditions and industry, so not having a predetermined plan is simply not worth the risk. When you communicate that you have a proven partner that knows why a plan for strike staffing matters, there is a major change in negotiations.
If your situation devolves into a strike, it’s important to know that you have more than just leverage — you have a capable team to handle necessary work. Demonstrating that you are capable of maintaining your workflow during a strike is essential; otherwise, the union may sense business failures and utilize attrition to get a better deal. What’s more, staying productive during a strike will provide assurance to your clients, partners and customers that you can still get the job done. Strom works to provides you with a team of qualified workers that is more than capable of maintaining handling your business operations responsibilities, so you can keep your business workplace moving like it always has.
Getting Back on Track
When a labor disruption strike is over, returning to a sense of normalcy is essential. You need to rebuild relationships, handle employee transitions, deal with paperwork, and much more — all while maintaining a productive work environment. It’s not easy, but companies like Strom Engineering can help make the process easier. We have assisted hundreds of clients through the process been in these types of situations countless times, and know how to work through the unique challenges a situation like this presents.help you reduce bad blood, while keeping your temporary employees as a backup for future disruptions. When all is said and done, your workforce will returnhave capable temporary workers will leave and day to day activity can resume. in your back pocket, and the union will know that going forward.
Prepare for the Future
It’s easy to think about creating a temporary worker backup plan, but it takes action to make it happen. We are here to help. Get set for anything union leaders throw at you with help from some of the most knowledgeable strike experts in the business.
Contact our team to get set up with a contingency plan that you can rely on.
Alternate ending for A/B testing:Read our blog “Labor Dispute Preparation 101: How Temporary Staffing Can Help” to learn more about making a plan.