Managing the Connected Workforce
Human Resource Management has focused on such things as hiring and recruitment, compensation and benefits, training and development, and performance management.
Project managers and supervisors focus on executing project or job activities to meet the project requirements, which include completion on time, on budget, and to quality, safety, and compliance standards. In earlier times, these managers engaged with the HR department during the hiring process, or during annual performance and salary reviews.
In contemporary enterprises two new trends have arisen. The first trend is increasing use of non-employee, or contingent, workforce. The second trend is the emergence of mobile apps, virtual meeting and collaboration technologies, and wearable devices to provide real-time communication for worker location, environment, and safety information.
The increased use of contingent workers has created some complications. While HR has handled most aspects of employee hiring, training, and compensation, the procurement department has handled these processes for contingent workers. Today, non-employee workers – including contingent workers, Statement of Work (SOW)-based consultants, freelancers, specialized talent pools and more – account for nearly 40 percent of the average organization’s workforce (Ardent Partners 2016-2017 State of Contingent Workforce Management). Project managers need the ability to manage planning, cost, budget, mobilization, site access, permits, safety, time recording, learning, skills, training, and job performance for both employee and non-employee workforce – they need to manage the total workforce.
The emergence of mobility, cloud, and IoT technologies has led to the concept of the Connected Workforce. In the Connected Workforce, all workers (employee and non-employee) are connected to work demand, to equipment, to safety and security, to logistics, to management, and to each other. With wearable devices and sensors, workers are connected to the Internet of Things. In the oil and gas industry, as in many others, workforce safety in potentially dangerous environments is of prime concern While there are obvious concerns about privacy, most workers are interested in tools that help them to work (and live) better. Collision avoidance systems in automobiles, fitness apps, wearable devices that monitor heart rates during exercise, and appointment reminders – all have grown in popularity. Analysis of the large amount of data from the total workforce can discover potential problems and lead to new ways to improve job performance.
Providing the workforce with such tools, and reducing or eliminating dull, repetitive tasks through automation improve both workforce performance and workforce satisfaction. Managing the total workforce enables companies to adapt to the rapidly changing needs and to improve productivity and safety.