The Liquid Workforce in “The New Normal”
SAP Fieldglass helps companies to manage the “Liquid Workforce” of key workers to address the new post-pandemic business priorities.
I think we’d all agree it’s been quite a turbulent couple of years. To put it mildly, and various commentators have called this the “New normal”. The way I see it is that the arrival of the pandemic exposed our workforces to pressures that could never have been foreseen, but the impact was particularly severe because of two factors.
Almost half the people who work for you, don’t work for you.
That’s quite paradox. Almost half the people who work for you, don’t work for you. Huh? I mean they aren’t on your payroll, they work for a service provider, or are temporary workers, subcontractors or independents.
But still critical to your business, and your customers. And that 42% is an average, in many sectors like Financial Services and Oil & Gas its more than half. And commentators are calling them The Liquid Workforce. Liquid because they are hard to pin down, and can easily slip through the fingers.
The second is the way that enterprises communicate with these critical service providers has not kept up.
Our recent survey shows that one third of firms still use spreadsheets, email and the phone to talk to external partners. This lack of visibility into almost half the workforce, and poor collaboration methods has put businesses under real pressure in trying to deal with the recent pandemic.
Welcome to the Liquid Workforce
The good news is that this Liquid Workforce can help companies thrive in the New Normal. Two years ago we were all trying to be “data-led”, and to base decisions on past : then Covid hit and all the plans went out of the window. As companies try and build back better, they are re-looking at how to build resilience.
The external workforce allows companies to flex like they have never needed to before.
Let’s go back to that stat: 42% of workforce spend is spent on external labour and yet external labour are three times more likely to suffer an accident or fatality.
Some years back one of our customers had an oil Platform where a serious accident occurred necessitating an emergency evacuation of the whole platform. The local community needed to know whose father, whose daughter, was on the platform. But here’s the scenario that their safety manager faced: on an offshore rig almost everyone is a contractor, no-one is on payroll.
Sites that use Fieldglass Worker Management make sure that all workers go through formal on-boarding, and are logged on the system, whoever was the agency who hired them. So everyone could be safely accounted for, and the families back on shore didn’t need to worry.
But Health & safety is about “Health” as well as safety, and that 42% comes into play here as well.
When Covid hit, One of our customers had to issue medical advice and policy to all its workers, internal and external. Because they had Fieldglass, they were able to locate everyone within 4 hours. I heard of a similar company, who didn’t have the solution, who was still trying to locate all of the workers who needed to be on site a week later
With Qualtrics organizations can more quickly and simply gather COVID-19 vaccination status and ongoing test results from both employees and contractors.
The great resignation
I’m at Home. Lots of people are. And companies are adapting rapidly to these new working practices. It is likely that more of your future workforce will not be salaried. This phrase “The great resignation” means that many of the skills you will need cannot be filled with permanent staff because those people are now part-timers, gig workers, semi-retireds or independents. Many of the tasks you used to do in house will now be done through a service contract.
Another example of this shift is that hospitality, care and retail workers are leaving due to pay and treatment conditions and are retraining to get higher paid work. This in turn is leading to staff shortage of some of the key workers which directly impacts supply chains.
Every single company has a policy around sustainability, a few years ago these were set by some CSR officer, then they were set by the board, but they are being increasingly set by the customer. Scope 3 emissions is the requirement to report on the emissions from their suppliers, and for many companies, most of those Scope 3 emissions come from service providers.
Are you ready for the next Black Swan?
All of these five key imperatives were accelerated by the pandemic. But what’s next? What’s the next Black Swan? We didn’t see this one coming. Cyberattack? Energy Crisis? Inflation? Tariffs? National Boycotts? By their nature they are impossible to predict.
So, use SAP Fieldglass to manage your external workforce to provide the skills to give your business resilience, keep your workforce safe and productive and provide exceptional service and innovative products to your customers.
To hear more about how SAP Fieldglass can help with resilience, worker health or sustainability visit us at fieldglass.com.