The future of compliance and skills monitoring in the resources sector

  • By Friska Wirya, Principal Owner, Fresh by Friska

Safety, mobility and compliance are non-negotiables for today’s working environment, especially in the resources sector. One thing is certain – change is happening faster and it’s more complex and far-reaching than ever. How can the industry leverage new ways of thinking to make compliance and skills oversight more efficient?

Overview

The burgeoning mobility of the workforce and its complex regulation has increased the burden of workforce compliance management in most employment markets. As more workforces – and more individuals – turn towards the gig economy, many industries are facing similar challenges.

Digital systems for managing compliance and skills records allow workers in highly regulated industries, such as mining, to manage their own information so their employers don’t need to.

It enables employers and membership bodies to become person-centred organisations. Person-centred organisations are better able to attract, engage and retain the best workers possible while reducing the burden of compliance administration – saving time and money in the process. These organisations understand their people’s drivers, that they are already in existing networks with skills, relationships and interests outside of their employment.

One such example is OnePassport, a patent pending cloud-based compliance and skills management system. This article explores the benefits of such systems, looks at a specific case study from the Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) and draws lessons that could be applied to the resources sector.

OnePassport – background

Many existing workforce management software platforms target organisations with stable workforces and large HR budgets. However, they lack the ability to service highly fragmented industries. Further, compliance is an emerging need and has not been a focus for these platforms.

Designed for industries with a large mobile roster or shift-based workforce (where employees often work for multiple employers concurrently), OnePassport is designed for a range of applications, from a five-person doctor’s surgery to a multinational resources company.

One person – multiple parties

Safety, mobility and compliance are non-negotiables for today’s working environment, especially in the resources sector. No longer is the relationship between one person and one employer. It is now one person and multiple third parties concurrently. For example, in the resources sector, an employee may need to demonstrate their compliance to both their employer and professional association (such as AusIMM) through the recording of PD hours undertaken or special licenses acquired.

Compliance and skills systems such as OnePassport allow an entire industry to manage its workers from the same base personnel record. Though each organisation can privatise certain data fields of the HR or membership record, the body of the record remains constant. This means all stakeholders – industry bodies, regulatory bodies, multiple employers and the individual worker themselves – are drawing and adding information to the same record.

For example, if the worker updates their contact details, completes professional development or a compliance step at one employer, all connected stakeholders receive the update. If an industry body accredits or re-accredits a worker, again, the update is instantly received by all – reducing significant manual effort in maintaining compliance. This lowers risks and costs while improving safety and productivity.

Membership body case study

Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) is the peak body for community services in Australia. On behalf of the Queensland Government, CSIA wanted to support the organisations and workers in its sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. One major challenge was the redeployment of workers from over-resourced employers to under-resourced employers. Solving this challenge would enable business continuity, maintain employment throughout the pandemic and minimise potential downturn. Post COVID-19, the CSIA aims to work closely with sectors supplying and training new workers to maintain future workforce supply and quality.

A four-stage plan was developed:

1) Create a central database
A central database of all workers in the sector and a CSIA add-on in the OnePassport Marketplace was created. Workers then downloaded the OnePassport app and add-on which would connect them to the central database.

2) Undertake job matching
The system was customised to enable it to be used as a job matching service. Approved employers could use the database to find and approach suitably qualified candidates.

3) Create a job board
A job board was set up allowing employers to post roles, and for workers to be able to respond to them. It rapidly connected candidates with employers as the candidates’ CVs drew information from the central database, and allowed employers to keyword search and import the person’s record when hiring.

4) Making use of the new ecosystem
CSIA is laying the groundwork for the post-COVID-19 marketplace to provide significant numbers of unemployed or underutilised candidates for positions in its industry. Their two-pronged approach includes:

  • introducing and encouraging employers, including labour-hire agencies, to use the cloud-based system
  • connecting adjacent industries such as employment services and education to the central system to achieve targets in sourcing, onboarding and employing candidates.

Facts and figures

From the pilot projects in 2017 until now, there are demonstrated efficiencies.

  • Case studies of two organisations demonstrated a decrease of 50 per cent administration time associated with HR record and workforce compliance management.
  • A 650-employee organisation reduced HR administration FTE by 0.5 due to the direct sharing of compliance records, automated notifications and ability for managers and team leaders to run compliance reports with a single click.
  • Self-service usability eliminates support costs: seven groups of staff across three states were able to log on and start using their OnePassport profile without assistance.

Potential applications to the mining industry

Ad hoc on-demand workers are the norm for the industry, given the cyclical nature of the business. The ever-watchful eye on safety means mining companies make significant investments in monitoring, quality assurance and developing the skills of its people. 

The nature of work is also rapidly evolving. Gone is the 45-year career at one company. The gig economy, insular culture of mining and boom-bust cadence can see the same worker transfer from one company’s mine site to another multiple times a year. Add to this the growing use of freelance consultants and contracting companies, and the business case to leverage innovative approaches to simplify the complex is even more compelling. 

Imagine empowering employees to collect, store and manage their own information such as qualifications, employment history, skills and compliance-related data, then have this information independently verified and shared. This would free up businesses in the industry to focus on what they do best: Explore. Mine. Contribute to economic growth and support impoverished communities. 

Organisations who rapidly digitise their records will be better equipped to mitigate risk, monitor compliance and position themselves for growth when the market turns. 

The pandemic has shown the future is digital. Obtaining the right tool is only one side of the coin. Effectively managing the change towards digital is the other. You need both to realise full target benefits.

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