Maximizing Your Workforce Tracking Software to Its Full Potential

Imagine this — many months ago, your company signed up for a new workforce tracking software. You’re feeling excited about the possibilities for improvements but wary about potential problems. Regardless of how you feel, it’s now on your plate to evaluate and maximize. There are many different solutions in this competitive industry and you need to know if you are really seeing the full potential of the platform.

Here are a few things to consider when you evaluate your current workforce tracking software.

Has Your Workforce Tracking Software Made Operations More Efficient?

According to Kyle Antcliff, a vice president at Intradiem, workforce management software has three roles:

  • To forecast volume and staffing needs
  • To schedule staff
  • To manage intraday activities

Each of these tasks should help make your operations more efficient and keep your staff focused on meeting deadlines. Experienced managers will know and evaluate the productivity of their staff. Ask your staff whether the new software has helped them work more efficiently.

If the answer is yes, great. If not, find out why by asking these questions:

  • Was everyone trained on the new system?
  • Has the new system been truly adopted or are they using their old habits?

Steve Langerud, a workplace culture consultant writes, “Less than 100% implementation compliance voids the practical benefits [of workforce management software].” If there is less than 100% adoption, find out why:

  • Were everyone’s needs met with this product?
  • Was every branch of the workforce consulted before choosing a solution?
  • Does it make some tasks more difficult?

Measure your gains or losses in efficiency. A good evaluation must provide more than anecdotal evidence. Select quality metrics that reflect your business and measure them. Here are some suggestions:

  • The productivity of your team is throughout the day
  • Time spent on core activities and non-core activities
  • The skew in work patterns between the top 20% and others

Has Communication Improved?

Whenever you implement a new system, your employees take time to become skilled at using it. Once they have been properly trained, your solution should improve communication and make it easier to meet deadlines.

Workforce tracking software should allow workers in the field to send questions, requests, updates to their managers, increasing communications efficiency. Because workforce tracking software preserves communication for every aspect of the job, it should preserve a communications trail in the event that a job goes over budget and past a deadline.

Here are effective metrics for evaluating whether your software has improved communication:

  • Do your workers use communication features or do they still waste time on the phone?
  • Do these features actually improve efficiency?
  • Do you use communication trails to analyze jobs that go over budget or past deadline?

Finally; Is the Workforce Tracking Tool Being Leveraged to its Full Capacity?

Simply using workforce management software should improve efficiency and communication, but that isn’t all it can do. Are you leveraging your software to its full capacity? Here are benefits to fully using the data and analytics your software provides:

  • Make better hiring decisions using data from all roles, business units, skills, and locations
  • Analytics help take a more targeted approach to increasing or decreasing staffing based on the processes and roles in the organization
  • Having all your data in one place allows different departments to collaborate at a holistic level
  • Activity statistics can help assess and validate training and correlate it to expected results

To measure whether you are using the software in this way, here are some suggested metrics:

  • How frequently do your departments use shared data to discuss the business as a whole?
  • How frequently does your team use data to improve staffing decisions?
  • Do you measure performance before and after training to assess its effectiveness?

A great deal of time, effort, and money go into choosing and implementing workforce management software. It will take just a little more to evaluate whether the software is truly beneficial for your company. You can dive as deeply into an evaluation as you want, but it all boils down to these questions: Has efficiency improved? Why or why not?


We are here to be a resource for anyone working with large teams, especially those in contracting relationships. If you have any questions about finding the best workforce tracking systems to manage your contractors and subcontractors, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

9 Reasons to Modernize & Simplify Your Contractor Management

Communication is paramount when you’re working on a large, fast-paced, and layered project that includes a lot of moving parts. One of the most important factors to success is that the field and its workers communicate efficiently with the main office.

For example, every work order, no matter how small or large the adjustment, must be tracked to ensure total accuracy. Plus, at the end of a job, you’re going to have to explain why certain projects required more hours than you had anticipated. The swiftest way to increase efficiency and to track every moving part is to leverage software.

To help you prepare your worksite for the most effective contractor management, here are nine reasons why your company should embrace field software management technology:

  1. When used effectively, the software can cut your paperwork time in half.
  2. It allows you to access more accurate details for every aspect of a project, with minimal effort.
  3. Provides real-time status updates for multiple jobs and worksites, which can be helpful for leaders managing large crews, especially in industries like rails and utilities.
  4. Enhances communication between the field and the office thanks to dedicated tools for reporting data.
  5. Daily reporting allows you to clearly justify the hours worked on a job that perhaps went over budget, because of unforeseen obstacles or added scope.
  6. Allows for GPS Tracking to monitor the location or contractors on the worksite.
  7. Easily integrates with your accounting software and HRIS platforms.
  8. Creates an opportunity to track payments and ensure that finances are on track.
  9. Map View of all your active jobs across the country.

To learn more about contractor management systems, here are some software options that you can research to see what fits best with your organization and its needs.

And for more software options, visit this post.

 


 

We’re here to be your resource for contractor risk management, especially for those working in the rails, utilities, and venue management industries. If you have any questions about how to make your worksite as efficient as possible, reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Photo ID Badges vs. Digital ID Badges — What’s the Right Fit for Your Company?

If you think it’s time to reconsider how you identify contractors and vendors, you’re not alone. Many organizations assess the pros and cons of different types of ID badges to keep a constant focus on the increase in worksite security. Outside of security, you’ll also need to consider how easy it is for your team to get buy-in from contractors, distribute the new badges, and then revoke them when the job is done. Also, it wouldn’t hurt if the cards didn’t take a big bite out of your budget, right?

In 2017, the two most secure options were photo ID badges and digital ID badges. In this post, we’ll review the benefits and downsides of both options to help you decide which is best for your company.

Factors to Consider with Digital ID Badges

Digital identification can offer greater security for your worksite and allow for real-time tracking. Here are some of the factors to consider when looking into options for digital ID badges.

Security

Adoption and Distribution

  • All your team needs to do is download an app and claim your business, making for a simple adoption process.
  • After downloading the app, you have access to a web-based management system of your company. Then, you can invite employees and contractors to download their digital ID by downloading the application.
  • One minor issue with these types of digital ID badges is if your employees do not have smartphones. Although this is rare with an estimated 80% of all adults in the United States owning a smartphone in 2018, there are hybrid solutions available where employees without smartphones can use printed photo ID badges instead.

Cost

Factors to Consider with Photo ID Badges

Photo ID badges were once the standard and while there are still benefits to the physical badges, there are some drawbacks especially with the advent of digital options.

Security

Adoption and Distribution

  • If your organization opts for photo ID badges, you’ll need to work with a reliable provider to get off the ground quickly. Then, in the future, you may choose to purchase the whole printing system for in-house use.
  • You could also buy an identification card printer so that you can print your own. This option may not always provide the same level of security as working with a professional provider.
  • If you decide to print your own, your team can go through a one-hour training session with the card manufacturer so that you know how to make your own.
  • You’ll need to purchase a barcode scanner only if you buy a system that prints barcodes onto cards.
  • Temporary passes are more difficult to manufacture when using photo ID badges and take a lot of manual monitoring to ensure the cards are returned once access to the worksite is revoked.

Cost

  • Buying a card system is going to start at around $1,000 and can go up to $2,400 or beyond.
  • If you decide to print in-house, you will need to buy the actual cards and the ink.

Overall, digital ID badges appear superior to the photo ID badges, specifically in regards to security and costs. Also, when you think about how each of these products is positioned to evolve moving forward, the digital ID app is going to keep your organization updated on new features that will make your life easier and more secure. In general, photo ID badges remain static. If they do evolve, it requires you to buy an entirely new system.


If you have any questions about contractor identification, do not hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking here or below. Thank you for reading!

 

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

The Benefits of Putting Contractor Safety First

Managing contractor safety is expensive, but accidents can easily cost more than the management itself. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps that you can take to ensure that contractors are safe from expensive and harmful situations. In this post, we’ll discuss how to make your worksites a safe place for contractors and all who visit, which, in turn, can save your organization from the expensive costs that occur with accidents.

Contractor Safety: Preventing Common Accidents

Primary worksite safety concerns:

  1. Falls: OSHA reports show that fall hazards are the leading cause of injury on construction sites. Many of these injuries can involve contractors injuring their backs, spines, and lower bodies. Severe injuries can lead to time off the job, which can cost you a significant amount of money and plenty of lost productivity.
  2. Equipment: Contact with equipment is another significant cause of injury for workers. Ladders, machinery, and other tools or vehicles used on the work site can be a huge risk, especially without proper training.
  3. Lack of Experience: Workers between the ages of 25 and 34 years old face the highest probability of being injured on the site. Whether it’s a lack of experience or lack of training, mitigate this risk by ensuring all contractors and workers are properly prepared before beginning their responsibilities.

Preventative measures and costs:

  1. Prevent Falls: Tens of thousands of construction workers are injured every year. A majority of injuries are preventable, especially falls. Consider investing in anti-slip flooring and fall protection gear for contractors who work on ladders, or above a certain height threshold. You can also help mitigate fall risks by ensuring that platforms at certain levels are strong enough to handle workers weights.
  2. Improve Air Quality: If working with chemicals or in enclosed spaces, make sure your contractors are supplied with adequate ventilation and proper protection. Increasing air quality through eliminating or reducing the chemicals released into the air from your worksite will favor well with OSHA officials. This can help reduce fines and keep your company compliant.

Benefits and ROI of Contractor Safety

Aside from protecting the lives of your contractors, there are also financial implications to increasing the safety of your worksites.

Overall, there is a direct cash benefit for increasing contractor safety. According to Liberty Mutual, for every dollar invested in worksite safety, it returns three dollars. Also, safer worksites can lead to increased employee engagement. In fact, according to OSHA, there is a 13% increase in productivity when organizations invest in contractor safety programs. Think about it, when contractors feel safer and feel like their safety is top-of-mind, they will be more engaged in the workplace and feel more comfortable performing their duties.

Creating Safer Worksites

Aside from planning and preparing for incidents by taking direct measures to reduce falls, there are also digitally driven onboarding, training, and certification platforms that can help with contractor safety. In the rails and utility industries specifically, the deeper adoption of web-based training and certification for contractors allows for real-time tracking and monitoring so you can also be assured that your contractors are up-to-date on the latest training and protocols.

Real-time monitoring can also create higher efficiency on worksites and reduce the need for in-person training. As a result, no more wasted days of in-person training or excuses when it comes to contractors or subcontractors not being up-to-speed.


If you have any questions about the benefits and how to increase the safety of contractors on your organizations’ job sites, do not hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Calculating Worksite Safety Improvement ROI in Rails & Utilities

If you are managing risky environments in industries like rails and utilities, implementing effective worksite safety protocols can make all the difference. We understand the difficulties faced every day while maintaining effective operations with large teams of contractors and subcontractors. On first glance, an investment in worksite safety improvements may seem like an unnecessary expense but we’ve pulled together reasons why the ROI far outweighs the initial costs.

 

One company that participated in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program saved roughly $930,000 per year and reported 450 fewer lost-time injuries than its industry average.

 

Plus, as workers’ compensation costs increase and become more and more prevalent due to injuries on the job, OSHA continues to ramp up its enforcement efforts for companies that ignore safety altogether. In 2010, for instance, OSHA conducted 41,000 inspections resulting in over 96,000 safety and health violations, which was a 15% increase over the previous 5-year period.

When comparing the costs of implementing safety protocols versus the cost of a workplace incident in the rails and utility sector, you’ll likely always end up dishing out more dollars compared to what’d you save with prevention.

Worksite Safety: Types of Costs for Workplace Injuries

Before understanding the benefits of investing in worksite safety, you’ll need to know about the common costs that can occur when managing large contractor teams on vast sites like those in the rails and utility industries.

• Direct Costs

There are the direct costs involved in workplace injuries, which should be planned. These can be either expected or more common. For example, workers’ compensation is an expense that your organization will be required to pay, which is ultimately a protection for you. Expect to pay roughly 3% of total compensation for your team members for the insurance coverage.

In addition to workers’ compensation, you may also run into a situation in which it will be less of a headache to reach a settlement than battle out a dispute in court. For example, if one of your contractors gets a back injury while on the worksite, they can file for workers’ comp, but they may also try to get additional compensation directly from you, the employer.

• Indirect Costs

You’ll also need to include the not-so-obvious costs such as days out of work if a contractor gets injured on the job. This can directly lead to decreased productivity. In fact, rails and utilities are had the highest segment of workers out of the job in 2014. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 200 team members out of 10,000 were out of work for an average of 10 to 12 days. That’s nearly four times as much as office jobs. Those days off the job are costing your organization time and money.

There are also other costs that can occur if an injury occurs on the worksite including accident investigation and corrective action, training and retraining, repairing damaged property, the negative effects of decreased employee morale, which can lead to increased absenteeism.

Worksite Safety: ROI of Money Invested into Worksite Safety Programs

• Cash ROI

You may see benefits fast when you make a direct investment in worksite safety. According to Liberty Mutual, every dollar invested in safety can return three dollars. That’s a direct benefit that can easily be measured and appreciated. For example, one fall protection program implementation reduced an employer’s accident costs by 96%, taking costs from $4.25 to $ 0.18 per person-hour.

Also, investing in worksite safety can lead to lower workers’ comp costs. According to a 2012 study by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), there was a 9.4% drop in injury claims and a 26% average savings on workers’ compensation costs in the four years after investments in safety precautions on the worksite.

• Increased Employee Productivity

Similar to the indirect costs listed above, there are indirect ROI benefits when your organization invests in worksite safety. For example, when you make the work environment safer by taking a proactive approach, you increase morale and can reduce injuries. For one organization, that led to a 13% increase in employee productivity, which has a huge impact on your organization’s bottom line.

• Less Waste in Work Product

When worksites are safer by choice and through direct improvements, there can also be a direct impact on the amount of waste of actual products used during the job. According to OSHA, there was a 16% decrease in scrap product when the Ford New Holland implemented the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

• Greater Innovation

One of the most unexpected outcomes of investing in worksite safety is the increase in innovation. Overall, implementing programs such as better training protocols and monitoring can lead to better business performance outcomes, such as lower overall costs, innovation, continuous improvement, and higher profitability.


Don’t leave safety to chance. Start making proactive investments and choices to protect not only your workers but also your organization from liability and risks. To learn about direct ways in which you can mitigate risks on the worksite, contact our team today!

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Contractor Risk Management Considerations in Modern Procurement

We have specialized in contractor screening and worksite protection services for many years. This means we also have a deep appreciation of the supplier qualification and review process that procurement leaders drive every day. It truly is the first wave of contractor risk management for your organization and critically important to your success. In fact, according to D&B Organizations, companies often lose as much as 7% of spending due to fraud.

In this post, we’ll share a resource for each type of business risk that can occur when you’re working with a large team of contractors and subcontractors.

Contractor Risk Management – Areas to Monitor

Strategic Risk

If your organization is unprepared or selects an ineffective procurement strategy, you may be left with inappropriate results. These results often lead to a lack of value or other negative outcomes. According to the UN Procurement Practitioner’s Handbook you can prevent strategic risks from the start by collaborating on the desired outcomes and objectives with your vendors or contractors. If you’re not initially satisfied with the results, you can continue looking for a better provider that’s more aligned with your internally agreed upon strategy.

Compliance Risk

Compliance risks come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s managing OSHA standards or keeping your contractors up-to-speed on training, you’ll need to work with your entire organization to manage compliance within your work sites.

According to D&B, the best practices for mitigating contractor risks include:

  • Establish standardized processes.
  • Validate potential contractors with rigorous due-diligence before hire.
  • Monitor contractor risk after hire.
  • Adopt a portfolio view that assesses and manages the collective risk of contractors across the entire organization.
  • Use automated reporting tools to strengthen management, transparency, and oversight.

While the D&B best practices are targeted for government contractor work, these can easily be applied to contractors hired for positions in rails and utilities. It’s critical to assess qualifications for contractors before, during, and after they are hired then monitor their training with real-time applications or reporting tools.

Another area of concern regarding compliance is contractor misclassification. Overall, your contractors must be completely autonomous, and not subject to the strict requirements expected of permanent employees. For more information on contractor misclassification and areas to monitor, check out this article.

Operational Risk

People are a primary cause of operational risk, which is defined by Basel Committee on Banking Supervision as the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people, and systems or from external events. This can result in fraud, theft, or human error and leave plenty of damage behind.

Operational risk is most critical in areas of rails and utilities that revolve around standard technology, such as a circuit board or any other hardware or software. When imperative data is exposed or able to be tampered with, contractors may have access, which leaves plenty of room for theft or human error.

Be sure to provide proper background screening and regular monitoring of all contractors on your work sites as a part of any complete contractor risk management strategy. For more information on operational risk, check out this presentation from the International Finance Corporation.

Financial Risk

There are plenty of costs surrounding waste that will begin to add up if not monitored. For example, the costs of partial, incomplete, or inadequately executed contracts can be huge, especially in rail or utility maintenance. In fact, these costs could lead to an avoidable failure. To mitigate these costs, you can implement a Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) to assess your contractor’s performance, both positive and negative, and get an up-to-date record on a given contract during a specified period of time. Read more about this service here.

In addition to monitoring waste, there is still a time and a place to perform credit checks on your vendors. Similar to the construction space, many vendors are heavily leveraged, these checks can help you ensure they’re financially stable and can help prevent a default or abandonment, which could fall back on your organization through heavy costs.

Finally, reputation matters. If a theft, attack, or data breach occurs within your organization, it can severely damage your brand and result in hefty financial implications. One way to prevent this type of risk is through proper contractor screening before and during the hiring process. Find out more about protecting your brand in our previous post on this topic.


We’re your resource for contractor risk management, especially for those working in the rails, utilities, and venue management industries. If you have any questions about ongoing screening and monitoring to manage your contractor and subcontractors, reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Brand Protection Considerations While Working With Contract Workforces

There are many interpretations of brand protection. While some companies focus on solely preventing hacking or counterfeiting products, we’re focusing on the brand protection risks that arise when your company is forced to use large numbers of contractors to get the job done.

Heavy monitoring and screening are necessary to ensure that you’re working with legitimate team members. Contractors that will hopefully, if properly screened, have a solid working history and provide you with great results. This situation is becoming more prevalent in the US since it’s expected that by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be “freelance.

Remember the words of business mogul Warren Buffet that it only takes one horrible event to crush a brand’s reputation that took 20-plus years to establish.

Vendor Tracking and Its Impact On Brand Protection

To ensure you’re working with reliable contractors, and can mitigate issues if and when they arise, it’s crucial that you take the time to track your vendors and their personnel consistently and accurately. It only takes one major incident to cast a negative shadow on your brand and could take years to build back your reputation.  This is even true for government-run events as well.  A prime example of poor vendor tracking was in the news recently when a phony sign language interpreter was on TV during a very sensitive Tampa police press conference recapping developments in a multiple murder case.  This damages the credibility of the Tampa police, was extremely disrespectful to the victims’ families, and was easily preventable with proper workforce management systems and tooling.

According to Security Magazine, the top three brand threats in 2017 are:

  1. Workplace Violence and Active Shooter
  2. Terrorism
  3. Theft and Investigations (Think Equifax Breach)

These are very real and ever-changing threats that will undoubtedly have a direct impact on your brand.

Unfortunately, active shooter situations and violence in the workplace show very little recordable trends. It also takes many different shapes and forms, ranging from threats to actual violence in which there’s loss of life. The lack of trends makes it extremely hard to manage and mitigate but we know that it’s a problem, with more than two million workers affected by workplace violence each year, according to OSHA.

Terrorism, as we all unfortunately know, is becoming more prevalent in modern society. There are many forms of terrorist activities, whether explosions, driving cars through crowds, or cyber attacks. Be sure to monitor your vendors, especially those sourced internationally, to ensure their team is well documented and has clean records.  You must also make sure that vendors are qualified to complete the security duties they are being hired for to mitigate this threat.

Finally, theft and investigations is definitely an issue that can affect businesses in the rail, event management, and utility industries. Those industries collecting and storing critical data are especially at risk. Think about the Equifax dilemma that affected millions of people and their personal data. That breach was very damaging to their brand. Think about the Target hacking, where millions of customers had their credit card information stolen. Hacked credit card scanners put the retail giant’s brand protection at risk.

In all of these scenarios, an instance that occurs within minutes or days can negatively impact a brand’s reputation for years to come.

Most Effective Methods for Mitigating Risks

Whatever industry you operate in, you’re likely dealing with vendors and suppliers. Many times you’re also working with contractors who are actively visiting your job site. When you’re managing multiple relationships and temporary team members, risks increase. Mitigate the chance of negative scenarios by being proactive and building strong relationships with vendors from day one. The stronger your relationship, the more trust you build with the provider and are more likely to catch problems before they occur.

You can also mitigate risks and increase brand protection by taking the following steps:

  1. Background checks are critical. Work with a partner to help streamline the screening process to help you monitor your vendors and suppliers before they begin working with you. Background checks are an essential step to checking the quality and trustworthiness of your vendor partners.
  2. Location tracking and virtual site check-in are growing in popularity because of its effectiveness in monitoring contractors. Many companies are moving to digital vendor tracking for their contractors and subcontractors. There are now programs in the works which allows you to establish a geofence perimeter to know when the individual entered and exited a work site to help with billing and invoicing. They can also notice that individuals entered but did not leave the location which is an indication of potential security or safety concern.
  3. Ongoing screening is required to ensure consistent brand protection. You cannot perform an initial background check and forget about regular screening throughout the vendor relationship. Factors can change and if you’re not continually screening your vendors and suppliers, there could be critical changes, such as legal trouble, that can have a direct impact on your brand.

We are here to be a resource, especially for protecting your brand, for anyone working in the rails, utilities, and venue management industries. If you have any questions about ongoing screening and monitoring to manage your contractor and subcontractors, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.