Good management of external contractors in a company goes beyond the fact of entrusting a part of its activities (manufacturing, transportation, payroll processing, etc.) to a third-party contractor or outsourcing a part of its operations. In fact, it is the opposite, as it is a system of integration for workers who, while external, have temporarily become employees of the company. Therefore, it is also referred to as labour outsourcing, a term related to contractor management. That said, for high performance and quality work, these loaned employees must not be devalued or left to their own devices; rather, they must be well supervised. And to that end, there is a way to do it. So, here’s a rundown on 5 steps to managing integrated contractors in a company.
Contractor management: a standardized, moral, and technical process
When managing suppliers, the use of labour is a strategy that must be responsible and rigorous. If a manager, general contractor, or CEO uses self-employed workers or workers on loan from another company—which is often the case on large construction sites—it is their responsibility to ensure that these workers are properly supervised. Productivity depends on it, but it is also for legal and moral reasons that all contractors must have the right to healthy, fair working conditions comparable to the regular employees of the prime contractor or “hiring client,” as it is commonly called.
In fact, according to labour law, in particular the Act respecting occupational health and safety (AOHS, Gvt. of Quebec), a project manager has the duty to deploy all necessary means to preserve, to the best of its ability, the health and safety of workers in their workplace. In the management of contractors, the project manager, while not responsible for everything, is nonetheless, as an employer, bound by numerous obligations in contexts where he has some authority. Furthermore, it is morally unacceptable in the context of contractor management to endanger the health and lives of temporarily employed workers (contractors). When this happens, journalists usually make it the subject of their reports, and both the reputation and the business of the offending company rightly suffer.
Fortunately, a company using contracted labour can nowadays rely on systems, software, and platforms (SaaS) for contractor management, contractor data processing and ad hoc training by experts in the field to best perform its tasks, duties, and obligations.
The 5 key steps of outsourcing management
When they arrive at their new job site, even if they are specialized, workers are likely to be unfamiliar with the company's procedures, its facilities, equipment, etc., which increases the level of risk for them (safety) and can result in higher operating costs for the company.
In contractor management, taking charge of and standardizing contractor practices becomes essential. For example, monitoring and supervising their work on a site or in a plant is part of effective management. For good contractor management, there is nothing like being methodical and doing things in order. By following the 5-step process outlined here, any project manager can better manage the risks inherent in using contractors.
To manage contractors properly, the company must first conduct an overall planning process and, to do so, it must:
- Define the responsibilities.
- Describe the work to be done.
- Specify the scope of activities.
- Determine if specific permits are required and obtain them.
- Determine if specific training is required and verify that all workers have received it or provide it.
- Identify, assess, communicate, and control risks specific to the business.
The pre-qualification stage is very important, as it determines how to select those who will be working. Beyond costs, it is important to find out if the future autonomous partners have the qualifications and capabilities to perform their tasks well. If they belong to a contracting company, it is important to examine the company's record in terms of HSE. In this regard, good management of contractors implies that specific elements should be targeted:
- The contractor's experience (it must be relevant and related to the sector of activity in question).
- HSE policy: the contractor must have a written and documented policy, and its record must be impeccable.
- Supervision: The contractor must explain how he will supervise the work; who will be responsible; how he will communicate in the event of an incident or accident.
3.Awarding of Contract and Welcoming of Contractor Personnel
Once the contract is signed, an initial working meeting should be held with the contractor's staff and a project manager to discuss specific issues, such as attendance and quality of work expectations or safety issues (emergency procedures, first aid room, no-go areas, etc.). It goes without saying that when managing contractors, the project manager must have the necessary human, technical and OHS authority and skills, and act as a resource person for the length of the project.
4.Supervision of work in progress
This is the stage where you need to ensure that the work is being done according to the project specifications and that the risk of accidents is minimized. The company must put in place frequent monitoring and control mechanisms to measure the progress and performance of the contractor and/or the borrowed workers, mechanisms that, in the event of problems, allow for rapid corrective action and minimize risks and dangers. Effective contractor management requires this type of supervision.
Once the work is completed, the evaluation of the contractor's overall performance is on the menu, taking the form of a rating that will be used to classify the employee or the contracting company. Some points to note:
- Overall quality of work performed (above, below or within expectations).
- Adherence to the schedule.
- Compliance with OHS standards, rules, and procedures.
- Incidents/accidents that occurred.
- Condition of the site during the work.
For a controlled management of contractors
The implementation of a contractor management system is a good practice “across the board”: compliance, productivity, legality, security, profitability… To properly implement your contractor management processes, it is also wise to call on experts. The professionals at Cognibox offer various turnkey solutions in this regard, including innovative contractor and employee management software. Stay on top of the situation, make an appointment.