Notes on the New Normal #4 – Spreading the word on the science of compliance - World Employment Confederation bool(false)

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Notes on the New Normal #4 – Spreading the word on the science of compliance

BLOG – Getting to grips with the various strands of regulatory compliance and finding the right formula for boosting industry standards have been ongoing priorities within the employment and HR services arena for a while. But there is no doubt that the current crisis is focusing minds on the science of compliance and on how the global industry can use this to cure latent misperceptions once and for all.

Published on 13th November 2020

Following the science is a common refrain in these Covid times. Getting to grips with the various strands of regulatory compliance and finding the right formula for boosting industry standards have been ongoing priorities within the employment and HR services arena for a while. But there is no doubt that the current crisis is focusing minds on the science of compliance and on how the global industry can use this to cure latent misperceptions once and for all.

Policy makers, workers and employers are operating in an increasingly compliance conscious environment. A good example of this is the observation by Charles Cameron, RCSA CEO and WEC Vice President, that “businesses need to make sure they have the right procedures in place and that they are working with the right suppliers; the crisis has intensified the focus on compliance”. Below are five reasons that the pandemic is shining the light on this area:

  1. OHS compliance is setting the tone – Managing a safe return to workplaces.has been a priority; this remains a major driver of the WEC’s ‘Alliance Task-Force’ The focus on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and on duty of care covers all workers, including those on temporary and interim contracts. This is why the pandemic has been a time for employers to review their recruitment supply chains to ensure that the staffing and HR service providers they work with are up to speed and up to scratch.

 

  1. Addressing informality and driving enforcement are twin priorities – The pandemic has highlighted the inherent vulnerability of those working in the informal economy. There is a renewed energy to address this and on delivering effective enforcement. This is an opportunity for the global HR services sector to feed into the work of International Labour Organization (ILO) in this areas to co-create innovative solutions on a national level. This is also a platform for demonstrating the industry’s absolute commitment to ethics and professional standards.

 

  1. New Normal = new approaches to risk and reputation – For employers, compliant and ethical recruitment supply chains must be an element of revamped reputation management strategies. HR service providers must be seen as allies in managing risk. Facilitating a safe return to work is just one example of this, the scrutiny on how employers source and manage workers on different types of contracts will continue long after the health crisis subsides.

 

  1. Making the case for ‘responsible intermediation’ – A volatile external environment makes agile and flexible workforce arrangements more important than ever. But we need to create a clear differentiation with other types of intermediaries (for example, online platforms and recruitment apps). Harnessing technology and driving innovation are important ways forward but we need a regulatory level playing field, in the interests of workers as well as compliant businesses.

 

  1. Worker well-being will be pillar of the New Normal The global debate around new ways of measuring successful economies and labour markets is gaining traction. This was a theme of the recent World Economic Forum ‘Jobs Reset Summit’, with PWC Global Chairman Robert E. Moritz arguing that “we are moving away from GDP as primary measure of progress towards much more inclusive measures that will serve citizens and the world at large.” For the global business community, doing things the right way and demonstrating ‘social value’ must form part of this. WEC’s advocacy role will be more important than ever in feeding into other global debates around supply chain compliance and modern-day slavery.

Evolving regulatory requirements and a volatile external environment means that compliance is always moving on. But the industry is geared up to deal with this constant mutation and it was good to hear Elaine Zhang, Secretary General of CAFST, the Chinese federation, make the point during one of our recent interviews that “One thing that never changes is change; the key for the HR services sector lies in our agility and adaptability to this change”.

In the words of a leading compliance guru I used to work with: “Compliance must be complied with”. This mantra may be a little tongue in cheek but the fundamental truth that lies beneath it is that compliance is about mind-set, it is about recognising that it matters. For the global HR services sector, continuing to master the science of compliance and spreading the word on ethics and professional standards are vital components of the formula for repositioning the industry in the so-called New Normal.

This post is part of a series where we explore the key themes that emerged from the conversations with national federations and corporate leaders within the Alliance Task Force. The series is signed by Tom Hadley, an external advocacy and campaigns consultant and former Director of Policy & Campaigns at the REC, the professional body for the UK’s recruitment and employment industry. He is currently leading the World Employment Confederation’s ‘Alliance Task-force’ project.

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