People management in the new normal

Building a resilient and resourceful mining workforce

Always volatile, the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed shocks to mining sector employment that are likely to reverberate for years to come. With widespread closures of non-essential activities and restrictions on the movement of people, the pandemic exposed the weak points in the global labour market. And while mining operations have largely resumed across Canada and Latin America, the impacts surrounding mining labour for the longer term are still being determined.

To remain productive and profitable, mining operations must take a proactive approach to human resources and labour compliance, ensuring they have a safe, skilled and engaged workforce to drive the organization forward. What’s the current state of labour resources in the Latin American mining sector and how can you best position your company to secure and retain its most vital natural resources?

The state of mining employment

Pre-pandemic, the mining industry was dealing with a worsening shortage of mining labour. According to the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, the Canadian mining industry may need to hire roughly 79,680 workers over the next decade (2020 to 2030). As mines worldwide reopen, we expect that shortage to become even more acute.

Covid-19 struck Latin America in the middle of what was already a tough economic, political and social period. Some governments have taken measures to protect employees’ rights, such as requiring companies to pay insurance, pension, and health contributions during emergency situations. For example, Chile has enacted the Employment Protection Law to protect families’ income from loss of work. Many other countries are providing extended paid leave support or covering basic salaries and expenses. For mining companies, the new initiatives complicate an already complex international employment market.

How technology can help

Faced with a worker shortage and a complex and changing compliance climate, mining organizations are getting creative. Smaller office footprints, an increased reliance on the local workforce, relocation of non-critical roles from sites, and redesigned rosters and shift patterns are some of their innovative responses.

Mining companies have also found that technology — particularly cloud technology — helps to manage the risks and impacts of the pandemic on their workforce and their operations. A cloud-based mining workforce solution is one essential technology that allows miners to better support remote workforces, reduce on-site presence, comply with changing compliance mandates, and communicate with workers both inside and outside the mine site setting.

Resilient and resourceful

What the pandemic has taught mining companies is that agility is the most important corporate attribute. Your ability to pivot to meet a changing compliance landscape while continuing to recruit and retain the best workforce is foundational. Human resource management systems (HRMS) and human capital management (HCM) systems are effective tools in building resilient and resourceful operations, and ultimately, in your mining business’s success. Learn more here.

Paul has been involved with Sage 300 software for almost 30 years. He brings a well-rounded perspective to business management software implementation projects. His depth of knowledge and expertise in business process analysis has benefited several clients.