Having some distance from a situation can give you a fresh perspective on what worked and what didn’t. This can be said about the mining boom and the lessons the entire industry can now reflect on, especially when it comes to workers and best practices around recruitment. And, when it comes to recruitment, there’s no topic that creates as much debate as the age-old contention between ‘fly in and fly out’ (FIFO) workers and hiring locals.
This was one of the main topics I covered in a recent conversation I had on my podcast, Full Production, with Jade Buckman of CBH Resources Limited. In that episode, Jade and I talked about the benefits that hiring locally can have for your mine’s operations and the community as a whole.
If that’s a topic that interests you, then be sure to go ahead and listen to the whole episode, but in the meantime, check out the rest of this article where I’ll be talking about three of the key reasons why I like to hire locally, and the benefits it could have for your mining operation.
Easier to Manage
One of the top benefits in having a local workforce for your mine is the ease that you can manage it. There are always going to be situations where you need to offer overtime, and having a workforce that doesn’t need to travel thousands of kilometres to get home makes this much easier to take control of. When you’re locked into a rigid schedule that comes with a FIFO workforce, it makes changes to your daily operations just that little bit harder. Local workers can give you a better range of flexibility for those times when you need it the most.
There’s no denying that mining skills are pretty much on par when it comes to a FIFO workforce and a local one. However, where there is a big difference is in the morale of your team. Working away from your family for long periods is a hard thing to do for anyone. It can lead to a low level of morale on-site, as well as a lower output of productivity by your overall workforce. Having locals on-site means that they’ll be working close to their families, therefore giving the team a mental break as well as a physical one. This ultimately leads to a more relaxed and happy workforce.
Another benefit of a local workforce that’s often overlooked by mine companies is the timeframe it takes to train up a local worker compared to bringing an outsider in. When recruiting from local resources, the flexibility you have in bringing team members to site to train them for their duties is high. When you do the same with a FIFO worker, you need to do so within the confines of their shift cycles. This greatly extends the time it takes to have a fully functioning workforce, and usually means a longer ramp up period before your project is running effectively and efficiently.
There are so many benefits to hiring locally, such as sustaining remote communities and helping your workforce manage a healthy work-life balance. However, the biggest benefit to having a local workforce is to the bottom line of your mine, and ensuring that you run a profitable and successful operation in the short and long-term.
Listen to my entire conversation with Jade here.