As our clients push to continually be recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” globally and to protect the health, safety and rights of contingent workers, companies are increasingly conducting social compliance audits, also known as ethical audits, of their staffing suppliers. In fact, we have recently experienced an increase in the number of requests for “Social Compliance Audits” or questions related to the topic in RFIs and RFPs.
Among other objectives, an audit ensures that staffing suppliers comply with labor laws and regulations and follow a written code of conduct that specifies how workers need to be treated.
Social compliance audits also help program managers and their clients manage risks that could impact their company’s reputation and employment brand, plus, they foster continuous improvement of working conditions in global talent supply chains.
The fact that the 17 UN Global Compact goals have gained widespread global acceptance is a testament to the belief that all workers, regardless of status, should be treated with dignity and respect.
Whether you’re brand-new to social responsibility or already have a self-assessment questionnaire or audit procedures in place, forward-thinking staffing suppliers need to be accountable and play a vital role in supporting social responsibility programs.
The following are just some of the benefits the right staffing company can offer MSPs and their clients.
Documented Policies and Codes of Conduct (CoC)
A staffing firm that is serious about complying with labor laws and regulations will have a written policy that covers discrimination, overtime, health and safety, discipline and collective bargaining.
Agencies need to create a code of conduct (CoC), designed to provide guidance regarding a company’s standards of integrity and business conduct, ethics and standards and display it prominently online and in employment contracts. The CoC defines standards of professionalism towards:
Policy Management and Compliance
To identify potential issues and ensure compliance, staffing firms need to develop a formal policy management program and conduct proactive risk assessments and regular self-directed “mini” audits.
An effective program will not only embed respect for human rights, it will include methods and sources for tracking changes to labor laws and regulations, performance metrics and measurements and rules for collecting and maintaining records and data pertaining to the employment of migrant or foreign workers.
A staffing firm should be able to confirm that it is complying with all laws pertaining to foreign workers in specialized occupations including “reasonable costs of transportation,” fees and that contracts are written in a language that foreign workers can understand.
Support for Reporting Concerns
Staffing firms should provide a way for contingents to report potential violations or concerns about working conditions or treatment anonymously while on assignment. Moreover, the staffing firm should communicate that the contingent worker will not be disciplined or be subjected to retaliation for asking questions or voicing concerns.
Auditing has grown in importance as global supply chains have increased the sourcing of talent from foreign countries. Attention to social compliance also serves to protect a client’s reputation among potential employees, highly skilled contractors and consumers.
By working together, MSPs, clients and their staffing partners can ensure that every worker enjoys the right to safe working conditions, freedom of employment, safety from discrimination, harassment and more.