How technology helps find the right people in times of crisis

How technology helps find the right people in times of crisis

Despite the continuing advances of technology, in times of crisis it's human hands we need the most to guide us through.

On the front lines, it's people who make all the difference. Whether that's doctors and nurses, fire fighters and emergency responders, or even supermarket workers and call centre operators, an organisation's current resources need to be deployed as efficiently as possible.

Depending on the scale of the crisis, new capacity may need to be onboarded rapidly far quicker than current processes allow.

So, while it's humans we rely on, technology accelerates how a business finds, vets, and deploys more people into the field where they're needed most.

Through a full view of the data an organisation has at hand, technology ensures the new recruits are appropriately certified, given the proper training, and are onboarded in a way that satisfies any regulatory or governance requirements.

With so much at stake, there's no room for error.

Healthcare providers, for example, may find themselves in dire need of more front-line medical workers. Across the globe, retired doctors and GPs have been recalled to hospital wards. Nursing students were also considered as an emergency workforce to support hospitals and aged-care facilities.

Earlier this year, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation urged the Federal Government to engage Australia's 2,500 nursing graduates after 20,000 international nursing students had work restrictions lifted to help ease the pressure on the aged care sector. 

Supermarkets also scrambled for more workers. Day after day, shelves were stripped of essential items as people panic bought supplies. In response, Coles sought to rapidly increase its workforce by 5,000 casual workers to help stock shelves and deliver groceries. More than 36,000 Australians rushed to apply for the roles.

Services Australia, which runs Centrelink and is responsible for delivering the Government's stimulus packages to the pockets of struggling Australians, also sought 5,000 new workers to help those who lost their jobs or were already on welfare to access the resources they needed and continue to seek.

Meanwhile, 100 of 128 NSW councils recently approved a deal to redeploy workers across different locations and roles.

Following the summer's devastating bushfires, more than 25,000 people rushed to volunteer for the NSW Rural Fire Service - a five-fold increase on its usual number of applicants.

These are just some examples of the rapid fluctuation of the workforce during a crisis, but they clearly demonstrate the need for critical frontline services to rapidly onboard new workers. Further, the current resources available need to be assigned to the hardest hit areas in the most efficient manner possible. Even in simpler times these were difficult challenges.

With new employees, organisations need to get onboarding and vetting processes right particularly in the health, aged care, and emergency services sectors where certification and training absolutely must be up-to-date.

With allocating current resources, businesses need a full view of their data so they can understand how to deploy resources appropriately in response to ever-changing needs.

These are critical questions which must be answered quickly and they must be answered accurately, but they're questions rarely asked at this scale.

So, at a time when workers need to be onboarded as fast as possible, existing processes and technology can hinder the rapid deployment that's needed. In the face of crises that evolve every hour, traditional timelines simply aren't good enough.

Rather than relax requirements to accelerate the process, the only way to expedite an emergency workforce is through the use of technology particularly if it carries the flexibility of cloud or SaaS (Software as a Service).

Given the off-premise nature of these applications, they can be configured without the need for engineers or technicians to install them on site.

Further, they can be easily scaled to meet required demand. This ensures as many frontline workers as possible are deployed rapidly while undergoing all the appropriate onboarding procedures.

This year has forced our society to deal with some of the largest challenges it's ever faced. Time and again, we see the need to mobilise more and more Australians to the front lines to help us through.

While it's people who make all the difference in times of crisis, technology has a critical role to play in getting them there as quickly as possible.

Nicholas Lambrou is managing director A/NZ at Boomi, a Dell Technologies business.

This story was published in partnership with Boomi.

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