Building Resilience in Waste Management

As we all breathe a collective sigh of relief that 2020 is drawing to a close, the reality is that the challenges are far from over. The UK is still navigating the second wave of the pandemic and trying to claw back some semblance of a deal before the Brexit deadline hits on December 31st. For businesses it’s been a year of hard but valuable experiences, where they’ve learnt what’s most critical to business success and it’s not at all what they thought. Structure, systems, and process, whilst important, are no longer the backbone of companies. There is a realisation that agility, expertise, collaboration, and technology are what will see them through tough times.

So how can business owners build on these learnings to create a more robust and resilient organisation, better equipped to weather future storms, and simply be more successful? Let’s consider each of these elements relating to hiring in the waste management industry:

Agility:

The pandemic brought home the reality of how essential waste management is to urban life, as well as how it needs to be able to respond quickly to a changing marketplace. When the pandemic hit, the sudden surplus of medical waste combined with a reduced workforce, and limited processing facilities, created a backlog – which in itself was a health hazard. The ability to scale up or down, depending on demand is a huge challenge. If businesses wanted to be able to take advantage of the opportunities they needed to be able to make decisions quickly. Under pressure managers had to consider what resources they had available and how to apply or repurpose them.

This went beyond operational structures and applied to skills and expertise as well. It was a great opportunity to upskill employees and overcome the usual resistance to change. Because if they didn’t adapt and learn, they could well be out of a job or the company could be out of business. That was the reality. And this is a good reality to be faced with because it results in creative thinking and innovation to find solutions that will work both immediately and into the future.

Expertise:

In times of crisis, companies can’t afford to carry dead weight. This highlights just how critical it is to have the right expertise in place. Quality employees that are the right fit and have the necessary experience and skills become a company’s greatest asset, helping it to maneuver through a rapidly changing marketplace. It’s a well-known fact that leadership is a key driver for business success. But equally so is every other role at every other level in the organization.

When the need for specific expertise becomes apparent, managers are often faced with the dilemma of whether to promote from within, or search externally. Indeed hiring internally has developed as a strong trend and has its benefits. It demonstrates that there are opportunities for career progression within a company. But knowing a person and knowing they’re good at their current job, isn’t always an indicator that they have what it takes to deliver on expectations for the new role.

This is where evidence based hiring is so valuable. Internal and external candidates go through the identical evaluation process which is based on competency, natural ability, and personality. It removes bias and finds the right person for the job, regardless of who they are. This type of hiring not only works well for companies but also employees. When people find themselves in a role that is the right fit, they tend to put their all into their job, and work with passion and dedication. Ultimately, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Collaboration

Traditionally, people were hired for specific roles and expected to work only in that field of expertise. But today it’s becoming increasingly apparent that having a diversity of opinions and perspectives often leads to the best solutions. Enabling people from different departments to share information and collaborate on projects can streamline an organization and make it much more efficient – something that is critical in challenging economic times. Once again, evidenced based hiring has a role to play in this by highlighting personality traits that are more likely to collaborate with co-workers, whether it’s from a leadership or team perspective.

Technology

With companies being subject to various levels of lockdown restrictions in 2020, and employees working from home, teams quickly had to get used to video conferencing. Technology enabled companies to continue to operate, and despite the challenges of balancing work and home life in a single space, employees became more tech savvy. 

In other areas of business, especially with the urgent need to work more efficiently, companies sought out tech solutions and expertise to help them streamline or scale up operations. Not being able to afford to get it wrong, evidenced based hiring once again helps to find the right people that can help the company move forward quickly to be able to take advantage of current opportunities. 

As we start New Year, let’s not forget the lessons of 2020, and how people can make the biggest contribution to an organisation’s success. Find the right people for the right role and it can help build up a robust and resilient business.