The Importance of Speed while Hiring Frontline Workers

One of the key factors that can salvage several companies in industries that need blue-collar workers, is their talent acquisition, which needs to be fast but effective.

Frontline workers, or blue-collar workers as they are more popularly referred to as form the backbone of the Indian economy. Almost every industry -  be it Healthcare, IT, FoodTech, Delivery/Logistics, Hospitality or Manufacturing provide employment to a staggering percentage of India's population. As per an ET report, India has nearly 170 million people employed in skilled and semi-skilled blue-collar jobs. These jobs have a very high demand but hiring right and screening candidates remains slow, while attrition also makes the process slower.

According to a whitepaper published by apna, approximately 12.5 crore jobs were lost in India as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them were either completely laid off or had received severe pay cuts or no salaries for the majority of the year. More than 30 % of the job losses took place in major cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Delhi. As a result, India saw an exodus of laborers migrating back to their home towns and villages from these larger cities. Those working in hospitality, salons, field sales, and back-office administration suffered the most layoffs, while there was a surge in last-mile delivery and logistics, frontline health workers, and allied technical categories.

As industries get a new lease of life, pan-India unlock guidelines unfold, and the fear of the pandemic subsides, it is imperative for companies to hire their frontline workforce. In order to ensure a speedy economic recovery for most industries, their hiring personnel must set the foundations strong. This implies that for a hotel to operate back at optimum efficiency, it must hire sizeable staff and train them in-time. Call centers must reopen with a substantial number of phone operators. Retail stores must have manned salespersons. Supply chain and logistics companies' must hire an adequate number of delivery personnel. Construction companies must acquire carpenters, HVAC technicians, so on and so forth.

Industries that are leading the resurgence of blue-collar hiring is delivery segment, including food and grocery with demand returning back to 100% of the pre-COVID level. One of the key factors that can salvage several companies in industries that need blue-collar workers, is their talent acquisition, which needs to be fast but effective.

Here are a few ways in which you can optimize your time and efforts and improve the speed at which you hire blue-collar workers:

1. Be clear on the job profile and pay scale

While most jobs in the blue-collar sector do tend to be vague, it would be extremely effective if hiring managers can nail down the key responsibilities and the average pay scale for each distinguished role, to set the right expectations from day zero.

2. Differentiate between skilled and unskilled laborers

While some jobs do not require specific skillsets such as that of a security guard or facility personnel; others like carpentry, painting, etc. do need relevant skillsets. In order to save time during on-job training, it is important for hiring managers to differentiate skilled and unskilled laborers and seek suitable candidates accordingly.

unskilled vs. skilled worker - blog
skilled vs. unskilled 

3. Narrow down platforms and vendors

Most blue-collar laborers thrive in communities and get their next gig via networks. In order for a hiring manager to acquire blue-collar laborers in bulk, and at record-time, it is important that they make a list of relevant portals, platforms, and vendors that can understand their needs, and fulfill them accordingly.

4. Harness the power of the internet

With the Jio phenomenon taking the country by storm, and increased digital literacy in semi-urban and rural areas, a lot of the daily wage and blue-collar laborers can be seen using the internet. This has given rise to several platforms that streamline opportunities for these workers and connect them with relevant employers. apna, aasaanjobs and Work India are few among the many that operate in this segment. Identify what works for you, and leverage it for results.

5. Create a pipeline to fight churn

Employee retention is a major concern, especially among blue-collar employees that jump ship for meager raises or other benefits. To mitigate the downsides of frequent employee churn, partner with platforms like apna that helps you replace the workforce in record-time. Having a healthy pipeline of potential candidates to take the place of the current ones is important to ensure smooth business operations.

Create a pipeline to fight churn - blog

All in all, in order for your company to operate back at pre-COVID levels and even better, hiring plays a crucial role. In industries where most of the jobs are meant for blue-collar laborers, the challenge does not lie in quality but speed and efficiency. Unlike white-collar jobs, that need a curated approach and demand high cognitive aptitude and specific skill sets, blue-collar jobs require urgency. These are the jobs that lay the ground for any company upon which to stand tall. Hence, it is important to not just hire right but also hire fast.