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Domain Skill Assessment   | 2 Min Read

Blue Collars & Their Battle of Attrition

Written By Srijan Sharma
4 AM on a January morning. “It was cold, and I was literally breathing ice crystals through my mouth. I got on my bike and whizzed onto the roads of Gurugram” Santosh Kumar, 24, a typical Indian electrician (or plumber, or local mechanic) who has to wake up before everyone so that the lights above your head and the desk with a machine equivalent to his life earnings in front of your eyes work according to your whims when you arrive.

Kumar is but one among millions of untrained, grotesque workforce of blue-collars in the world's second-most populous country who are hired and who leave in bulk. But we are not here to talk about that, right?

We have all read stories of the cut-above, the unique minded high achieving, sales driven workforce elites who define the nitty-gritty of our perfect corporate wet-dream.

But what hasn’t caught our imagination is the question that touches upon the disaster that is blue-collared jobs in retail and FMCG sectors alike, across the 7 seas.

 Blue Collars & Their Battle of Attrition

Managers complain that people quit just because someone else is offering them a surplus of 500 bucks, but the fact is that entry-level salaries have just not grown in accordance to the needs orchestrated by this eternal mullah hungry economy.

Square pegs out of round holes - Reduce Attrition

Square pegs out of round holes

The problem is simple: Everyone is compassionately obsessed with the perfect white-collar dream, completely alienating themselves from any association to huge blue-collar collateral. The challenge is obvious: how do you get all those square pegs out of their round holes?

A cheap, disposable and compliant labor force only brings insecurity, resentment and a breadline existence which results in attrition or as the pundits would call it – the turnover rate to a staggering and incredulous yet true percentage of 76. This brings your targets to its bare knees.

In India, the ratio of the blue collar to white collar employees is 78:22 (Annual Report 2015–2016 by India Ministry of Labor and Employment).

Takeaway

Takeaway - Reduce Attrition

“But what is your take away if these metrics are improved, if this workforce is analyzed, appraised and appointed on the basis of their merit and according to the value structure of the company?”

Blue collar engagement does more than increase productivity, it decreases attrition, reduces quality snafus, and rationalizes the cost of operation; all while giving a much safer cultural fit.

Caught your attention yet? Maybe this will make your eyes bleed then.

The Cry for Attention

Reduce Attrition - The cry for Attention

Manufacturers that ignore this reality can and do pay a steep price. Imagine the situation of that blue-collar employee who has been holding down the fort for your organization from the production end.

Yes! The one who left your workforce in the pretension of an extra 450 bucks, exactly like the hundreds more that you are going to hire to fill in for him. Cannot imagine the ramifications? Let us help you out.

Misery

Reduce Attrition - Misery

When a blue-collar employee leaves the company, there are few costs involved which may seem minor for one, but when hosts of them leave it creates a dent.

Recruiting, employment, orientation, training, wages, and salaries paid while training, lost productivity, quality problems, customer dissatisfaction, loss of expertise/knowledge, management time to adjust.

“According to one calculation, the costs related to turnover could easily run into 75% of the annual salary of the employee leaving the company. Are you careless enough to let that slide?”

Weapons for the Future

Reduce Attrition - Weapons for the future

We really do not think that this is what you want. Well, we never prophesize dooms, we just give the damage report. Or maybe help you win it, so here’s to adding a bit more to your arsenal.

Create a global brand: Global manufacturers must go the extra mile to tailor their branding in a way that is locally relevant and compelling. Taking Unilever as an example, it maintains local ties and simultaneously cultivates a global presence.

Tailor the employee value proposition: A value proposition encompasses far more than pay and benefits; it also includes the organization’s behaviors, mindsets, norms, commitments, and informal networks. What maybe culturally acceptable in one region may not be so in another, and many such examples arise when you have a global outreach that adheres yet to a geographic value structure.

“For these very reasons or lack of them thereof, acquisition planning, finding the right fit and appraising them for a better retention rate should be on the table tops of all the prominent decision makers.”

Sounds easier right? It is not. The bigger picture is that there may as well be a million solutions to a similar problem, but identifying the right ones that do fix your issues per your need and in tow does not leave you penniless is difficult, to say the least.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat" - Richard Marcinko.

Trade Secrets

Let us narrate a story of challenges, a story of solutions. How a retail giant made peace, won the war and all that with a few nifty tricks up our sleeves.

The challenges faced were huge in numbers, both literally and figuratively, fresh employees were put through a training program of little coherence; later assessed via written/assignment based post-training tests. This emerged as a tedious, time-consuming chore, and something which the company never wanted for themselves ever. And this was only a millimeter in the light years of issues that we had to address.

When a post-war analysis was done, an end-to-end solution laced with psychometric and advanced cognitive assessments comprehensively assisted in their recruitment of future soldiers. Nonetheless, their mutiny decreased, and they performed better. Now, the ball is in your court, and you have been given the wood to make the bat. Why not hit it back?

Wounded or Victorious?

So here you go, we just divulged our trade secrets, or did we?

So the question arises, do we meet you on the battlefield or when you are wounded from it?

GodSpeed.

Topics: Domain Skill Assessment

Originally published April 30 2019,updated June 29 2019

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