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Retain talent through flexibility

Flexibility and hybrid even feature in organizations’ employer branding exercises. One of the early players in this space is Axis Bank, which has dubbed its flexibility initiative GIG-A-Opportunities. A “work from anywhere” model, it not only allows existing employees to transition into flexible roles, but also seeks to generate employment opportunities for small town dwellers. “Since these are 100% virtual roles (across all functions), some of them being short-term, project-based contracts, we even have women, who have left the workforce due to maternity issues, who have returned to work, as well as retired people who want to work with us. The initiative has helped diversify our workforce,” says Rajkamal Vempati, CHRO, Axis Bank.

L’Oréal India calls its flexibility initiative ‘Liquid Workforce’, while Hindustan Unilever (HUL) offers ‘You Work’, which allows employees to move into project-based roles. They are free to choose their working hours and are even entitled to benefits such as medical benefits.

Intel, meanwhile, has “Freelance Nation,” designed to retain high-performing employees who may want a more flexible work style. Selected candidates are eligible for telecommuting, part-time work and job sharing. Even sectors such as logistics and supply chain (where flexibility was unimaginable in pre-pandemic times) are considering hybrid work models. Allcargo Logistics offers a hybrid model for certain functional verticals. “Telecommuting is an acceptable way of working, but manager approval is required. Previously, managers were skeptical about the approval of the request, but now they are on board because, at the end of the day, delivery matters,” says Indrani Chatterjee, Group HR Director, Allcargo Logistics.

At Manya Education, few corporate office employees have been given full-time work from home, while others can take voluntary telecommuting. “I think working from the office is preferable because it helps with the development that comes with collaboration. But, we’re liberal about it. In fact, our few high-performing employees work entirely from home, and their performance is phenomenal,” Kishore says. .

The concert grows

Another trend that companies have widely embraced is the culture of gigs. It is no longer just about blue collar workers such as delivery people and drivers, but it has even gone beyond management positions. According to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the gig economy has the potential to serve up to 90 million jobs in India. It can handle over $250 billion in workload and contribute 1.25% to India’s GDP in the long term.

Major industries that leverage concert talent include consulting, pharmaceutical/healthcare, consumer packaged goods, IT/IT services, and development/nonprofit. Large companies appear to be the biggest users (32%) of flexible talent, driven by greater comfort due to new ways of working, the need for agility and flexibility, as well as an emphasis on skills and the expertise to drive initiatives (Source: Professional Gig Economy Report Card, Flexing It® 2021).