Article: Flexi work at RBI: A game changer move by central bank

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Flexi work at RBI: A game changer move by central bank

The country's central bank has introduced flexible working hours for 3,000 officers and it looks like a step in the right direction for state-owned entities looking to build a strong employer brand
Flexi work at RBI: A game changer move by central bank
 

Future-focused employers are relooking their present-day strategies to prepare themselves for the gradually changing talent pool

 

The country’s central bank has introduced flexible working hours for 3,000 officers and it looks like a step in the right direction for state-owned entities looking to build a strong employer brand

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released a directive today allowing all officers above the entry-level Grade B to avail flexible working hours. The circular mandates all employees to be present in office between 11am and 3pm, but are free to choose their timings for the rest of the working day according to their convenience. All in all, they have to work for eight hours a day.

According to a report in the Times of India, Alpana Killawala, chief general manager, department of communication, RBI, was quoted as saying, “The RBI felt the need to adopt a flexi-time approach to align its HR practices with the best in the country and in the world, and to supplement its efforts at being a knowledge institution. More importantly, as younger people join the stream of our officers, we want them to balance their home and work lives.”

While the concept has been around for many years now in corporate India, this is the first of its kind move for a public sector employer in India. While widespread reactions are yet to come in, this move has the potential to trigger a trend for other public sector undertakings (PSUs) to follow in the coming times. The pilot project began in January this year and will benefit about 3,000 officers. The country’s central bank employs 18,000 workers.

A 2012 survey by TJinsite reveals the differences between the Employer Value Proposition (EVP) preferences of Generation Y and those of Generation X and older generations in the workforce. It is no secret that the Indian workforce is witnessing a shift in the demographic composition that will become more prominent over the next five to 10 years. With the composition of the future workforce skewed heavily towards younger Gen Y and millennials, it will fundamentally change the nature of working in enterprises. Future-focused employers are already relooking their present-day strategies to prepare themselves for the gradually changing composition of the talent pool.

While the profile, job security and salary are the deciding factors of employment for the older generations at present, millennials value salary and flexibility over other factors while deciding to choose, or stay on with, an employer. Up until now, the biggest EVP driver for PSUs in India has been around the aspect of job security.

It appears now that PSUs are bracing against the changed economics of the system and pioneering progressive employer practices.  Employers like the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have found their way into the Great Places to Work rankings of the best employers in India. These PSUs have taken giant strides in replacing legacy personnel management practices with new age talent management practices that are aligned with the needs and requirements of the modern-day workforce.

In an interview with SHRM, IOC Deputy General Manager (HRD) S Senthilkumar says that owing to progressive human resource management practices, PSUs are slowly becoming preferred employers among the new generation workforce.  PSUs like Indian Oil get Day 1 status during campus recruitment among premier engineering and management institutes. This was unheard of just until a few years ago when they were competing against multi-national giants offering inflated pay packages and promising modern working environments.

The Government of Korea introduced flexible working hours for all its employees in the latter half of 2010. The Korean government revealed that the flexible working arrangement was introduced because the workforce utilisation and productivity was low, active participation rate was minimum, and the number of women in the workforce was small. Literature suggests that most of these issues seem to resonate very well with public sector establishments in India.

As needs, working styles, and preferences of the workforce change, RBI’s move looks like the right step toward building a strong employer brand to tap talent opportunities of the future. After Yahoo! stopped flexible working arrangements for all its employees, it seems the timing could not have been any better!

 

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