Irrespective of how much we talk about technological automation and robotics, the Indian economy thrives on labour-intensive trades. In the Indian ecosystem especially, where labour is easily and cheaply available while technology is expensive, it is essential to foster a technology-empowered workforce rather than treating the technology itself as the workforce. The massive potential of a sizable population remains largely untapped. New arrangements that contribute to their growth can establish the grounds for a massive transformation of our economy.
Understanding ‘blue-collar’ jobs
Blue-collar jobs fall under those professions requiring physical labour to deliver their roles and responsibilities. As an example, let us consider Integrated Facilities Management (IFM), a sector that employs a large number of blue-collar workers. This workforce is the indispensable backbone of any IFM establishment. Hence, the future of the IFM sector depends heavily on policies that make learning and development programmes a core part of its business framework. Giving these workers access to better training and upskilling opportunities is essential for our country to grow economically and socially.
Integrated Facility Management as a creator of opportunities
The IFM sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, presenting a gamut of new opportunities for the blue-collar workforce in this field. Good IFM firms understand the significance of upskilling employees as a requisite to ensure better performance of tasks while creating a happier and thriving work ecosystem. Such firms also enable individuals to find a career path and grow in the field. Overall, the industry is heavily investing in its people and equipping them with the know-how to understand and deploy tools and technologies that enhance their productivity and are imperative to a better customer experience.
These factors are transforming the workforce ecosystem
Investment in training: Jobs such as janitors, housekeepers, technicians, security, gardeners, etc., usually require only a basic understanding of the job. However, to ensure that these ground-level workers are as proficient as possible, we need to invest in training programmes and facilities that certify their proficiency and help them align with new developments in the sector. It will also help employees feel empowered and boost their motivation to pursue their jobs, thereby increasing retention and loyalty - both problems in the industry.
Digitisation: Companies must make their employees capable of adapting to tech-driven disruption by developing their potential at all levels with future technology, changing customer needs, and market movements. Educating blue-collar workers about the need for technology and communicating that their jobs will not be replaced, but only assisted by digitisation, is an essential step in this process.
Map the skill gap: Companies must create a map of skill gaps to find where their blue-collar talent stands in terms of industry-specific skill sets, how they compare with competitors, and what competencies are necessary for their transition. Using the statistics and insights about skill gaps, companies can establish the fundamental groundwork for a future road map that plans out development programmes to alleviate the effects of the skill gap.
Upskilling: The growing influence of automation and technologies also accelerates the pace of change in employee responsibilities and competencies, causing a shift in the workplace imperative. With this, upskilling becomes a crucial element for building a pipeline of desired talent. As a by-product, it also improves retention rates and internal promotions. Many companies have acknowledged the necessity of upskilling their staff and have already commenced training personnel at higher levels requiring executive, managerial and cross-functional skills.
Personalised learning: This can assist in making modules easily understandable for workers. Each employee has a unique learning style, and some will face language barriers. Learning opportunities must be made available in regional languages for better results. Together with this, gratitude and appreciation programmes are also a requisite that encourages employees and ensures nobody feels left out.
Building a future-ready workforce
Our people can be a force for problem-solving, increased productivity, and creativity when appreciated and guided by technologies. Also, it is vital to establish a population that can compete with the rising demands of a global superpower such as India. Skilling employees will create a complete, cross-trained workforce and increase their overall efficiency to contribute to our economy and build a future-first workforce, fostering innovation and excellence at its core.