How a tech startup is transforming blue collar jobs economy in India
Bangalore based tech startup, BetterPlace, is making a significant difference in the blue collar jobs economy space by offering a one-stop solution for managing semi-formal workforce, to more than 1000 clients across industry sectors
BetterPlace is a fast growing technology platform for end to end lifecycle management of the blue-collar workforce in India. “Our services facilitate a frictionless transition of the semi-formal workforce into the formal economy. Trusted by 1000+ large employers across various industries, we have onboarded and engaged over 60 lakh individuals, and are currently onboarding more than 10,000 individuals every day,” says Pravin Agarwala, Co-founder & CEO, BetterPlace.
The company was established in 2015, and has touched many milestones since then. Agarwala explains that starting with basic HR services and compliances, BetterPlace is now a one-stop solution for managing semi-formal workforce in India. “Our products and services solve problems right from sourcing and hiring to training, managing compliances to running payroll and offering financial products. However, we are proud that our biggest milestone is the impact that we have created for these individuals,” affirms Agarwala.
The product and solution portfolio comprises the following:
1) SkillConnect: The journey of the blue-collar staff starts with sourcing and hiring platform SkillConnect. Training partners across the country upload their trained candidates on the platform, from where they can be hired by the prospective employers. “As on date, there are 22 lakh trained job seekers across many many categories and 19 lakh vacancies from our clients over the next 10 months. The platform enables highly localised supply demand mapping,” informs Agarwala.
2) EngageConnect: After hiring comes the onboarding, which is made simpler for the employers and the employees through the services –
a) Compliances: Basic HR compliances to contract labour regulatory needs are met through the platform
b) Training and assessment: Digital training of job skills, soft skills and corporate guidelines available in eight local languages using chatbots
c) Attendance management: App with features like facial recognition, geo-fencing, muster roll generation to enable smooth wage disbursement.
3) Compli: This enables compliance management, with automated CLRA statutes, auto-validated PF and ESI, and real-time visibility. “It enables managing large and distributed facility management setup with vendors and operations spread across many sites,” says Agarwala.
4 ) FinConnect: Eases payroll management for the support staff. It also comes with two click bank account opening, salary disbursal, real time visibility to current and past disbursals, and has benefits like loans and insurance to employees.
5 ) DealConnect: Enables the blue-collar workforce to purchase whatever they need at a cheaper rate. It is a platform to offer them rewards, discounts and coupons on things that they anyway buy at the regular or higher price.
The customer segments include industries like private security, logistics, facilities management, on-demand services, IT/ITES, education, retail and others. “We work with brands like Flipkart, Ola, Zomato, Amazon, Accenture and many more to ensure seamless lifecycle management of their workforce. The customers benefit from our services in various aspects. We reduce the time to market by one tenth in terms of engaging their semi-formal workforce. Right from hiring to exit, we manage the workforce, thereby reducing the time and cost throughout different stages with our tech platforms,” mentions Agarwala, adding that management of blue-collar workforce is still an unorganised process, and BetterPlace’s streamlined services dedicated entirely to this segment makes sure there are no loopholes, thereby having little room for error in the future.
Agarwala acknowledges that as they are dealing in the informal/semi-formal sector, they face challenges mainly due to the unorganised process. However, that also helps them identify the problem area and solve it effectively. He points out the key challenges – high rate of attrition, manual and chaotic process for a distributed workforce, lack of digital footprint and penetration of technology in this segment, lack of financial inclusion and dignity of labour, no formal skilling or training. “These are the challenges we are trying to solve for us and our customers,” he concedes.
According to Agarwala, innovation is what keeps him and his team going – right from conception to execution of any idea. “We are putting technology to use in various areas, like making medical facilities available to them, helping them with financial inclusion, and bringing about an overall impact in their lives. We are broadening the technological reach of this segment,” he remarks.
Reminding that India is benefitting from the demographic dividend, while the rest of the world is ageing, Agarwala states that there is a massive opportunity to expose Indians in this segment to job opportunities in countries such Japan, Europe, Middle East etc. The SkillConnect platform is already being leveraged by a few partners in some of these regions.
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