CHENNAI: Over a year ago, when Naushad, a carpenter from Bengaluru, signed up with home-services startup EasyFix, he was just one among many of their service providers. After multiple sessions of skilling and training at the startup, today he is a supervisorlevel employee on payroll. Irfan, another carpenter from Bengaluru and Mani Bhushan, an electrician from Gurgaon have similar stories to tell.
As home-services startups turn to upskilling their work force, blue-collar workers are finding better job prospects and increase in revenues. At these startups, training sessions no more mean just grooming the soft skills of their work force. Identifying that many of their technicians were not up-to-date and were not able to match the increasing expectations of the customers, these startups now invest in upskilling their workforce and training them in newer technologies.
"In this industry, professionalism and quality of service are the deciding factors now, because there is no dearth of demand. The expectations of customers keep rising," said Shaifali Holani, CEO of EasyFix. The startup has taken a 360-degree approach towards training by trying to hone the behavioural, technical and professional skills of the technicians.
"We do it in multiple forms — one-on-one training, on-field group training programmes, classroom training, telephone training etc," Holani said. The company, whose present focus is to educate its technicians, has made it mandatory that every technician should go through five types of training a month.
Holani points to the cancellation rates, which have come down from 50-60% at one point of time to 18% last month, as a significant impact. "As for the technician, on an average he would be able to make Rs 30,000-40,000 a month if he works with EasyFix alone," she added.
According to Debadutta Upadhyaya, CEO at Timesaverz, the company has been able to generate three to five times more income per month for the top-ten service providers across any category. Training sessions, which on an average are conducted at the rate of one in three months are also provided as and when new technologies keep coming in.
"If you look in to just repairs as a segment, they have to keep on skilling themselves because a lot of new technologies come in to play," said Upadhyaya. Training in installation of magnetic taps for plumbers, gas filling for AC mechanics, installation of kitchen units for carpenters who joined as assemblers — she rolls out a list of areas which necessitate skilling of labourers.
Many startups rely on vendors and outsource the upskilling task. "Any sort of training at the entry level where the blue-collar work force has to interact with the customer goes on a 'trainer-training' model where the supervisor will be trained and then he will train the boys," said Siddharth Gupta, head of marketing at AasaanJobs, a recruitment portal for blue-collared and entry-level white-collared workers. "It helps the business to scale, create best practices and best-standard operation procedures," he said.
However, Bengaluru-based One-TimeJobs has chosen to skill its workers under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna. Major Prashant Rai, the founder, sees an added benefit in it. "If you skill a workforce then there is a difference in the pay-packages they get. On top of that their credibility also increases, because to undergo training under this programme Aadhaar card and such details are required. So background verification also gets assured which would not happen if I depend on some vendor," he pointed out.
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