Companies will leverage emerging technologies to attract and retain the right talent: Indrani Chatte

Companies will leverage emerging technologies to attract and retain the right talent: Indrani Chatte

The top leadership in the Logistics industry needs to be receptive to the fact that full-time employees alone cannot ensure the completion of work.


Although the blending of workforces (full-time, part-time, contingent, bots, in-office, remote, etc.) is not a new trend, it has gained new momentum following the COVID-19 pandemic. Which roles in the Logistics industry are best performed by full-time employees, and which are better suited to contingent talent? Do you foresee certain full-time jobs veering into non-traditional domains?


Traditional work policies and existing work models have been phenomenally realigned since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic around a year ago. HR leaders, along with the rest of the leadership team in the organisation, are driving organisational changes to access specialised talent and plug skill deficiencies in core functional areas. And the Logistics industry is not an exception to this emerging trend. From a conventional perspective, the Logistics domain would require full-time employees to work on roles like sales, customer support etc. that require regular face-to-face client interaction.



However, in the current environment, an arrangement can be worked out whereby 70% of the sales workforce comprises full-time employees and 30% part-time employees. Workforce combinations would depend on the need and business requirements. Likewise, other functional areas like Operations, Human Resource, Finance, Administration and IT can operate in a hybrid model of full-time employees plus part-time employees. Within sub-domains of major domains, there can be a combination of full-time and contingent workforces depending on the needs and the business cycle. Another workforce model is the combination of people working from remote locations and from offices. And even here, it is evident that future business models would comprise a combination of remote working and in-office working.


The pre-pandemic war for talent and the pandemic-triggered acceleration of digital transformation across organisations is further bound to enhance the scarcity of talent. How do you believe the Logistics sector will rise to this challenge of talent scarcity? Do you think the pandemic will transform the manner in which talent is acquired and onboarded?


The Logistics sector was already witnessing the digitalisation of core processes and practices in the pre-pandemic phase. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the transformation of logistics towards a new digital normal. There is no reason to believe that there will be talent scarcity in the Logistics sector in India which is presently growing at an exponential pace. However, there can be a scarcity in the core competencies required to perform the jobs impacted by digital transformation. This will require continuous upskilling and reskilling of the existing workforce resources to make them more compatible with the changes.


Going forward, workplaces will deploy an array of advanced digital tools to drive the entire process end to end. Companies will leverage emerging technologies to attract and retain the right talent. Talent Acquisition strategies will focus on assessing what makes a candidate a good fit for the new-age technology. To cite an instance, a candidate might be assessed on his ability to present himself through the digital platform during an interview. Going forward, this may become a key competency required for certain roles while hiring.



In light of the pandemic, it has been witnessed that organisations are hiring CXO-level talent on an on-demand basis. What are the pros and cons of such an engagement in the Logistics industry?


The Logistics industry, as a whole, is not a structured industry. However, hiring for CXO and board-level positions has been on a higher trajectory in the Logistics industry over the last 2-3 years. An increasing number of qualified senior professionals from a cross-section of industries comprising FMCG, consumer durables, telecom have been joining the Logistics industry in C-Suite positions. The Logistics industry, globally and in India, is a sunrise sector driving a huge talent movement from sectors that are in the sunset phase or have attained saturation.


Such a leadership talent is increasingly experienced, more process-driven, encourages experimentation and implements best practices for steering the Logistics sector on a high-growth curve. Such a thing is definitely a positive and a good trend. Leaders at the CXO-level will not require a prolonged gestation period for learning crucial skills and expertise needed to implement tasks in a seamless manner. They may take a certain amount of time and effort to adapt to the workings and culture of the Logistics industry.



In developing a blended workforce, do you believe that the senior leadership is required to bring about a mindset shift within the company that full-time employees alone cannot ensure the completion of work/projects? If yes, how can leadership channelise such a mindset change within an organisation in your industry?



Different industries including Logistics are witnessing the emergence of the blended workforce model in the pandemic phase. The top leadership in the Logistics industry needs to be receptive to the fact that full-time employees alone cannot ensure the completion of work. Organisations will need to make full-time employees realise that additional support provided by part-time or contingent workforces is imperative for the timely execution of projects.


Though a blended workforce is important, it can become cumbersome when new talent forces in the form of part-time or contingent workers are recruited and need to be trained all over again. If a company has an agreement that a set of people will perform their duties every year and builds a relationship with third-party consultants and candidates, the job becomes easier. Companies need to foster a paradigm shift among full-time employees to make them understand that a blended workforce is not a one-off phenomenon but an operational requirement providing organisations with the requisite competitive edge.



Employee eXperience (EX) has been typically associated with full-time employees and often goes unaddressed for other workforce segments. With non-traditional talent becoming an increasingly important source of competitive advantage, how can organisations deliver optimal EX for them?



When we talk of Employee Experience, it has to be uniform across the organisation. People cannot be treated on the basis of nature of their jobs. To cite an instance, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, commonly referred to as the POSH Act does not discriminate between full-time and part-time women employees and aims at providing a safe, secure and productive environment free from sexual harassment to women.



Employees working in a part-time or full-time capacity can become the brand ambassadors of the company and communicate the company values and culture to the outside world. Workforces with the optimal employee experience feel a deeper connect with the company mission and vision. By prioritising the wellness of part-time employees, companies can provide an enabling ecosystem for them to bolster their productivity and performance. Not only employees, but even the support staff of companies also need to be treated with due respect and dignity. This can help in building a diverse and inclusive workplace ecosystem that spurs employees to perform to their optimum best.


With older talent rejoining work post their retirement, we are witnessing a more age-diverse workforce than ever before. How can organisations foster intergenerational collaboration and cohesion given the different types of work arrangements (from full-time to freelance) and work models (from remote to hybrid)?



Modern workplaces have a varied mix of multi-generational workforces made up of employees from Baby Boomers to Gen Z. It is the responsibility of employees belonging to the diverse generations to work very closely. It will not merely suffice to say that the younger generation should adjust with the senior workforces and vice-versa. The challenge here is ensuring teamwork and accepting the core competencies of each generation.



Leveraging the specific skillsets and specialisations of each generation will be pivotal to achieving organisational aims and objectives. The industry has become a melting pot for a multi-generational workforce with an increasing number of people coming into the talent market. Employees are ready to work for a further 5-8 years after retirement. This is a good trend as companies can make optimum use of their knowledge base. It is up to the younger generation to get the knowledge from their senior team members and blend it with their core competencies be it in the automation or digital domain.


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