SkillConnect from BetterPlace: Digitally transforming blue-collar employment in India

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BetterPlace is on a mission to help move 450 million people from informal to the formal economy by using technology.  Following the launch of SkillConnect, their online platform to facilitate hiring of skilled workforce, we spoke with Saurabh Tandon, Co-Founder and COO at BetterPlace to learn about how their current focus in impacting the evolving blue-collar ecosystem in India. Through this Skill Story, let’s get started by acquainting ourselves with the SkillConnect platform and its significance in India.

Q: Tell us about SkillConnect, your latest initiative in using digital technologies for connecting the industry with other stakeholders.

A: SkillConnect is our latest initiative that we launched a few weeks back. It is a demand-driven platform to help the skilling ecosystem meet the demands of the industry when it comes to placing the skilled manpower. We are already seeing a demand for 19 Lakh jobs based on the initial data for next 12 months, and this is expected to go to 2 crore by December 2019 with additional jobs being fed into the platform. From the supply side, we have 22 lakh candidate profiles on the platform, and this is expected to go to 1crore in the next 6 months.

Q: Formalising the informal sector through digital intervention: how does Betterplace impact in this area through digital onboarding of employees etc.

A: Traditionally, this segment has been very unorganised, and the adoption of technology has been low. We help make your complete workforce management frictionless, covering Sourcing, HR Onboarding, Compliance and Payroll. As an employer, you are cutting your operational cost by 8-10%, in addition to the huge savings on time-to-market. Also, the insights from the data help the organisation become more proactive and better prepared. On the other hand, the employee gets benefitted by skilling, placement, and financial services like loans, insurance, etc. We onboard ~10,000 people on a daily basis.

Q: How is screening and verification is important in workforce lifecycle management process and its effect on employment and attrition?

A: In today’s world, verification is a hygiene factor. Three years ago, before we had disrupted this space, it was just a checklist item because the processes were not effective, and the cost was high. Today, it is one of the best ROI measures for risk mitigation. Having said that, it should be seen as a trust-building measure, because your focus is on the guys whom you want to retain for long. We perform ~10 lakh checks per month.

SkillConnect BetterPlace Saurabh TandonQ: How are you facilitating a dialogue between the demand and supply through industry and other stakeholder engagement

A: It’s a digital platform. Employers mention the skills they need, along with the projections – how many, where and when. This when aggregated at the country level, provides a good idea of the demand. NSDC, SSC and the State Skill Development Missions would use this data to plan the supply. Meanwhile, Training Partners would be able to make their existing candidates available on the platform. Employers can meet the shortlisted candidates for the interview at the sourcing hubs for hiring purpose.

Many industries in the services sector are growing at a rate of 15-20% and they are looking for skilled manpower to fuel their growth. They are dependent on people to grow. Making the right people available is a big win for them. It helps our rural youth get jobs. More importantly, the platform helps align the supply with the demand, which means industry gets their people and youth get more jobs.

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SkillConnect Free Subscription!

To get access, you can visit https://www.skillconnect.in, and you can also get in touch with my colleague Mohit Sharma ( mohit.sharma@betterplace.co.in | 9871483905). We are giving FREE Subscription for a very limited period of time on the occasion of India Skills 2018 event. Please quote #IndiaSkills2018 as the coupon code.

Q: What are the industries that you have covered in the platform?

A: We are a technology platform; therefore, we are sector agnostic. But having said that, there are sectors like logistics, transportation, security guarding, facility management, on-demand services, etc where we are witnessing a shortage of people.

Q: In the absence of a central database for the labour force in India, your platform should be very useful for the government and employers. How does it actually work?

A: Yes. We can say that we are the LinkedIn for the blue-collared. We have 60+ lakh individuals onboarded into the platform. Unlike other open job portals or service platforms, the information we have is authentic and verified, and not self-reported. Using Data Science and Machine Learning, we have a deep understanding of the individual based on 200+ verified data points that include indicators like demographics, skilling, employment, training, salary range, etc. This helps map the right opportunities and services to the individual.

Q: How can candidates use the platform to find jobs?

A: We will be launching our candidate app soon where someone can download our app and get on-boarded onto our platform. They can mention their preference for roles and location. Once they are on the platform, they become discoverable by employers, and our platform helps connect the two sides – including, enabling, conducting an interview, rolling out job offers and on-boarding them at the employer end. If they are unskilled, they can also get skilled via our network of NSDC – accredited training partners, as well as by using our digital learning modules that are aligned for the role as per National Occupational Standard (NOS), so that they are skilled for the job, thus increasing the chances of employment drastically.

Q: How do you facilitate skill-based training through your platform?

A: We have our learning app with 400+ modules based on National Occupational Standard (NOS). They are small bite-sized and made interesting in a storyboard format with visuals, video, voice-over, etc. We have found it to be very engaging with our segment. This is complementary to the skilling provided by the Training Partners because it includes soft skills and brand etiquette. It is important because most of the jobs that are in demand today involve customer interaction.

Q: How can one gain access to the platform and will you be expanding to add more features so jobs/employers can be filtered based on requirements etc.

A: Absolutely. We are big on innovation and will continuously work to make the platform better for our customers. We have the basic version already live, and we are currently working to roll out some premium features for the employer like managed hiring services, etc. We are also working on adding features for our training partners to help monetise their under-used capacity.

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