Riding the wave of internet adoption, E-commerce companies are facing new challenges with their talent scenario. Building skills and competencies in the workforce, harbouring a warm culture, and optimising a workforce of permanent, gig and contractual workers is the need of the hour.
About eight months ago, the world as we know faced an unprecedented challenge – the coronavirus. The impact of the virus extended to almost all industries, be it manufacturing, entertainment, IT, or recruitment. A considerable portion of the workforce witnessed layoffs, salary cuts, and other losses. However, at the same time, a few industries, such as e-commerce, observed a spike in business like never before. With social distancing and staying at home becoming the better thing to do, consumers have turned to internet businesses to fulfill their needs, from delivery of essential goods, medicines, and food delivery to online classes and consultations. In these testing times, the true mettle of this industry shone through. An increase in the customer base has brought about a need for efficient hiring for these companies. Hiring numbers, roles, and relevance in the current way of working are being challenged and will go over a complete re-haul in the next 12 months. To capitalize on future potential, internet businesses should utilize this time to devise new strategies for creating a talent pipeline that meets the needs of today and is well prepared to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Here are the three things startups need to keep in mind going forward – skills, culture, and seasonality.
As the internet businesses have evolved, so have its talent needs. In the early stages of e-commerce, companies hired individuals based on the potential. Today the industry has grown, roles and responsibilities are much more defined, the job roles have become structured, and most of the recruitment is done for specific skills, such as customer support, warehouse management, etc. Having said that, the unabated technology advancements and its requirements will ensure that this industry remains dynamic and talent needs to keep shifting as per the changing marketplace. For instance, there will be a greater need for talent in the field of data analytics, AI, etc., from now on. The e-commerce companies will need to hire those who are willing to wear multiple hats and agile. During the pandemic, companies witnessed the need for adaptable employees who switched from one role to another when the need arose. As we advance, companies will emphasize building a liquid workforce, and there will be a need for digitally dexterous multi-tasking and agile employees. Companies need to invest time and resources in upskilling and reskilling their existing employees through training programs for internal talent development. This would encourage internal talent transfer instead of hiring new employees for different functions. However, the upskilling and reskilling investment should focus on the priority actions and products that will benefit the business. Building critical skills and competencies in employees will keep you ahead in the game and help you with cost optimization, culture building, and employee retention.
That brings me to the next point – one of the biggest challenges that recruiters in e-commerce are wrestling with now is the reluctance of talent to move. While the demand for talent has soared in e-commerce, there is also a problem with candidate acceptance; the candidates think that the economy is in chaos and would not like to take the leap unless they find the status quo unstable. Amid the disruption of the workplace with the rise of remote working and hybrid models, it is essential for internet companies to define and highlight their company culture and not only adopt COVID-friendly work practices but also invest in enhancing the employee experience. Policy changes to ensure employee mental and physical well-being, availability of expanded career options, and growth chart and improved engagement will be necessary to attract and retain talent in the future.
The talent needs in e-commerce keep changing as per the changing customer demands. Typically, e-commerce teams have a large base of low-skilled workers and currently, e-commerce is leading the demand for the hiring of blue-collar workers because of the festive months of Q3. The ability to ramping up and down talent is crucial for startups. The gig economy has found a useful role in the internet business, as companies look for temporary blue-collar workers during festive season rush, sale days, etc. Companies need to develop a diverse workforce: permanent members for day to day operations and a gig or contractual employees for seasonal demands. Internet businesses have a significant requirement for low-skilled workers. Roles in sales, sales support, and administration usually require a large taskforce but do not need highly skilled employees. E-commerce companies can partner with government-backed various skill development institutes that for the hiring needs.
The next few months will push the companies to sustain with limited resources. They must move towards cost optimization by sourcing strategically and reducing the initial attrition rate, time to fill positions, etc. These goals can be achieved by adopting new talent strategies for the modern world. Partnering with a recruitment expert would be imperative to beat the recruitment challenges in the post-pandemic world.
“taggd, a peoplestrong Recruitment Solutions brand, is India’s leading Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider with 100+ clients across 14+ sectors and managing permanent talent recruitment for over half a million jobs. Taggd combines the power of data and human knowledge to bring advanced talent acquisition and digital hiring (RPO) solutions that change how businesses work and deliver. Over the years, Taggd has developed business understanding, recruitment expertise, talent network access, data intelligence, and access to a robust tech stack to deliver business gains.” Taggd has helped internet businesses such as Swiggy and OYO build competitive advantage, by leveraging a superior talent acquisition strategy.