Mahindra Logistics

Covid Impact: Logistics sector witnesses an upsurge in hiring of the frontline workers

Chitrali Ghatak in conversation with Mr. Edwin Lobo, Senior General Manager - Human Resources, Mahindra Logistics.In the midst of doctors, medical staff, policemen etc, who often go unnoticed among the frontline warriors are the employees in the logistics sector. Be it the delivery of oxygen cylinders, medical equipment or medicines, the staff in the logistics sector are currently fighting a battle with time and with the pandemic. Hence the demand for these frontline workers in logistics is witnessing a surge.
Logistics industry leaders also agreed that hiring has been on an upward trajectory in the sector since it comprises frontline workers whose demand has peaked during the Covid crisis. They said that many roles in the sector have become location-agnostic owing to the ongoing pandemic situation leading to the availability of a larger talent pool to tap.
Hiring has seen momentum in the logistics sector
Discussing the hiring trends in the logistics sector, Edwin Lobo, Senior General Manager - Human Resources, Mahindra Logistics, said, “Hiring has seen momentum in roles pertaining to warehousing operations, transportation, automation, vendor management and various roles specific to managing e-commerce operations.”
“At Mahindra Logistics, we have been focusing on diversity and inclusion-based hiring from diverse talent pools like persons with disabilities (speech and hearing impaired and partial locomotor), the LGBTQ community, second careers for women and armed forces veterans under the VEER (Veteran Employment, Engagement and Retention) Programme,” Lobo said.
While agreeing that hiring trends vary across specific seasons in the logistics sector, Rajendra Ghag, CHRO, Blue Dart, said, “However, a hiring trend that is taking over is the ability to assess a candidate’s capability as they work remotely from their homes. Employers would want to hire individuals who would easily be able to adapt to the need of the hour which is digitization and technology, to help boost employee productivity.”
“In frontline positions, attributes such as presentability, customer orientation and communication play an important role. Vacancies are open and available across functions to recruit freshers as well as lateral hires who are prepared to do what it takes to live up to the gold standard that is synonymous with Blue Dart,” Ghag added.
Lateral versus freshers
Mentioning that there is no generic hiring strategy as it differs across functions, Ghag said, “The focus this year, very much like the last, would be on understanding how a candidate is able to work in the highly volatile environment that the pandemic has created.”
“Our hiring strategy for the last year has put the spotlight on increasing our talent pool to include a diverse set of individuals who will in turn help us tap into a wider customer demographic as well. At Blue Dart, fresher hiring is at 64 per cent and lateral hires pegged at 36 per cent,” Ghag added.
Lobo, Mahindra Logistics, said, “With the second Covid wave in effect, the hiring strategy will revolve around optimising internal talent for existing opportunities and sourcing talent externally if talent to fill the vacant positions are not available within the organisation. MLL has a robust internal job posting mechanism wherein the available opportunities are published and employees get to apply for such positions based on their career aspirations.”
He further said that Mahindra Logistics currently has an internal fill ratio of 25 per cent.
“While we continue to virtually onboard talent and many of our roles have become location agnostic for lateral roles, there is a higher focus on campus recruitments to support our growing business needs. This allows us to fuel a pipeline of talent at junior – mid levels including Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities wherein our warehouses can operate,” he added.
On the share of full-time employees, Lobo said, “The hiring percentage of full-time employees is approximately 14 per cent.”
Providing options for working from home
Speaking about how employees working out of corporate offices are leveraging remote work, Lobo said, “At MLL, we are currently working on an encompassing work from home policy which will address the operational needs of the business and maintain a flexible work-life balance of the employees. Rotation of shifts and having teams work for lesser days on-site are a few options available for the teams working in warehouses.”
Emphasizing on the importance of organisational support during these crucial times, Ghag said, “It is important to feel supported during this time and deal with these emotions in a positive manner. Blue Dart provides support in the form of an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that aims to provide free counselling support to positively overcome any challenges that the Blue Darters may face in their personal and professional life.”
Cities in focus
Bringing to light the cities in focus, for hiring, Ghag said, “We have access to over 35,000 locations in India and our employees are present in every major city, town, and village in the country. Therefore, our hiring is focused on large cities, as well as Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.”
Lobo concluded by saying, “In 2021, there is a focused approach in hiring talent from campus recruitments in Tier-2 or Tier-3 cities owing to our large scale operations across cities.”
This article was first published in, May 2021
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