7 leading practices if your organization engages blue-collar professionals

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Best practices for engaging blue collar professionals-

The Indian business landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Technology is the driving force, seamlessly connecting consumers with professionals from the previously unorganized, or blue-collar sector. From care sharing platforms to food delivery services, these blue-collar professionals are the backbone of many modern businesses.

Who are Blue-Collar Professionals?

Blue-collar workers typically perform manual labor jobs and are often referred to as skilled or semi-skilled labor.  This diverse group encompasses a wide range of roles, including:

  • Drivers (taxi, delivery, truck)
  • Construction workers
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Security guards
  • Housekeeping and hospitality staff
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Logistics personnel
  • Mechanics
  • Welders
  • Painter
  • Carpenters
  • Tailors

The Challenge: Bridging the Gap

India’s blue-collar workforce constitutes a significant portion of the overall labor force, estimated to be around 450 million strong.  These professionals play a crucial role in driving economic growth across various sectors. From building infrastructure to delivering essential services, their contributions are undeniable.

While technology streamlines connections, unfortunately, many businesses struggle with one aspect while trying to offer this experience, i.e. to organize the unorganized, and to derive accountability, professionalism and high quality from their blue-collared staff, on-roll or off-roll.

Here’s why:

Limited Understanding

Businesses often lack experience in engaging blue-collar professionals, leading to a gap in understanding their motivations, aspirations, and skill sets.

Unfair Practices

Unfair business policies, such as low wages, unclear payment structures, and lack of benefits, can demotivate workers and lead to high turnover or poor service quality. This is a significant concern as the Indeed report (mentioned earlier) also highlighted a 7.4% increase in hiring for blue-collar jobs in India (2023). With this rising demand, businesses that struggle with retention will be at a disadvantage.

Lack of Training

A significant skill gap often exists, requiring investment in training programs specific to processes, technology, and soft skills.

The Consequences of Ineffective Management

The consequences of failing to address these challenges are multifaceted:

High Turnover: Dissatisfied workers are more likely to leave, increasing recruitment and training costs for businesses.

Poor Service Quality: Unmotivated or untrained workers can deliver subpar customer service, impacting brand reputation.

Safety Concerns: A lack of proper training can lead to safety hazards in some blue-collar jobs.

Operational Inefficiency: Untapped potential for productivity improvement can hinder business growth.

Know More: Optimizing Workforce with Blue Collar Verification

Best Practices for Engaging Blue Collar Professionals

For people who want to build a successful business that essentially gets fueled by professionals from the unorganized sector, here are seven tips on engaging with the professionals.

1. Use Aadhaar for trust and accountability (India specific)

Use Aadhaar, the unique and lifelong identity, not just for identity verification and establishment, but also as a foundation for other background checks. Aadhaar has now been issued to 138.08 Crore people in India, and since the 12-digit number does not change over an individual’s lifespan, if all professionals are verified and registered using one common network, Aadhaar helps in unification of “incidents” and “reputation” of professional, thus enhancing accountability.

2. Have fair business policies

The professionals from the blue-collared sector are smarter than what most people assume them to be. They have the ability to read through policies that are unfair to them. Eventually, you’ll lose them to competition, or the service delivery quality will suffer, if you have not modeled fair policies and you try to take them for a ride. 

And you’ll not get the policy right the first time. Iterate till you get it right. Have a little extra in the policy for them, as compared to your competition, and the returns on that ‘something extra’ will be non-linear.

3. Be open and transparent

Be very clear on the incentives/payouts. Give the professionals visibility using an app (or SMS/IVR if they don’t use apps) about their earnings. They will appreciate the transparency, and there will be no surprises or dissatisfaction when it comes to payments at the end of the cycle.

4. Train and train-more

The wide skill-gap can be bridged with continuous training covering the process, technology, and most importantly soft-skills. In order to avoid the problem of Chinese whispers, it’s important that the businesses make investment into a standard training video that can be disseminated digitally, and is constantly updated.

Thorough customer feedback should be collected, and passed on to the workers in the form of positive reinforcement. There is no substitute to learning from on-the-job mistakes. 

Finally, use every touch-point to train your staff, in the form of posters, banners, pocketbooks, standard automated outbound calls, text messages, etc. Couple all this with a random audit process. All yes, all of this should be in the local language!

5. Differentiated incentives

Professionals from the blue-collared segment have primarily worked on fixed pay (which many times is the same as minimum wages), and hence there is little motivation to enhance the delivery quality. Well defined and publicized differentiated incentives, that are linked to customer feedback/ratings, drive them to raise their game. 

A culture of meritocracy must be promoted while engaging with the blue-collared segment. Needless to say, you should have the flexibility to modify incentive models as you go along, depending on your business parameters.


Put yourself in their shoes, and see how you can help them in their daily lives w.r.t. benefits like healthcare, education for their children, savings, etc. This does not necessarily require you to make additional investments over and above the payments you make to them. 

Just help them navigate the complex Government system that already provides these benefits free of cost. Make them aware of any free or subsidized benefit disbursement touch-points; the government officer; maybe a neighbourhood NGO. 

Start with getting them to open a bank account to bring them into the mainstream economy. Make sure they get an Aadhaar, if they don’t have one already. Thorough documentation on identity and address also helps you pass on the trust to your customers.

7. Respect and appreciation

A sense of mutual respect is the key to getting the blue-collared staff completely clued into your business. This will also help prevent attrition. And appreciation works in a terrific manner. Make sure the appreciation is well publicized in the form of regular awards. Gamify the incentives and appreciation if possible to create healthy competition.


India’s booming economy relies on its skilled blue-collar workforce. Businesses that prioritize this crucial segment by offering competitive pay, clear career paths, and a culture of respect can unlock immense potential. By implementing the seven key practices outlined in this blog, organizations can attract top talent, boost productivity, and gain a competitive edge. It’s a win-win for both businesses and workers, leading to a more prosperous and inclusive future for the Indian economy.

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