Online grocer BigBasket is looking at gig work in a big way for the roles of delivery personnel because the model works well in blue-collar jobs where it is easy to establish a direct link between output and payout, according to HR Head TN Hari.
More than 95 per cent of BigBasket’s delivery staff in Bengaluru, where the firm is headquartered, work with the online grocer on a gig model, he added. The consumer internet company, in which the Tata Group has a majority stake, operates in 30 Indian cities has around 35,000 workers, a vast majority of whom are delivery personnel.
“Gig work is beneficial both to the company as well as the employee because it very clearly aligns incentives and payouts to performance. So, the better the performance of the individual, the more money the individual earns, and the company also benefits because more customers can get served,” he told Business Today.
Where that link is harder to establish, for instance in blue-collar warehousing jobs, the model doesn’t work well, he added.
Gig work is usually understood to mean that there is no employer-employee relationship. The worker gets paid for a specific job done during a specific period and is not entitled to benefits which full-time employees are.
As the increased acceptance for hybrid and flexible work during the pandemic has spurred discussions around gig work even in white-collar jobs, Hari says the model is more suited to new-age skills like digital marketing and website creation where work can be handed out to someone and output can be measured.
“One reason where a gig model is going to work in the white-collar jobs is when you cannot provide a career for particular skillsets in your organisation,” he said, adding that as more of these skills come into demand, more white-collar jobs will also move to the gig model where individuals will share their skills across multiple organisations.
“So many of these new-age skills are so specialised, that it's difficult to provide career paths to people. And yet companies need work of this kind to be done. So, gig work is working very well there," he said.
But in the absence of any other clear rules and laws around gig work, there are questions around the fairness of the model towards workers. Staffing and recruitment firm Randstad India in its Union Budget 2022 recommendations has outlined that “the government must usher in legislation that protects gig economy workers without allowing them to disrupt businesses. The social security provisions for the gig workers should be budgeted by central and state government funds without putting an additional burden on the employers”.
And BigBasket has earned a score of 4 out of 10 in Fairwork India 2021 annual study of work conditions of platform workers on digital platforms in India based on its performance under fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management and fair representation metrics.
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