The Namakkal-based startup connects blue-collar workers to companies

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The SMB segment could be the biggest employer in India however, it frequently faces a hiring issue.

Businesses face difficulties when trying to retain and recruit employees, particularly employees with grey and blue collars. This affects the day-to-day operations of their companies since more energy and time is spent on human resources, rather than in other profitable tasks.

The Namakkal-based Kaigal which translates to “hands” in Tamil will provide assistance and help in solving the issue.

The company was established in 2019 in 2019 by Balamurugan Sundararajan Ravin Somi and the Senthil Natarajan family, this social venture is working to organize the blue-collar employment sector. The platform assists unskilled, entry-level and low-skilled workers to find better opportunities for employment and helps businesses locate and hire blue-collar employees.

The founders of the company completed their studies at PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore. The concept for this job search company came to the trio at the time Senthil Natarajan, Managing Director, KPN Farm Fresh, was struggling to recruit employees for the business and battling the resulting roadblocks in expansion plans.

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Senthil, who is from a family of businessmen Also, he spoke of family members and friends who were affected by this issue.

“This could be the trigger. It was possible to see a similar issue across multiple areas,” Balamurugan says.

The issue, Balamurugan claims, begins with the initial step of letting potential applicants be aware of vacancies within an organization. “There is no proper system for reaching out to the prospective employees.”

Businesses are forced to rely heavily on offline media like contractors and agents that focus on getting commissions. In the end, hiring turns into an agent’s market.

“Attrition in this segment is very high and the business tends to spend more time and money in finding new employees,” Balamurugan explains.

The problem, that they had to face in the first instance, inspired the group to come up with the solution that will provide an array of resources to companies.

“The solutions in the job market are all oriented to the white-collar jobs market,” Balamurugan explains. “When it comes to blue collar jobs, there is a need for a helping hand; candidates always go by some reference from people they know.”

Technology that allows businesses to run

The founders were crystal clear about they would use technology to address the issue of hiring delays.

“We wanted to create a communication medium but we did not want to go the traditional route of having an app,” he states.

Kaigal does have an application but it’s specifically targeted at cities with more technologically adept.

“From the beginning, we knew we cannot attract prospective employees through an app or a website,” Bala declares. “We wanted to build our communication medium using a social media platform being used by everybody, such as WhatsApp and Facebook.”

By using these as communication tools it engaged with potential candidates as well as MSMEs. It developed software to process the data , and then developed an automated system. Its AI software was developed to match profiles of candidates with job openings, while chatbots with multiple languages were utilized to use WhatsApp and Telegram to facilitate SME and candidate engagements.

From June through December of 2019 they conducted an experiment from June to December 2019 in Namakkal and Karur where they are famous for their textiles, egg production and the poultry industry and the bodybuilding lorry industry.

At the end of the trial they realized their initial hypothesis was true. Kaigal created its complete business model using Facebook and WhatsApp. WhatsApp route and Facebook route. The company operates on a commission-based basis, starting at just Rs 1,000 to hire one candidate. More than 22,000 candidates have been able to find jobs, and more than 1 lakh applicants have received interviews across Tamil Nadu using Kaigal, according to the company’s founder.

The challenge is to transition out of agency mode to agency

The goal was to attract companies, from small businesses that need an employee to sell, to large industries that need blue-collar workers as well as connecting them with people throughout Tamil Nadu.

Kaigal was looking to simplify the complicated hiring process, and also ensure the availability of constant good resources.

It wasn’t an easy task.

MSMEs depend heavily on consultants and agents to recruit and convincing them to join was among the most difficult problems, according to Balamurugan. “It took a little bit more time for them to trust us.”

When Kaigal began its journey into the Coimbatore market It sought out MSMEs through various associations such as Coimbatore District Small Industries Association Coimbatore SIDCO Industrial Estate Manufacturer’s Welfare Society and Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association. These associations aid in connecting with MSMEs and expand their customers base.

To attract job-seekers to the company, they focused on offline marketing strategies including putting advertisements on the back of buses. It also provided a missed-call option which included employees at the back of the office offering candidates a return call and creating their profile using the data.

“We were going to an unorganized sector. A majority of the people don’t have resumes or employment documents. We needed to create their records and create an inventory of resources within the database we have,” says Balamurugan.

In the event of receiving an order from a company the team utilizes AI in order to compare the request to an inventory of resources.

Balamurugan adds that this segment has a different issue, namely A lower ‘turn-up’ when compared to white collar workers.

For example If the job description is for a single job opening, the team will reach out to 20 applicants.

Balamurugan says they evaluate the level of enthusiasm of a candidate according to certain aspects such as how they react to messages and how often they contact the company. He says the prospecting of 20 candidates which means that just 30% are going to show to an interview.

The fact that they don’t have the proper documents for employment is another issue. They must work for an indefinite period within the company, and then are hired after.

“We needed to be clear with the companies that we’re not replacing their HR department. The way we do it is make people available for interviews,” Balamurugan says.

It has an 18-member team has more than 7,000 registered MSMEs as well as 1.7 lakh potential candidates on its database throughout Tamil Nadu.

Some of the clients for enterprise they work with include IFB, L&T Microfinance, Bigbasket as well as KPN Farm Fresh.

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