Recruiting and managing informal sector workers in India has proven to be a difficult task for many employers across India. In spite of this, recent interviews with Bangalore employers show that there are ways to engage with and keep informal sector workers happy during their employment.  A few easy steps can help build a positive relationship between employer and employee, leading to higher retention rates and therefore lower HR costs.
Team_High_FiveThe informal sector is a significant force and major target of employment and earnings, representing over 80% of the labour market in India (International Labour Organization, 2009). This includes jobs such as data entry, BPO, drivers, maid positions and many more.  In spite of the size and importance of this sector, the majority of these workers do not enjoy a traditional employer-employee relationship.

In fact, employers report that workers are likely to quickly lose interest or become dissatisfied with their work, can have trouble maintaining industry standards or communicating effectively in the workplace.

This is bound to occur due to two main reasons. The first is that informal sector workers are deprived of training, personal development and appropriate human retargets programs. The second is that a large portion of the informal workers go through recruitment agencies and therefore are not likely to build strong relationships with their employers.

In order to overcome this problem, employers need to remember to:


1.       Manage their expectations during the recruitment process

Informal workers tend to be nervous and shy during the recruiting process. Many informal workers miss out on their chance to secure employment during the interview process. As they tend to be extremely nervous and shy, they do not perform as well as they could during the interview. Additionally, they have a difficult time showcasing their personality through a formal interview process.


Sachin Mahesh, the manager of JUSTA hotels in Bangalore, advises that employers “adapt and make informal workers comfortable”. In order to gage the true nature of a candidate during an interview, employers should first try to break the ice and build rapport by having a casual conversation with the candidate and only then asking specific interview questions. That way, they are more likely to understand how the candidate will behave if they are hired.


2.       Look for the right attitude rather than the right skill

The informal sector does not prepare workers to portray their skills in a positive, confident fashion. Employers who have been successful in hiring and managing informal workers note that as long as the candidate has willingness to learn and a clear desire to be a loyal employee, they can see past the potential of a candidate. As Sachin highlights: “A candidate has to come with the will and I’ll give him the skill.”

To identify if someone has the right attitude, employers should look for a willingness to learn, a curiosity about the industry and the type of job advertised, as well as a responsible attitude.



 3.      Provide in house-training

In order to manage the attitude of the employees and ensure informal workers remain engaged in their position and satisfied with their job, employers should provide professional development opportunities. One way to fulfill this is to run in-house training programs. These programs can run at least monthly, but ideally more often than that. Running a series of workshops or trainings could involve topics such as how to interact with customers, how to write emails, how to use the Internet, as well as job-specific training.

These three steps can increase an employer’s rate of success in hiring and managing the best workers.


This blog post was contributed by the Babajob team.  If you have any other tips, please feel free to share them with us at