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Hi Cite HR Team. Recently, I got a job for a manufacturer company and I have experience only of white-collar employees.

Does anyone suggest or help me that how to deal with blue-collar employees?

How to arrange employee engagement activities for them and how to resolve their disputes or issues.

Thanks & Regards,

From India, Lucknow

HR is HR, it is applicable to everyone.

Blue collar workers have all the same issues as white collar workers, pay, leave, conditions etc.

As to how to deal with them, try respect, and listening to what they have to say to start with, and everything will be fine.

From Australia, Melbourne

Actually, John
I will disagree with you. The problems of dealing with Workers in india are very different from dealing with officer employees. Their demands, expectations, problems, attitude are mostly very different from those in office jobs.

However, I wonder why employers taken in completely clueless people to be HR when they know nothing of the job

From India, Mumbai

Saswata, Happy for you to disagree :-) Your explanation helps improve my knowledge as I like to learn. Thank you.
From Australia, Melbourne

Dear Banerjee,

I think that in the backdrop of her past experience and her present place of work as a HR manager, Ms.Bhavana's doubt is quite natural and genuine.

In any labor-intensive manufacturing industry, the problems relating to IR are distinctly different in scale and substance due to many reasons such as repetitive and continuous nature of work, employment accident proneness, defiant attitude of workmen to change, their socio-economic background, lack of promotional avenues, personal habits which can affect efficiency in the longer run, unionization based on political ideologies, lack of internal grievance mechanism in the organization and the like.

Therefore, the job of a HR in any manufacturing industry is always more demanding. He should be very adept in industrial and social psychology so as to solve occasional bliffs which can result in concerted work stoppage to corrective actions of behavioral issues affecting shop floor discipline apart from his regular statutory compliance works. This requires a high degree of rapport with functional heads and top level managers of different departments like finance, R&D and outside stakeholders like labor-supply contractors, trade union leaders, Government agencies like Factories Inspectorate, EPFO, ESIC etc. He should take a proactive approach in workers' education programs and always very tactful in bringing the Labor problems to the notice of the higher ups in a positive manner and be able to be persuasive in arriving at amicable solutions to such problems. He should always keep himself abreast of amendments to all the Labor Laws applicable to the industry.

In short, the HR manager of a labor-intensive industry has to effectively play his role in balancing the interests of both the management and the Labor failing which his job would become a thankless one.

From India, Salem

Dear Bhawana Singh,

Your query is very valid and you need to make some adjustments in dealing with blue collar workmen.

Having seen the industry for over four decades, I wish to say things have changed a lot for the better in the recent times.

Strikes have come down, employee engagement has gone up, literary levels of work men have improved to name a few.

Blue collar employees have an abrupt way of saying things. Sometimes their habits outside the factory may not be desirable and may need counselling. Most of them are good at heart. A patient listening and a diplomatic approach would be a good bet.

I am sure you will do well in your new assignment. Wish you all the best.

V Raghunathan. Chennai

From India

I am limiting myself to the employee engagement aspect raised in your query. It needs to be clearly understood that Employee Engagement is not a series of gimmiks like picinic, outing, office party or some other social enjoyment. Particularly since it is blue collar workers it is a lot significant. One of the important aspect in such work situation is the team work. Here output of every body is an input to some body, so there is a contnuous need to integrate the performance of employees in the direction of organisational objectives. So there has to be a continuous updation on the organisational goals and targets and spread the idea on how each one is contributing to it.
For instance quality has to be ingrained in all and in every operation in manufacturing activities. The 6 Sigma standard doesn't afford any slackness, so you need to create and spread the message of quality. Reward and encourage employees, invigorate suggestion scheme, quality circle, lean manufacturing etc.
Most white collar jobs are an end in itself, it doesn't impact the work of majority of others. The blue collar workers are different from white collar since they are more organised, work together for most of the time in the day and they relate to each other well, they are emotionally sensitive.
The basic HR skills which were used in white collar set up again are relevant but the focus has to change.

From India, Mumbai
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