A time and motion study conducted by the author as a part of a Six Sigma Project gave the following results. For employees who are mapped into a system login/ logout time and utilisation mapped to the last minute the overall maximum work efficiency obtained was at 67 per cent. For employees in desk roles with system access being 10 to 20 the overall efficiency obtained was at 45 per cent max. In line manufacturing setups the efficiency numbers stood at 77 per cent.

This clearly demonstrates that for the old model of setting up a huge office and workspace, investing millions — the efficiency numbers in the best possible scenario would never cross 60 per cent averaged out. Flexibility in location and work hours is already being offered by many progressive companies, the next step obviously will be variable pay-outs directly prorated to delivery. The on demand model is now being extended to talented resources, and is the only way forward for the IT and services industries to move up the value chain and survive.

We have already seen multiple employees being laid off by corporates due to under-utilisation. The problem clearly is not with the resources but their engagement contracts. Using flexible resources will give businesses the edge in delivery and an agile trimmed workforce. The workers — the good ones will realise that delivery is what brings them recognition and cash.

Currently these practices are being experimented by about 10 per cent of the top companies and this is the right time for students to specialise in one particular domain and be ready for 2018 and thereafter. The entire landscape is ready for a huge change and thus not only will the cost of hiring an employee become negligible, which today stands at about 30 per cent of annual salary, but the more painful part- hiring time will come down from 45 days minimum to five days or less—a dream for every HR head today.

Hidden costs for full time workers stand at about six to 12 per cent of the HR budgets and this is noted by finance but does not provide much weightage for a recruiter and the young employee who would rather prefer cash. The other benefit is access to talent with a twist- those opting might already be employed elsewhere and doing a fabulous job, once credibility is established. You may as well go and approach the person whose work you are using for reference. This would also allow you to access senior or experienced resources without the cost impact. The millennials have now surpassed generation X workers and have become the next workforce where HR strategies should be focussed towards. And the biggest differentiator is the impact of mobility on their process and their understanding of automation.

Branded theoretical education no longer carries weight and for many roles delivery focus is being noted. Hence a student who graduates in 2017 – 18 will have to immediately face the reality of a connected world, mapped, measured and managed by IT tools. Irrespective of any domain you may be graduating from, basics of computing and IT fundamentals and proficiency in excel, word and power point will certainly get you hired. Another domain where vast changes has happened in the last three years is social media, as we have clearly seen the old marketing roles becoming redundant and the online platforms becoming the new norm. Henceforth, be prepared for more contractual roles coming and we can certainly look at 50 per cent of the workforce in most industries employed through alternate channels.

The writer is vice chancellor, Rama University.