Thursday, 24 September, 2020, BENGALURU, India

The staggering majority of Indian organisations are facing a workforce shortage says SHRM and Kronos study

Kronos Incorporated today announced the findings of a study, in partnership with the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in India, which found that a staggering 90% of Indian organisations are experiencing a workforce shortage – with more than 50% attributing this to quarantine and isolation policies, as well as temporary migration of labour.

The survey, conducted by SHRM and Kronos Incorporated – which will become UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) on 1 October following its merger with Ultimate Software – of 238 chief human resource officers and HR heads in July 2020 aims to highlight how employers can achieve the right balance between productivity and workforce costs while keeping employee health and safety as a key priority. The survey confirms that organizations have been incurring higher workforce costs both for remote and on-site employees, however, one third of respondents believe that this challenge can be mitigated through visibility into daily employee costs.

As working from home shapes the new normal, 44% believe that remote working policies will be a key enabler in the new normal and 55% feel that capturing employee availability and preferences will be a challenge.

News Facts

  • With historic levels of migrant labour transitioning away from cities, enterprises are faced with a severe labour shortage.
    • The vast majority (90%) of Indian organisations feel that they are experiencing a workforce shortage. Though respondents are split when it comes to the root cause of the shortage, with 56% attributing it to temporary migration of labour and 55% feel that quarantine and isolation norms are the key drivers.
    • Health-related absenteeism is a significant challenge, as one in four HR leaders attribute absenteeism as a factor to the workforce shortage.
  • The pandemic has resulted in two distinct groups of employees – the remote worker and workplace staff – both with different needs, challenges, and requirements.
    • For manufacturing1 organisations, the top three challenges for workplace staff centre around providing a safe workspace, with employee health and safety (69%), workplace sanitisation (62%), and implementing social distancing (61%) leading the way. For remote staff, the challenges are more around enabling productive working with access to technology and infrastructure (41%), employee health and safety (41%), and policies and workplace compliance (37%).
    • Similarly, for services organisations, employee health and safety (63%), workplace sanitization (54%), and implementing social distancing (62%) are the top challenges for workplace staff. In the case of remote workers, the focus is again around enabling productive working with workforce availability and utilisation (62%), access to technology and infrastructure (56%), and employee health and safety (53%) being the top concerns.
  • From the onset of COVID-19, firms have accelerated flexible work and employee health policy inclusions to attract and retain talent.
    • The majority (95%) of organisations see the need for a distinct set of policies for both workplace and remote staff and have either implemented them or are in the process of implementing the same.
    • Compared to 46% of services organisations that already have separate policies for their remote workers, only 28% of manufacturing organisations have distinct remote working policies. However, half of manufacturing organisations say they are actively in the process of implementing a remote working policy.
    • For organisations that have already implemented policies, most pertain to employee health and safety. For example, in the manufacturing sector, the primary workforce policies are around increased sanitisation and office hygiene (61%) and managing staggered breaks (48%). In the services sector, the primary workforce policies are implementing social distancing norms (66%) and sanitisation and office hygiene (63%).
  • Employee metrics such as productivity and absenteeism for remote and mission critical staff are undergoing a change in the ‘new normal’ of work.
    • More than half (68%) of HR leaders agree that productivity for remote staff has improved -- including 41% of service organisations and 31% of manufacturing organisations believe this productivity rise to be 10% or higher.
    • One third (33%) of manufacturing organisations confirmed that there has been a clear decline in productivity levels for the workplace staff.
  • Indian organisations are leveraging workforce management to improve resource planning and utilisation.
    • Respondent organisations, irrespective of industry, identify flexible work timings (manufacturing 63% and services 69%), a multi-skilled/flexible workforce (manufacturing 45% and services 54%), and rewards and incentives (manufacturing 52% and services 47%) as top measures towards improving workforce utilization and productivity.
    • More than 50% of organisations believe that workforce scheduling and staffing can be further automated, and 83% feel that increased automation in workforce management will positively impact employee perception of fairness and equity.

Supporting Quotes

  • Sumeet Doshi, country manager, India, Kronos
    “Since the onset of the pandemic, we have observed an unprecedented disruption to the workplace that has shifted how the workforce is being managed. Industries have sharpened their focus on employee health and safety through measures like staggered staffing, social distancing at the workplace, and contact tracing. The Kronos and SHRM ‘Workplace Reset’ survey is a great indicator of the current challenges being faced by Indian firms and provides a deep insight on how organisations are putting in place new measures to look after their workforce.”

Supporting Resources

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Kronos merged with Ultimate Software on April 1, 2020, to create one of the world’s most innovative HCM and workforce management companies. Visit Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works. 

About Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions, with more than 51 million people records in the cloud. Ultimate’s award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labor management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Founded in 1990, Ultimate is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and employs more than 6,000 professionals. To learn more, visit Ultimate Software: People First. Beginning on October 1, 2020, Kronos and Ultimate together will be known as UKG.

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today’s evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. For more information about SHRM, visit