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Chandrika Pasricha’s Flexing It: Flexible Working=Maximum Job Satisfaction, Optimum Value!

CASE STUDY, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 14 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Chandrika Pasricha’s Flexing It: Flexible Working=Maximum Job Satisfaction, Optimum Value!

 

“The myth about a full-time or a company job is vanishing. People have to take charge of their careers. Companies will not.”

-- Chandrika Pasricha, Founder-CEO, Flexing It Services Pvt. Ltd.

 

“Freelancers provide “the right talent for the right task at the right time.”

-- Daniel H. Pink, Author of Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself

 

“There is one right way to manage people – or at least there should be.”

-- Peter F. Drucker

 

In September 2014, Chandrika Pasricha (Chandrika), Founder-CEO of Flexing It Services Pvt. Ltd. (Flexing It), a New Delhi-based flexible staffing firm, suitably described the workforce evolution that is currently underway. She wrote in her blog, “Much like the tectonic plates whose shifting can lead to the creation of new land-masses and mountains, we are seeing shifts in the way companies and professionals think about and organize work that is leading to the creation of a new industry and ecosystem – one that revolves around a freelance workforce and the services needed to make them productive.”

Tiding over some of the initial challenges such as having the right team in place, Flexing It has completed more than 2 years of its entrepreneurial journey. The business is based on an interesting new trend in HR – flexible staffing – which is gradually emerging as an important business strategy. What prompted Chandrika to initiate her business in this new trend in HR? The success of Chandrika’s e-business in this field reflects the trends in India Inc.’s HR landscape. Does crafting one’s own work portfolio result in better job satisfaction? What are the impending HR challenges that may arise out of hiring flexible workers?............

Chandrika’s Flexing It: Consulting to Co-Creation

Chandrika’s Consulting Career

Chandrika completed her MBA in 1997 from IIM Bangalore and started her career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company (McKinsey). During her 15 years association with McKinsey, Chandrika worked both in India and in the US, her consulting assignments primarily focused on healthcare. In 2007, Chandrika quit as a regular consultant but continued working with McKinsey as an external consultant...........

Entrepreneurial Options

Chandrika decided to turn entrepreneur after almost 15 years in her consulting career, guided by two factors – “On one hand, my own experience of being an independent consultant made me realize that there was a total white space with regards to structures to connect the demand and supply of short-term, flexible skills in India. I felt that this was a huge opportunity and a market segment that would only grow as both professionals and companies start to look at work differently.......

The New Concept of Work: Crafting Your Work Portfolio

Flexi-working and Flexible Working

The word freelancer originally connoted a warrior, in the medieval times, who brought his own lance to fight a battle. He did not represent any banner but offered his services to various groups of fighters. Similarly, in current times, an increasing number of professionals are pursuing their career independently and freelancing has become a global trend...............

Trends in Flexible Working

Globally, the online work industry, which is a part of the freelance economy, was estimated at $2 billion in 2014 and is expected to increase to $5 billion by 2018, registering a CAGR of more than 25%.

As per an estimate from Freelancers Union10, in the US, the number of independent workers increased from 10.3 million in 2005 to 42 million in 2013.11 According to a report from Accenture, in the US, nearly 20%–33% of the workforce comprises of the freelancers...............

Demographics behind Flexible Working

Chandrika explains that, “Contrary to popular belief, flexible working is almost equally sought after by both men and women – almost 60% of our registered user base is men. Geographically, professionals in metros are typically more open to flexible working given better availability of options in terms of opportunities though we have started to see an increase in professionals from tier 2/3 towns as well...............

Organizations Opting for Flexible workers

Among various organizations, startups show a higher affinity for flexible working. In a survey by Flexing It, 60% of the respondents said that ‘hiring the right team’ was their biggest business challenge. A startup by virtue of being young and small often does not have the requisite funds to hire people with domain expertise permanently. However, this domain expertise is needed not only in developing products and services but also for ratifying the fledgling business’s strategies.............

The Report Card on Flexible Working (Myths and Realities)

Researchers opine that the trend in favor of flexible working is due to commercial and personal advantages that accrue to individuals and organizations respectively. It is also due to the enabling business, economic, technological and social environment (Exhibit V). As per a report titled Flexibility drives Productivity, 72% of the respondent businesses opined that increased productivity was a direct outcome of flexible working................

Flexing It: Selectively Flexible?

The Journey of Flexing It

Flexing It started in the early 2012 and its website went live in October 2012. Chandrika tossed up her initial business model with the relevant stakeholders. When the plan was still in its conceptual stage, she discussed with friends, family and colleagues to get their critical feedback. Once the basic plan was ready, she took the suggestions of select mentors and advisors on execution of the plan............

Flexing It: Business Model

Flexing It’s work portfolio features project-based work, consulting arrangements, part-time functional roles such as part-time CFO or part-time CMO for a defined number of working days in a week and hours in a day........

Key Challenges

Chandrika faced several challenges in her entrepreneurial journey. She reminisces “When I started out, it was all about getting the foundations in place – I was doing everything myself, ranging from figuring out how to register a company, to developing the business model, to reaching out to companies and testing the idea.” One of the key challenges was getting the right team that could align itself with Flexing It’s ideology and objectives and had a sense of ownership for the organization..........

The New Paradigm of Skills and Work: Building a New Mandate?

The nature of freelancer jobs has evolved over the years. Earlier, freelancer jobs related to data entry, simple coding and simple tech jobs. However, freelancing is no longer restricted to creative, design and information technology sectors. It has advanced in the value chain. Freelancers can also now be seen in line functions (core functions) such as sales and marketing, strategy and business development...............

Flexible Working and HR Departments: Opportunistic to Strategic?

Earlier, there was a social stigma associated with freelancing in the corporate world – it was generally believed that a freelancer was a person who did not get any other ‘real’ job. However, freelancing has now found acceptance both by the society and by businesses. According to Chandrika, the need for flexi working/flexible working arises as now there is a...............

Assignment Questions

I. Elucidate the differences between flexi-working and flexible working? In your opinion, are there specific companies/industries suitable for either flexi-working or flexible working? Validate your opinion with relevant arguments.

II. Why do you think companies/HR departments opt for flexible workers. With reference to Exhibit V of the case study, discuss the pros and cons of flexible working HR practices from the viewpoint of both the companies’ HR Departments and the employees opting for it.

III..................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: The Evolution of the Employee

Exhibit II: Classification of Flexible Workers

Exhibit III: Evolution of the Working Trend

Exhibit IV: Select Startups and their Flexible Staffing Strategies

Exhibit V: Factors Facilitating the Growth of Freelancing

Exhibit VI: Flexing It’s Pricing Packages for Organizations

Exhibit VII: Profile of Companies and Professionals Registered with Flexing It

Exhibit VIII: Findings of the Report on Flexible Working by Regus

Annexure

Annexure I: Flexing It: An Overview

Teaching Note Preview

Chandrika Pasricha’s Flexing It: Flexible Working=Maximum Job Satisfaction, Optimum Value!

 

Synopsis

This case study enables an interesting discussion on the trend of flexible working based on Chandrika Pasricha’s entrepreneurial venture, Flexing It. An online market place for flexible skills, Flexing It was established to provide a common interface to professionals searching for freelance assignments and organizations seeking independent workers. The case study helps differentiate between flexi-working and flexible working and unravel the myths and realities behind flexible working. It briefs about trends in and significance of flexible working for India Inc., the pros and cons of flexible working for employers and employees, relationship between flexible working and job satisfaction and suitability of flexible working across industries. However, are there any HR challenges arising out of flexible working both for companies and professionals? What were the challenges faced by Flexing It and how did it overcome these challenges? For platforms such as Flexing It and other facilitators, to be truly successful, there has to be a change in the overall HR landscape. The case study can be suitably used to teach the concepts in recruitment in Human Resource Management.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding

  • • Gary Dessler and Biju Varkkey, “Human Resource Planning and Recruiting”, Human Resource Management, 12th Edition, Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd., 2011 – To understand the concept of alternate staffing

 

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be suitably used in the following program/course:

  • •MBA program in Human Resource Management course – To teach the concept of recruitment focussing on alternate staffing in Human Resource Planning and Recruiting

 

Assignment Questions

  • I. Elucidate the differences between flexi-working and flexible working. In your opinion, are there specific companies/industries suitable for either flexi-working or flexible working? Validate your opinion with relevant arguments.
  • II. Why do you think companies/HR departments opt for flexible workers? With reference to Exhibit V of the case study, discuss the pros and cons of flexible working HR practices from the viewpoint of both the companies’ HR Departments and the employees opting for it.
  • III. .....................

 

Before the Classroom Discussion

The following are useful in developing a better understanding of the concept of flexible working and also to know the latest trends in flexible working:

  • • “Flexibility Drives Productivity”, http://www.regus.com/images/Flexibility%20Drives%20Productivity_tcm8-49367.pdf, February 2012 (accessed date: March 27th 2015) – To analyze the relationship between flexible working and productivity
  • • “Catch Me if You Can”, Regus, January 2014 (accessed date: March 27th 2015) – To examine flexible working as an employee retention strategy
  • • Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary, “Chandrika Pasricha’s Flexing It: Flexible Working = Maximum Job Satisfaction, Optimum Value!”, http://www.etcases.com/products/chandrika-pasricha-sflexing-it-flexible-working-maximum-job-satisfaction-optimum-value.html, (accessed date: March 27th 2015)

 

The students/participants were also suggested to visit the link given below.

  • • “In focus: The rise of flexible working”, http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/in-focus-the-riseof-flexible-working (accessed date: March 27th 2015) – It features articles showcasing the multiple ways in which flexible working is being practiced across the world. This will help the students/participants appreciate the trend in favor of flexible working globally.

 

Preamble to the Case Analysis/Case Discussion

This case study’s purpose is to introduce the participants/students to one of the new trends in companies’ HR practices. As exemplified by many companies, like Flexing It, several companies are resorting to flexible workers (as opposed to flexi-workers) and the participants/students should be able to see the big picture behind this trend connecting all the relevant dots in this space. Accordingly, the classroom discussion can be orchestrated on the following lines [Exhibit (TN)-I] ........................

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Abstract


This case study enables an interesting discussion on one of the many new trends shaping up the HR function flexible working. The case study, based on Chandrika Pasricha's Flexing It, captures the growing importance of flexible working. Having had an illustrious consulting career (with the likes of McKinsey) for over a decade, Chandrika set out to define the new rules of HR game, especially in an emerging and aspirational country like India. Would she be able to rewrite effectively the rules of the HR game? Why would companies opt for part time talent? What kind of companies should opt for flexible workers? Why do startups majorly opt for flexible workers? What is the relationship between flexible working and job satisfaction? How would HR build employee loyalty amongst flexible employees?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the need and importance of the emerging trend of flexible working, especially in an emerging and aspirational country like India
  • To examine if there is any relationship between flexible working and better job satisfaction
  • To discuss on the impending HR challenges (company's perspective) arising out of opting for flexible workers (employee's perspective)
  • To discuss and debate on Flexing It's organizational challenges in resetting India Inc's HR agenda
Case Positioning and Setting
This case study can be suitably used in the following program/course:
  • MBA program in Human Resource Management course - To teach the concept of recruitment focussing on alternate staffing in Human Resource Planning and Recruiting



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