Bearing with maid’s tantrums like demand for pay raise, frequent absence, unruly behaviour, limited repertoire of specialties to name a few, is a common problem in Indian households. And dealing with it on a daily basis when time is a major constraint, is no easy task. To bring an end to this fiasco for the employers as well as for the workers, DekhoSeekho has come up with an easy solution.
Launched earlier this month, Gurugram-based DekhoSeekho has come up with a first-of-its-kind ‘Worker app’ and ‘Manager app’ for Android devices. The iOS version will be launched soon.
Now, the worker app focuses on training the workers and enhancing their overall skill set. Currently, the app has more than 300 videos to learn from which ranges from cooking recipes, tips on how to handle laundry, clean homes, fold shirts as well as mannerisms. On the other hand, the manager app allows the employers to leave voice instructions which are then delivered to the maid on the worker’s app as well as provides the video for the chosen recipe.
The app will soon add features which will allow employers to create a shopping list on the app and send it to the worker as well as assist users in maintaining a calendar which will help in processing the salaries. So, all the training and the instructions can be done using these apps which targets the domestic worker as well as the employer and connects both the ends of the communication.
“While Neelam is a great worker and a skilled cook, I’d started to grow tired of eating from her selective menu of dishes over the last decade. Neelam was apprehensive on day 1 to try out anything on the app, but she has already learnt and created two new dishes in a week’s time,” says Sukhmani Bikram, Vice President – Social Innovation and Life Sciences of The Practice.
Founded by Gauri Singh who has 14 years of experience in the informal sector and Juju Basu, with over 20 years of experience in media and communications, DekhoSeekho operates under The Maid’s company (TMC) which was also launched in 2011 by Gauri Singh. In a span of 5 years, TMC has trained 3,000 female workers for 1,500 clients in Gurgaon aiming to bring professionalism to the service and dignity to the worker. TMC’s maids are paid salaries ranging from Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000 a month, which is 40% higher than the usual market rates.
“We tried every combination of training in a classroom but we realized the need is to customize training. Each home, in a place like Gurgaon is culturally very different with majority being migrant population. Also, today there is a higher demand for skills and starting from cleaning windows, housekeepers are expected to fix appliances as well as cook pasta and idli and much more,” says Gauri.
She further explained that as the reach of smartphones and consumption of visual content in this group of workers has increased, app-based solution was the apt way to solve the problem. The apps are currently available in Hindi and English. “While designing the app, we had to ensure that the UI is very simple and easy so that it does not become a challenge for the workers to navigate and learn through the app,” added Juju.
With a motto of Naukar Nahin Naukri, Gauri says that an enhanced skill set and professionalism is much needed to streamline the sector. Also, with no dedicated marketing platform to reach out to the targeted domestic work sector, Dekho Seekho had to find simple ways to reach out. It is now creating a buzz through the workers’ strong social network as well as creating Whatapp groups which helps these workers easily understand how the platform works and then download the app.
Sam who has worked as a chef for 17 years, moved to Delhi around 14 years ago and after having heard about DekhoSeekho from his employers, Sam tried the app for 2 weeks and says the login-in process and navigating the app is extremely easy and the videos too are easy-to-follow. The company will now be looking to raise around $1 million funding and is expecting to cross 10k downloads in the next 3-4 months.
While the employers struggle to enhance the skill set of their domestic workers, the unregulated sector which employs more than 10 million women, typically do not have employment contracts, skill training, collective bargaining power or structured methods of finding employment. The Government too has been finding ways to increase the skills set of the blue collars as well as improve their labour conditions.
Notably, Juju points out that the app is easily scalable and at a later stage, the training platform can be used for workers from other segments as well. If technology rightfully reaches the bottom of the pyramid, it will be a game changer for the unorganized sector.
Author: Sanghamitra P
Credits ET Tech