Having been in the Human Resources sector for the last 20 years, Srikanth Chandrashekhar is no stranger to how crisis can affect careers and livelihoods.
He recently joined TAIGER as its Global Director of People Operations.
TAIGER is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) startup specialising in engineered information access and extraction solutions. The economic fallout from Covid-19 has not directly affected the tech firm because of the nature of its business and it has seen a very minimal impact to jobs as a result of the virus.
But, Srikanth points out that an indirect impact on industries that are still thriving, however small, cannot be discounted.
“Right now, sectors like tech, biopharmaceuticals and healthcare may be thriving, but in the short term, because the marketplace as a whole has been impacted, there is likely to be an impact on even these sectors,” he explains in an interview with PeopleSearch.
“This is largely because money has been drawn out of the financial markets and investors are being cautious. Also, small and medium-sized businesses have been impacted. Because of these factors, the entire supply chain is going to get hit, irrespective of which industry. For instance, you could be a $10-billion business, but if you’re dealing with small and medium businesses, you’ll be inadvertently hit.”
“Hopefully, in the long term this will be corrected. Everyone has to relook at their investor strategy and delivering on their commitment.”
BEING RESPONSIBLE IN A CRISIS
All this will undoubtedly affect human resources strategies as a whole too.
“Covid, or no Covid, we don’t want to see anyone lose their jobs. Having been in HR all these years, it still doesn’t come easy to me when I have to have that conversation with another person.”
Over the years, to mitigate the situation, Srikanth has gone out of his way to assist displaced professionals.
“I think all companies have to make it clear that when someone is retrenched, it is not necessarily a reflection of that individual’s performance.”
The key is to convey this to other organisations that may still be hiring amid a crisis.
“Through their social networks, people are sharing the resumes of those who have been retrenched. As responsible employers, we must harness all the networking resources that we have at our disposal to see if we can find them new homes. It’s part of being a responsible business.”
Aside from this, Srikanth has the following advice:
Look for skills that you can acquire during this period which can make you stronger for your next job. When the stock markets are down, smart people usually buy more. Similarly, when the markets are down in the context of your career, it’s a great time to “tool up” on skills that could make you a better professional.
Course-Correct and Take Risks
It is also an ideal time to take stock and course-correct if necessary. It doesn’t have to be linear. If you were doing job “A”, you don’t have to go back to job “A” in a different company. If you’ve found yourself to have skills, or realise you’re able to or want to acquire skills that are applicable to a different job, don’t be afraid to explore that market.
I would always encourage soul-searching. Explore other industries. Don’t be afraid to take risks. You might find something that fulfils you more than your previous job. You have nothing to lose at this point anyway.
Young Leaders Witnessing their First Recession
Spend some time thinking about the challenges the firm is going through and what this could mean for the future of the business. What can you learn from this and how can you prepare your company for an uncertain future? Come up with solutions for how the company can adapt, be resilient and future-proof itself against any eventuality. Put your findings and research in a White Paper. Come up with a blueprint that your company can use.
Fresh Graduates Entering a Grim Job Market
I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but it happened. As you were coming into the market, you were greeted by a financial meltdown. Don’t be picky about the opportunities you get. It may not be your dream job, but start somewhere and see where it takes you. Life is going to be full of surprises. This journey is hardly ever linear or planned for any of us. It’s a part of life and could have occurred later in your career. It just so happens that the curveball has been thrown at you right from the start. Make the best of it with every opportunity.
Businesses Grappling with HR Challenges
To take your company to the next level, you’ll need high-performing candidates. It might be tempting to make huge staff cuts at this time, but you must also think about what your business will look like when the markets open up. What is your recovery plan? What types of professionals will you need to get you there? Don’t get left behind when markets open up. Rather than saying you’ll only start your manpower investments after everyone else does, think about how you can come out of this feeling much more revitalised and ready.