Accepting the situation is the first step towards addressing the problem at hand. Times are difficult, make no bones about it. The situation will last for quite some time, and we don’t know how long. However, one thing we know for sure is that the number of industry sectors globally will face uncertainty. For those working within recruiting and offshore RPO sector, the question is, how are you going to address this uncertainty, how prepared are you to sustain or are you? It is not all doom and gloom, but uncertain it is.
As an immediate impact of this pandemic, we have seen the travel, retail and hospitality industry is most impacted. Of course, there will be an impact on the ancillary industries, which are suppliers to these segments.
Given the current scenario, many enterprise businesses will already have put their recruiting plans on hold. Of course, they will fill all the necessary or the essential roles they need to recruit, and others will still be put on the back burner until there is clarity in terms of which way the wind blows.
Businesses in this segment would have learnt the lessons from past situations. Given their experience of handling critical cases in the past (of course nothing in comparison with the Corona Virus pandemic) however, they’d still have people, processes, systems and adequate provisions to deal with.
Small to Mid Sized Businesses
Companies in these categories will have put most of the recruitment on hold, probably also would have drawn the list of personnel they want to retain and the members they want to let go. Redundancies, of course, is the dark side of the crisis and inevitable, and we wish it were otherwise. Every resource and investment decision will be reviewed minutely, brainstormed within the teams, and multiple suppliers researched before shelling a single penny.
What does this mean?
One thing we know working within recruitment is that our industry is sensitive to every economic movement. Even a sneeze in the economy has had an impact on the recruitment sector. As per this article dated 18th March from Financial Times, their analysis suggests that in excess of 1m jobs are on the line.
Businesses will tread caution before opening up new positions or refilling the jobs. There will be restructuring and job responsibilities will be absorbed across many roles. Companies will urge to utilise internal tools and resources before outsourcing the tasks to recruitment agencies, and we will see a drop in the number of positions given to agencies. There will be the consolidation of job responsibilities and the “Good to have” posts will be redundant.
Many businesses will take such steps across sectors which will have an impact on the recruitment sector, resulting in the slowdown. Resilient areas such as medical and healthcare will be in demand owing to the nature of these sectors.
The Way Forward
A volatile situation like the pandemic demand will demand the businesses to review and incorporate the following factors for a sustainable future.
Stability becomes the cornerstone for every business during a crisis. Companies will partner with suppliers who have not only a stable setup from cash flow and infra perspective but also companies that can ensure the stability of personnel. Security will play a critical role from this time on when clients look to restructure, consolidate and make plans for the next course of action to be executed in the following months.
Stability of people in respective organisations will play an imperative role in sustaining relationships. Constantly changing personnel at the partner’/supplier’s end will mean increased time is taken to transfer knowledge to the new staff on the team, immediate impact on quality, etc. This change does impact the end client deliverables resulting into instability, clients/businesses will not like this at this juncture and partners will need to bear this in mind before destabilising any personnel or making a decision in replacing team members.
During this time, businesses will want to ensure their existing partners (suppliers) are in line with their expectations and that they can sail thru’ these troubled waters controlling every possible damage.
Times are critical, and businesses will look at flexibility as one of the other significant factors when deciding if they want to work with the current partner or consider an alternative. Every contract will be reviewed, and partners will need to look at the extent of flexibility they can provide to their clients. Long term contracts will be a rare scenario, mainly as nobody has precedence in terms of their own sales pipeline, growth and the longevity of the crisis. Terms of business will be re-negotiated in line with efficiency, commercials, etc. Partners will also need remodelling their operational models to deliver services as per client’ requirement.
“Less is More” – New norm of the era. As a supplier, one will need to review internal processes and system to ensure efficiency in every way possible for their clients. As businesses review spend, every bit of output will be examined minutely in line with the quality delivered. The margin for error will be negligible, and there will not be many second chances. Failing to provide both efficiency and quality, probably in the first go will result in customer churn. Businesses will have learnt the importance of business continuity planning, and many will have a secondary partner in place they can immediately switch to. Hence, ensuring all the personnel, processes and systems are equipped to deliver the required efficiency month on month and quarter on the quarter will determine the longevity of the contract and relationship.
The world of work will continuously evolve as we all sail thru’ these times. Every change brings a new avenue and approach to the way we work, and betterment is the only way forward.