As the pandemic outbreak is spreading, the impact on businesses is increasing; a growing number of companies are looking to stabilise their finances and operations to survive this uncertain time. And a fundamental way of balancing the finances for companies has been laying off employees in order to cut down business costs. In fact, according to a recent report, India’s unemployment has touched a record high number of 27.1%, which would include 1.5 lakh unemployed IT professionals during this crisis.
In recent news, tech giant IBM has announced firing thousands from their workforce, which included employees from departments like enterprise cloud, artificial intelligence along with people working on Watson and supercomputers. Alongside, Uber has also recently reported undergoing a significant layoff in their organisation, with the winding down of AI lab. “Given the necessary cost cuts and the increased focus on core, we have decided to wind down the Incubator and AI Labs and pursue other strategic alternatives,” stated Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi in the company memo.
These numbers and actions by tech giants indicate that no industry has yet been immune to the oncoming recession in the country. However, instead of laying off and firing people amid this pandemic, which can lead to a massive decline in employee’s mental health and their job performance; analytics companies can rely on several other alternatives to keep their business running. In this article, we are going to share a few ways analytics companies can avoid laying off their employees amid this pandemic.
Momentarily Hiring Freeze & Pause Onboarding Of New Employees
One of the key ways to avoid layoff and still balance out your finances amid this COVID pandemic is by freezing the hiring process and putting a halt on the onboarding of new employees if already hired. For this, analytics companies should prioritise their business departments and strategically position their employees based on the necessity, and put a pause in recruiting for all those positions which aren’t the need of the hour. This provides an opportunity for analytics companies to continue hiring strategically for the skills that are necessary for the business amid this crisis. For instance, analytics companies can put a rest to the hiring of employees for research and development and should strategically hire for data-driven roles which can benefit them in this time. In recent news, search giant Google has announced its hiring freeze in an effort to re-evaluate some of their business investment areas. “There are budget cuts and hiring freezes happening across Google,” stated in the message sent to Google employees from their global director.
Encouraging WFH For The Workforce
Businesses leaders need to think out of the box to cut down their business costs in order to avoid layoffs. And of the significant cost expended by analytics companies are their workplace rent. Encouraging work from home for employees could be an excellent way for analytics companies to cut down costs. In fact, research by Analytics India Magazine has stated that work from home can have a positive impact on analytics companies, where employees aren’t wasting their time commuting to the office and have less stress working at home. For this, analytics companies can democratise their data and provide remote collaboration tools to their employees in order to have a smooth transition to work from home. The research also stated that with ready access to laptops, VPN, all sorts of tools and technologies, analytics companies could enable their team to work from a remote location smoothly. Although working from home comes with data security issues, analytics companies are well equipped to handle cybersecurity protocols for their companies, and therefore can have more employees working from home.
Pay & Bonus Cuts Across Board
For obvious reasons, another significant way of cutting down cost as well as avoiding layoffs is to cut down salaries and benefits of employees across the board, which could significantly benefit a lot of analytics companies. Also, pay cuts across the board will not majorly impact your employees but would help businesses with their financial stability. Same could be done with reductions in bonuses and promotions for the year, which indeed is better for employees than losing a job amid this crisis. In recent news, TCS has reported that the top management of the company has received a pay cut in order to save finances amid this crisis. According to the annual report of the company, the managerial remuneration for the year decreased by 15%. In contrast, the salary of the executives hasn’t been reduced to express solidarity and conserve the company’s resources. Alongside, Mark Zuckerberg, in his announcement, stated that the employees who are willing to continue working from home in future and move to a cheaper location would experience a pay cut.
Lose Outsourcing Of The Business
Many analytics companies outsource their processes as well as work with contractors for many projects, however with this pandemic in hand, it would get difficult to satisfy all employees of the company, and therefore business leaders must prioritise their workforce. And with this, analytics companies should let go of their third-party workers, outsourced work as well as part-timers in order to cut down the finances. This initiative can be beneficial for companies as they don’t have to layoff their full-time workers anymore amid this crisis. Not only this will help in controlling the finances of the business but will also provide immense visibility to the leaders of all operations of the company, as they are now operated in-house. With this comes a significant opportunity for in-house employees to upskill and reskill themselves according to the need of the hour as well as to fill the gaps of the furloughed outsourced employees.
Trim Down On Unnecessary Business Projects
Apart from cutting down salaries, bonuses, as well as outsourced workers, analytics companies can also cut their investments on non-technical projects that aren’t essential for the business right now. As this pandemic disrupted product’s sales, and also the funding for business projects, companies should only focus on meaningful projects that can provide value amid this crisis. By focusing on essential functions, analytics companies can cut down their finances and can create stability for their business at the time when other companies are struggling to manage their workforce costs. This also brings in another opportunity for companies to think creative ways to do things and carry out operations less expensively with more production value. Businesses can also evaluate their subscription plans and can make a reduction in them according to their necessity. Also, with automation in hand, businesses can layoff several processes which were handled traditionally; however, companies shouldn’t layoff those employees working in those processes. Instead, they should be brought in for upskilling. This, in turn, will benefit the companies as well as the employees in a longer run — more on this in the next point.
Upskilling has proved to be a critical way for data scientists as well as organisations to avoid layoff amid this crisis. This pandemic has brought in disruption in businesses, and therefore leaders are looking to cut costs; however this crisis has also brought in the opportunity for businesses to move towards automation, and that would bring in the requirement of advanced skill sets from employees. Analytics companies can organise in-house training sessions for their employees to upskill with new-age technologies like AL, ML, NLP, among others, that are relevant to the current era. This will not only help the organisation but will also help employees with their career graph. For this, analytics companies can provide a subscription to necessary online courses, or can also arrange training sessions, hands-on experiences, and workshops in the organisations. Many ed-tech companies are also working towards providing free online resources for employees to reskill/upskill themselves amid this crisis. In fact, according to Irwin Anand, the managing director of Udemy, an online learning and teaching platform, “Learning is the new currency that can help us succeed as a workforce.”
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Sejuti currently works as Senior Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at email@example.com