Managing in Times of Recession
Ever since the recession has struck the World, one of the most pragmatic question in everyone’s life is, “How is it going to affect me?”
We have had this question come from numerous fronts and we keep assuring them that if things ever go that bad, you all will be collectively informed. It is in these times you notice the diversity of emotions and the solidarity that so many display.
Being in the Services Industry, Bobcares is the sum total of the intellectual capital of the ones who have worked here and the 300 plus people who are here, contributing everyday to build this company one day at a time. So, its a challenge when you have to try and understand each person’s varying mindsets.
When Bobcares began in a four bedroom flat, we always dreamt big. We all were freshers and for us, growing big was a dream. Alas, one thing we forgot to factor in is with growth and 300 people, you have an equal pressure to manage them, find replacements, their accommodation, transportation and salaries. Most importantly, we had to keep tabs on the quality of the work they provide to a wide diversity of customers who in their own way have a different idea of how to run their show. It is a challenge we have handled adequately, though I can never say we can ever perfect the art. But the learning continues and so does the improvements. We had never then thought that there could be a recession where we would have to fight hard to ensure we do not have to close shop, say bye to our clients or fire people because of it!
One thing we always need to keep in our mind, that unlike in US where most of the workers, earn for their nuclear families or for themselves; In India, most people are like the bread earners for their respective families which in most cases includes their parents and siblings too. This major factor is what makes, job security a paramount concern in most people here.
Even then the reaction of people are always diverse. It was trust and belief for some, a test of nerves for many, for others it was a jump to safer pastures or higher studies and to a very few it was a question of integrity and ethics which they miserably failed. We have however always tried to ensure that we will be fair with how we deal with each situation and if we cannot convince ourselves or the people who are doubtful of remaining, we let them go because end of the day an organization needs believers and do-ers to grow and not doubters.
Nine years down the line, we can say from our experience that attrition though it is something we don’t like or try to minimize has in its own way helped filter out the people who do not match with the Bobcares way of life. Our customers as a result today do not depend on individuals but on our systems and understanding of their requirements. This results in happy customers and along with the committed people here has been the sole reason for our growth despite the many who left predicting doomsday.
One of the few key things we focused on despite recession striking in, was to maintain our marketing even if it were at lower levels than in the past. It has now become more targeted. We also made it a point to focus on maintaining a balance act where when we lost people, we worked harder to look at improving efficiency and where required, increased our recruitment activities to give jobs to the more needy. We though have had to cut down on non critical work such as beautification, investments in new non-critical stuff at office etc. A key activity though has been the building up of our money reserves to safe guard our requirements for working capital that ensures we can take care of our people if things get worse.
End of the day, managing in recession times is not about cutting out all expenses, because then you go into a downward spiral. The aim should be a balancing act of spending within your limits. This is because you need to spend, you need to invest and you need to market to continue to retain your market share, to ensure you are creating the demand for goods and you are helping others too which is the only way to counter recession.
About the Author:
As a Member of Executive Group, Lijoe Antony Chakiath oversees Information Security aspects at Bobcares including ISO 27001:2005. He also manages Mergers and Acquisitions interests of Poornam. Lijoe has over 7 years experience in the Web hosting industry and with Bobcares. He is passionate about travelling and long drives.