Key learning from the recession

It is said that every adversity brings in certain opportunities. This stands true for India Inc too as many progressive firms have imbibed new lessons from their struggle against the worst economic recession that this century has ever witnessed. And hence, in an endeavor to ride the storm, companies are implementing the learning derived into action to ensure a smooth road ahead.

Key learning from the recession is that an organization that looks at the recession as a period of consolidation and investment into the future is successful as compared to the ones that look at recession only in terms of riding it out. Even amidst all the gloom, the economic meltdown turns out to be an opportunity for change for many. For firms, it was a time to re-look at their costs, tighten the budgets and cut the flab and for employees, it turned out to be a time to enhance their skills and improve their performance. Perhaps, many took it as the right time to implement changes.

Due to the recession, there have been changes in virtually every policy and practice in the organization. At Atos Origin India, the practices and policies across the entire organization has been standardized by adopting the best practices from each of the countries. The policies standardized range from employee centric like grades and work streams to processes like time tracking and project execution to business development like bid management and competency sharing.

For EVP and chief people officer, Symphony Services, the recession is an opportunity to leverage simultaneously the winning thee princess and slaying the dragon strategies. During good times, organizations normally tend to use winning the princess strategy that focuses on anew opportunity or technology approach to energize people, but during difficult times, organizations recognize that they need to also use the slaying the dragon strategy which involves containing the impact of slowdown through cost, containment, cutting on waste etc.

In line with this strategy many organizations have effectively improved their people processes within limited means, that this period did give an opportunity to look at some of Tesco’s processes from a fresh perspective and engage employees in a more meaningful manner. At Tesco they have redefined the performance and development process in such a way that people have clear measurable objectives, goals, training needs, and can be rated in an objective manner.

Along with the changes happening at the organizational level, there were many changes at the individual level too. The difficult situation made employees to realign their performance and work patterns. So how can an employee make it work towards his / her advantage?

During times of recession, workload, in most of the companies is lesser, so people who use this time to re-skill themselves, will be better positioned not only to see out the lean times, but also for the growth phase. Also normally it is during a recession that the new technologies that drive future growth emerge. For example, the e-commerce revolution was result of the recession that followed the dot com bust. Hence, individuals who can skill themselves in line with the emerging market conditions, the seeds of which are sown during the recession, will be ready to enjoy the fruits during the post recession phase.

It is an opportunity for an employee to show his / her value to the company by identifying the business areas that need attention and showing his / her prowess in adapting to drive operating efficiencies. Also, an employee must identify new areas and opportunities within the organization where he / she can contribute. Working beyond his / her job description is also advantageous.

Even though the slowdown forced firms to go in for various measures to contain costs, many have taken such steps by giving due consideration for both the employer and employee aspirations. And according to experts, such forms have a brighter chance of riding out the rough wave.