Pandemic impacted recruitment industry badly: Anjali Raghuvanshi, Randstad India

‘Most of the large organizations have kept all their hiring processes on hold as the market was severely hit and no one was sure as to when the situation would improve.’

hiring, recruitment, Anjali Raghuvanshi, Randstad India , pandemic, jobs
'There was some level of apprehension around hiring new people.'

The world of work has dramatically transformed and has disrupted work ever since Covid-19 pandemic hit but it has encouraged more flexibility, collaboration and remote work arrangements which attracts strong talent to employers. Randstad supports people and organizations in realizing their true potential by combining the power of today’s HR technology with their passion for people.

In an exclusive conversation with the Financial Express Online Anjali Raghuvanshi, Chief People Officer, Randstad India talked about the growing trends in the recruitment industry and role of new-age technologies like Cloud HR solutions to enhance employee experience, streamline internal processes and improve business operations. Excerpts:

How has the pandemic affected the recruitment and services industry?

The pandemic has affected the world quite drastically and almost every industry has been impacted badly including recruitment. Particularly in the recruitment industry, the business around the world was skeptical about the situation as there was some level of apprehension around hiring new people while others were even forced to lay off their staff. Most of the large organizations have kept all their hiring processes on hold as the market was severely hit and no one was sure as to when the situation would improve.

However, Randstad was resilient and sailed through this difficult phase with our vast experience in the market and are incurring profits. We had revenue growth of 7% in a challenging 2020. Today, Randstad India is one of the most admired companies in the country, a thought leader in the HR services industry, a certified ‘Great Place To Work’ and ranks in the list of India’s top 10 best workplaces in health and wellness!

What are some of the technologies and digital platforms that Randstad uses and has your inclinations towards digitization increased during the pandemic?

We have been investing in ‘in-house solutions’ for a while now, which are customized as per our needs. These in-house solutions are working in parallel to our third-party solutions and we keep developing them according to our requirements. Furthermore, we give a lot of importance to the fact that anything that we implement or launch brings a change in the lives of our employees and we try to understand various touchpoints of our employees and take necessary steps in the process. For us, our end-users are our employees and their needs are paramount as they’re the ones who’ll ultimately adopt the solutions.

We have implemented some interesting and exciting technology projects on the staffing front and in the permanent hiring area. In addition, we’ve launched our brand new global intranet – ‘CONNECT’. We’re also looking to invest in applications and for sure, digital will continue to be a key enabler for us in our ‘Tech-for-Touch’ strategy. We promise our employees to help them realize their true potential and technology plays a huge role in this enablement through tools that make them productive. Social well-being and collaboration at work is another area where we want to focus on given its criticality – both for psychological well-being as well as productivity. Our focus would be to bring digitization in this space and make it easy to connect, collaborate, celebrate and belong.

Briefly give an overview of Randstad’s operations globally and in India.

We are a global HR services provider and have been in the industry since 1960. We’re the #1 organization in the recruitment industry, globally. In India, we’ve been in the market for almost three decades now and today we’re one of the leading players in the Indian recruitment ecosystem. Our expertise lies in complementing smart people with great jobs –from the executive office to the manufacturing floor.

From a business perspective, general staffing is a major part of our operations which includes both payroll and recruitment. Some other operational aspects include functions ranging from permanent and temporary recruitment, executive search, specialty staffing, payroll transfer services, manpower consultancy, and sales and trade marketing. Our vertical, Randstad Technologies, is completely dedicated to helping our clients with their technology hiring needs. We have a total of 14 offices operational in India across tier 1,2 and 3 cities and our workforce count is close to 67,000. Out of which, 65,000 are contractual staff who assist our vast clientele across sectors and recruiting people from junior to CXO level and close to 1300 are core employees.

Can you talk about your collaboration with Oracle and how has Oracle HCM Cloud assisted Randstad with its business operations?

Previously we were using our traditional in-house software for managing our HR operations, but scalability was an issue as the solution wasn’t able to go beyond a certain point, therefore, we opted to work with Oracle. At Randstad, we believe in going ‘above and beyond’ and we wanted a partner who can help us with scalability and accessibility and be part of our journey. Oracle being a reputed player in the industry was our obvious choice among the solutions we assessed. Our previous solution didn’t have the aspect of ‘access to the manager’ but the Oracle HCM solution made it possible and gives us the flexibility to make the right business decisions without having to go through various levels.

As an organization, we consider employee engagement as a key function when it comes to managing operations. ‘Randstad with Heart’ is our employee engagement program that aims at giving back to society and the Oracle HCM solution has helped us capture the volunteering hours of our employees, seamlessly. The same goes for rewards and recognition, it has become so easy for managers to keep a track of employee’s achievements without having to go through the crumbling process of manual record-keeping which also sometimes resulted in missing out on potential employees given the vast workforce that we have. In a nutshell, Oracle HCM is a one-stop solution for everything and has given our managers plus employees a platform to carry out all our engagement processes.

Given that your workforce is scattered across multiple locations throughout the company, how has Cloud helped you in ensuring employee engagement and connectivity?

We believe that employees are the backbone of any industry and given the scenario of remote working, it became extremely crucial to deploy solutions that would not only help us keep a track of our employees but also support them at the time of crisis. We wanted to give them a solution that is tailor-made and accessible across devices, something one could use even on their phones.

Cloud has helped us in giving ease to our employees and more than that it makes our transition extremely smooth even when all our employees are working remotely. Our switch towards cloud was completely virtual and was done during the lockdown. But despite that, we were able to go live seamlessly and reach out to all the stakeholders. Secondly, being an industry leader, Oracle understands the needs of industries and are open to evolving with their partners which is the differentiating factor for us when it comes to choosing Oracle Cloud solutions vis-à-vis its competitors.

A virtual environment can sometimes be a barrier to collaboration, you do not see your colleagues at all times and this may affect your pace and ability to execute the task with perfection. A cloud environment makes it easier to work together and adds efficiency as a result.

Can you please share some of your future plans for the Indian market?

From an HR perspective, we continue to build a high trust, engagement, and performance culture. We are now aiming at readiness for a whole new world of work – to enable our organization and accelerate in this world of work through “connect, belong and celebrate”. We believe we need to connect to perform, collaborate and be future-ready, at the same time create an inclusive workplace where our employees feel they can bring their true self forward and really belong. True Self Forward is an approach that aids productivity by fostering the psychological, mental and social well-being of our employees. And finally, an organization that celebrates together succeeds together and that’s what we are aiming at.

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