‘Companies are also Realizing the Need to Create Variable Costs in Relation to Fixed Costs’

Ashok Reddy, Co-Founder and Managing Director of TeamLease Services Limited, is of the opinion that companies are slowly realizing that people can work from anywhere, can work anytime and work with anybody. The key to focus is on tools to manage and ensure productivity.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself. What pushed you to be an entrepreneur and how has your journey been so far?

Having done my education and early stage working in an investment banking field, I got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and ventured out to do something on my own. Over half my life has been spent as an entrepreneur.  I do believe the journey with TeamLease has been extremely satisfying as it meets the entrepreneurial triad of Fun, Profitable and Good for the country.

It has been a tremendous journey

  • with us running a larger company than we have the previous year,
  • the opportunity for growth that the industry has to offer,
  • the various journeys from being self funded to VC funded to going public,
  • the new muscles to build as we scale and find new challenges,
  • the choices of focusing on the 3Es of Employment, Employability and Ease of doing business.

I think the entrepreneurial journey expands the canvas on which one works and makes for a more rounded leader. Finally, the buck stops with us and we have to ensure that we have to be alive long enough to be successful and leave a legacy of a company that outlives the promoters.  

Q. What is your thought on blended working models and which are some of the prominent technologies that will make it happen?

The pandemic has made companies rethink the work from office and work from 9 to 5 culture. The realization is that people can work from anywhere, can work anytime and work with anybody. The key to focus is on tools to manage and ensure productivity. I do believe that the full workforce is not coming back to office in a hurry and all organizations are planning on a blended model. This would also be industry and function specific. Complementing the workforce with technology tools that are already in place and some that are being built to meet the needs would be the way forward to the new normal for the organizations.

Q. What according to you have been the major shifts in the trends of staffing in the last 2 years and what will they be going forward?

The staffing industry has been nascent in the country and far from mature. The penetration of staffing as a percentage of overall employment and of overall formal employment in the country is still very small in relation to the western economies. The size of the staffing industry is small compared to the opportunity and would play out over the future across decades.

The pandemic has focused the attention on the large informal employment that exists in the country. This reduces the access to a social security net for the employees and they are left to fend for themselves. I do believe that the government would focus on creating and increasing the formal employment numbers. This would be the best non fiscal safety net that could be created for the workforce. This growth in employment and formalization would be a force multiplier for the growth of the staffing industry.

Companies are also realizing the need to create variable costs in relation to fixed costs. This would be another fillip to the staffing industry. However, the client’s expectations are going to move from plain vanilla staffing of providing resources to actually add value in managing the resources through technology tools for productivity and performance. Staffing companies are going to have to integrate technology solutions to manage and work on the productivity of the manpower.

Q. One of the most critical investments you feel the company should make today?

Technology has become critical to the functioning of any organization. It has moved from support to becoming a core integrated necessity. We, at TeamLease, clearly need to invest a lot more on innovating around technology for Business as Usual, Productivity, Products and Revenue. These investments could be in making choices to build, borrow or buy the technologies that will drive the agenda for the future of the business.

All this would have to be supported by further investments in the structure and team that could drive the agenda of the company for the coming quarter and coming quarter century.  

Q. What are your 3-4 biggest expectations from the budget this year?

The government has a large agenda to work on given the opportunity that has been thrown open given the pandemic over the last 2 years. It also has to manage the challenges that the pandemic has thrown into the livelihoods of individuals and into the functioning of the corporate sector. My top 3 expectations as we enter another budget year would be;

  • The labour codes are yet to be notified and would be a first step in the process to ease of doing business agenda. This would help to rationalize and simplify the multiple laws that exist today.
  • The digitization of compliances under the various departments would create transparency and accountability.
  • The Universal Enterprise Number that would enable organizations to comply for various purposes and be tracked for alignment on refunds, subsidies and incentives.

Q. Apart from the budget, any other policy recommendations you have in mind?

There are a number of fronts on which the government needs to act and has an opportunity to make a difference. Clearly the current pandemic has thrown open many opportunities in the global and local spheres.

Focus has to be to on:

  • making India the production hub of the world,
  • the growth in services sector,
  • the IT industry opportunity as it expands from 5 million to 10 million employees,
  • working population increase to be aligned to skills,
  • improving the ease of doing business positions and many more.

I think the government has a clear window for further revisiting and reviewing policy around Employment, Employability and Ease of Doing Business to create a framework for an aggressive growth in the economy.

About Ashok Reddy

Ashok Reddy is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of TeamLease Services Limited. Ashok oversees our operations and represents our Company in forums with major clients. Ashok holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the Shriram College of Commerce, University of Delhi and a diploma in management from Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru.

He is a first generation entrepreneur with 17 years of experience in the industry of human resource services. Prior to his current position, he was a director of India Life Capital Private Limited, a pension and provident fund asset management company. He has been awarded the “Skills Champion of India” award in the category of Skills Champion: Emerging Warrior for his outstanding contribution to the field of skills development.

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