Companies hiring amidst the pandemic blow

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on April 16, 2020 Published on April 16, 2020

Ankita Joshi could not thank her lucky stars enough when she got a job offer from a company that she was yearning to join for months. But, her excitement slowly gave way to anxiety. When Joshi received the job offer in January, little did she imagine that the Covid-19 pandemic would send the entire country into lockdown and bring businesses to their knees.

Soon company after company announced layoffs, furloughs and freeze on fresh hiring. While Joshi was worried that her offer letter would be withdrawn or the joining date deferred, her fears eventually proved unfounded. The company not only honoured its offer but also virtually on-boarded her on the committed date.

The Covid-19-led economic uncertainty has forced many companies to cut jobs, freeze hiring and even withdraw offer letters. But some companies like Joshi’s employer continue to honour their commitments placing a bold bet on the post Covid-19 rebound.

For instance, PayU, a Prosus group company backed by Naspers, said it has not withdrawn any offer letters or delayed joining dates of any prospective employees, and, in fact, on-boarded more than 40 new joinees in March.

“We are inducting and on-boarding new joinees virtually, and they have started working remotely with their managers. PayU stands by all employees; for new recruits our focus is on helping them begin their new roles,” Ashish Chattoraj, CHRO, PayU India, said.

Food and beverages giant PepsiCo India also said it has honoured all its offers to new hires including professionals, management trainees and summer interns.

However, not all job seekers are as lucky as Joshi. Suvarna Ghosh, founding partner of executive search firm Maxima Group, said scores of candidates are stuck in the final stages of interviews with their potential employers. The Covid-19-led crisis has ensured that interview panels are not available to conduct the final rounds, which are typically face-to-face.

Tech to the rescue

But companies are leveraging technology to assuage the situation. “We have been prioritising the safety and well-being of our employees and have shifted our recruitment and on-boarding strategy to virtual platforms,” said Shantanu Das, CHRO of direct selling major Amway India.

The company has on-boarded close to 20 employees for critical functions across manufacturing, IT, marketing, data analytics, procurement and planning.

The sugar-to-cement conglomerate Dalmia Bharat Group said it is not only on-boarding employees virtually but has also advanced the salary disbursement to its existing employees. It also introduced bi-monthly disbursement of salaries to its low-wage contractors.

“We are doing online on-boarding of new employees, completing joining formalities and inducting them through virtual plant tours. All the joining formalities of as many as 70 new people, including induction, is happening online,” the company said.

Summer interns

The pandemic and the country-wide lockdown have not only affected the job seekers but also the summer interns, including from some of the leading B-schools.

“In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, many students who had offers from reputed organisations (some of them from overseas companies) found their summer internships cancelled or deferred indefinitely,” said Mahalakshmi R, Director – Human Resources, Mondelez India.

The HR head of the confectionery giant added that the company not only held on to its committed number of summer intern offtake from campuses but also extended its internship opportunities to some of those who lost their offers.

Published on April 16, 2020

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