Get the benefit of top CXOs, for just a few weeks

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on January 24, 2018

Start-ups and small firms are grabbing the chance to learn from the best

Flexi or temporary chief executives (CXO) like Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers and Chief Technology Officers are in demand. Start-ups want to hire such talent to cut costs.

So far, flexi staffing was used at the shop-floor or entry level or at the board level. Now, mid-level CXOs are being sought, according to Moorthy K Uppaluri, Managing Director and CEO, Randstad India, a leading recruitment company. Many CXOs are retiring in their 40s as they opt for less stressful work and a better work-life balance. Some choose to work for more than one start-up. Flexi hiring enables start ups hire the talent when needed, he said.

Short-term consultants

Start-ups cannot afford to pay a person a high salary and perks on a permanent basis. They need a person to consult for a limited time. Randstad acts as a bridge between start-ups and such flexi CXOs. If a start-up has not set up its presence, it asks a CXO to be on Randstad’s payroll for a while, till the office is established. At times, the person is absorbed by the start-up; if not, there is a job for the CXO with another start-up, Uppaluri said.

Sources said that by engaging flexi CXOs, hiring costs can be more than halved as they don’t need a permanent work-space and there are no perks either.

Strategy gurus

ConveGenius, a start-up focused on digitising education and providing affordable education solutions, invites CXOs as advisors to help with corporate strategy and structuring operational processes, said its co-founder, Jairaj Bhattacharya.

It had taken on board external CXO advisors for two weeks to help decide between internal development and external sourcing for certain roles. They also advised on strategic alliances for ‘exponential’ growth and expanding resources through contractual partnerships, he said.

With their experience in running multi-million dollar accounts, CXOs have different perspectives that will help fast-growing start-ups take the best decisions.

It makes sense to hire CXOs in business development and sales roles, where their contacts, network and experience are worth the investment. “It catapults the start-up with 10x speed, skipping time wasted on lead generation and client discovery,” he said.

Mehul Shah, Managing Director, Collabera, an IT staffing firm, said it makes sense for start-ups to get niche, high-quality talent in flexi mode. The trend will pick up as it brings a lot of expertise to execute new projects within the company.

Work-life balance

Flexi-staffing spans the hierarchy in sectors such as IT, engineering and, now, e-commerce to include senior-level roles with experts and even includes CXO-level profiles on company boards. This is 'great market change’ in the flexi-staffing/temp staffing business, said Shah.

According to Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, Indian Staffing Federation, flexi employees are considered highly by senior professionals to engage with and start-ups are the early consumers of the trend, usually after the first round of funding.

For senior people, the flexi model has become more attractive than the alternative. The corporate social contract guaranteeing job security and plush benefits is dying and 80-hour weeks are all too common in high-powered full-time jobs. Such talented executives are looking to leave behind the endless internal meetings and corporate politics, which sometimes take up to 30-40 per cent of their time, Dutta said.

Published on July 08, 2015

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