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Randstad India’s Top Boss Advises Leaders To Be ‘Swift & Sharp But Humane’

As the job market becomes gloomier in India, Randstad India’s Managing Director & CEO, Paul Dupuis shares own experience & some advice for dealing with the crises

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The coronavirus pandemic that grips the world and India with it, is changing the way people live and do business, compelling leaders to drum up new strategies every day to cope with the times and keep their organisations afloat. One of the areas it has impacted the most is the job market, across the spectrum, in India. 

Randstad India’s Managing Director & CEO, Paul Dupuis takes stock of market reality, while elaborating on leadership in tough times, the future of the job market and human resources and dealing with a crisis as a strong person.

“I am a big fan of change, transformation and bold moves,” exults Dupuis in a conversation with BW Businessworld’s Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Dr Annurag Batra, in Episode 3 of ‘BW Businessworld Dialogue on Leadership’ series. 

Extending his support for those who lost their jobs, or are on the verge of losing it, he says, “self-care is important more than anything. I think it’s a great time to look into the mirror to take care of yourself, physically or mentally. Be ready for when this crisis will end.”

‘People Will Lose Jobs’

Elaborating on the state of the job market at this juncture, he says, “People are going to lose jobs and that’s the reality and that has already started to happen. I have seen changes in the economy, and I believe the creation of jobs and employment will always be more; that’s the nature of the economy, it always bounces back for those who are facing job losses. At Randstad, we put 60,000 people at work in India every day. We already see some companies hiring straight away, helping front liners ‒ anything from doctors related to life sciences, and pharmaceuticals.”

The upsurge, he admits was driving us all towards a contactless world. “I see a rising demand for data science, data analytics, skills related to e-payment, artificial intelligence, cloud, and e-payment industry which is massive in India,” says Dupuis.

Dupuis admits that corporate leaders at the top rung of their organisations such as CEOs, CXOs, and COOs really have a clear notion of what they are dealing with. “No one has a clear notion right now, but I am seeing a clear line between the two types of responses ‒‒ one where the leaders are accepting it as a massive challenge and they are looking for opportunities and talking about wellness, safety, security, family and engagement with their employees. Whereas on the other hand, we have leaders who are saying, ‘this will end in a couple of weeks’ giving false hopes to their employees and not working on strategies and opportunities during this disruption,” rues Dupuis.

Randstad India 

Talking of Randstad India’s plans, he says, “All over India companies would show up with their presence in the digital and virtual world of work. We at Randstad India are giving up on the new building, Randstad Tower, in Bangalore and are working on mapping out on our space with our team these days. Not only because of the economy but now we have learned how to work virtually. We are introducing more hybrid types of work and more work from home at Randstad India.”

Predicting the near future, Dupuis says, “I personally would lead with a cloudy scenario, that is, we need to face some months with unpredictability and instability. I am not the person who thinks about EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortisation) profit every day. We need to let people go from organisations. I am a big believer in being respectful and being humane through this difficult process. We need to take these decisions swiftly but in a warm way to save the integrity of the person.”

His narration of his experience as chairman of a Canada-based NPO called HOPE, which helps the neglected become self-reliant, is an inspiration for other leaders for doing good and giving back to society. In the early 2000s, Dupuis had been into the deep jungles of Cambodia, along with the chairman of HOPE to teach poor people how to use water among other things. “I am a big fan of any community that is trying to be together to raise the quality of life,” he tells BW Businessworld.

While moving to India, he had to sacrifice a passion for playing ice hockey but feels that it was worth it. “Ice hockey for many Canadians is more like a religion,” he says enthusiastically. “It is in my mind also a temple. Sports are where we learn the meaning of right and wrong. There is so much unpredictability in ice hockey. I believe sports build community and community build hope and lives,” says Dupuis.

This Will Be Over Soon

All of us have our special moments that make us smile. For Dupuis, those moments are mostly the simple joys of life. “I am an optimist who wakes up every morning with a smile. I love hearing the sound of birds chirping, coffee and a newspaper sitting in the balcony, sitting on a sofa, making Zoom calls to friends and family. The moments of just being together and being around nature are really special,” he says.

His advice to students who are still in college is that they should build on their values. “The world is going to continue to change. Build on your values, especially agility. Step out of your comfort zone and put yourself in unpredicted situations,” he states.

He concludes on a note of hope. “Embrace yourself, surround yourself with good people,” says Dupuis, adding, “and stay hopeful ‒ this crisis will be over soon.”

To Watch This Full Episode of ‘BW Businessworld Dialogue on Leadership’ With Paul Dupuis, CLICK HERE

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