Indian Startups and Unicorns today have global ambitions and are fast becoming the champions of India Inc's growth story as they fuel innovation, value creation, and the multiplier impact on the economy. 
Last year the country saw the addition of 42 unicorns, and recorded over 24.1 billion in funding, making it one of the most important tech hubs in the world.
However, there is one ginormous obstacle that seems to stand in the way- finding the right talent pool and building a reliable pipeline. 
India has one of the largest tech talent pools in the world (over 4.5 million engineers), but somehow, organizations still struggle to fill key positions and find people with the ability to take on niche new-age skills with ease. As we are globally recovering from the pandemic and adjusting to the changing scenario of disruption, is there anything that we can do as an industry to tackle the issues that face us? 
In search of answers, Global Talent Exchange organized a virtual roundtable session with multitudinous thought leaders on 21st July 2022 as part of our Leader’s Exchange Series on the topic: Disruption or scaling up - What drives Indian Unicorn's Talent Search?

We were joined by several experts: Rupali Sharma (Matrix), Naveen Kumar (Licious), Anish Padinjaroote (Fractal), Siddharth Sangwan (Lightspeed), Anjan Das (Pristyn Care), Utkarsh Tomar (, Kushal Bhat (Razorpay), Saket Kumar Dwivedi (Arzooo), and Ankit Kedia (Capital A) 

These industry leaders engaged with our founder, Avinash Bichali, and shared their ideas and experiences over two hours. The session was an eye-opener and thought provoker for sure, and several interesting points came up. 

The conversation started with insights into the importance of talent in the current macroeconomic situation- it is the differentiator between two companies in the same space. All of our thought leaders agreed on the fact that it’s crucial to invest in the workforce and build it up to achieve organizational success. This outlook can be seen in action through the increasing efforts by employers to procure talent from skill-rich regions around the globe. 

Several experts on the panel believed that it was important for organizations to change their approach to recruiting- “don’t hunt, but farm”

It was broadly discussed that both the pandemic and employers were at fault for the lack of loyalty and engagement that employees have begun to display. Founders and leaders need to share their organization's vision and goal with every single person working for them in order to draw out the passion and 'fire' to work- they need to know that they're working for a purpose, not just money. Talent is likely to stay associated with a company longer when they're given a roadmap for growth, and believe that as the organization grows, they will too. 

The second discussion topic that was enlightening was EVP (Employee value proposition) and what approach tends to work the most for companies. A thought leader provided an excellent 5-R approach to this: 

  1. Right responsibilities: The organization needs to know exactly what they're looking for, specify the tasks, and go the extra mile to find someone that fits the bill perfectly. 
  2. Respect: A two-way street between talent and the employer, respect goes a long way in ensuring that the culture is motivating and enjoyable 
  3. Revenue sharing: Often a controversial proposition, several leaders believe that a “stake in the game” could lead to better performance and results 
  4. Rewards: Both for achieving and trying to achieve, rewards are a crucial component to boost morale 
  5. Relaxation: Companies need to take cognizance of the importance of both mental and physical rest- care for the employee and they shall care for you. 

Another point that garnered a lot of support was that it’s crucial for organizations to build a culture of learning and self-improvement- right from the leaders to the managers to the rest of the team. 

The last point that we took up was the issue of continued salary escalation and rejection; what can companies do to bring the situation under control? 

An expert brought up the Build-Buy-Borrow Model, and how it's essential to use all three to tackle the problem. Companies should focus primarily on the young talent and 'building' them, should ‘buy’ certain talent required for niche skills and global expansion, and ‘borrow’ brains required for cutting-edge technology and upgradation. 

It was indeed a pleasure to listen to what these accomplished people had to say, and undoubtedly, has given us insight into what the unicorns and start-ups in India are doing to overcome the recruiting and retaining problems that they face. 

This closed-door conference was the 13th in our Leaders Exchange Series, and we’re gearing up for the next.

We’d love to know what you think. Use #Globaltalentexchange/tag us on social media- let us know how you tackle recruitment issues and manage talent in your organization.