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Why PIPs (Performance Improvement Plans) rarely do what they say

Why PIPs (Performance Improvement Plans) rarely do what they say

Cost to Company 10 July 2023

Episode Description

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

But that's not the case with PIPs.

Which, more often than not, is planned to fail anyway.

In this episode of Cost to Company, I speak to Sharthok Chakraborty (Co-founder, Klaar; Ex-Cipla) Nimesh Mathur (Investor, Advisor, HR Leader; Ex-Haptik), and Sumit Singla (HR Consultant, ex-Accenture) on one of the most contentious tools of the workplace, the Performance Improvement Plan.

And why embarking on one is almost always a fool's errand.

For both the employer and the employee. 

This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria and engineered by Rajiv CN.

Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.


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A closing note

A closing note

Thank you for tuning in every week. With this episode, Cost to Company is coming to an end. Do tell us what you liked about the show, what we can do differently, or if you have any fresh ideas in the careers space for us. Write to podcasts@the-ken.com. If you liked Cost to Company, we are sure you'd like our other podcasts First Principles and Daybreak. We have newer, bigger shows coming real soon! Stay tuned to the feeds for updates on the upcoming shows. The show was hosted by Sneha Vakharia, Shreevar Chhotaria, and Akshaya Chandrasekaran. It was sound engineered by Rajiv CN. And made possible by so many of you tuning in every Tuesday.  Cost to Company was produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories. Until next time!

8 August 2023 3m and 14s


The Great Resignation to Resenteeism. What trends tells us about the changing workplace.

The Great Resignation to Resenteeism. What trends tells us about the changing workplace.

Each individual episode of Cost to Company is like a part of the elephant in the hands of a blind person. Only but a piece of a much larger story. In this special 50th episode of Cost to Company, the hosts discuss the sum of trends they have observed in workplaces. And what that tells us about the changing nature of the economy, and of work. This episode was produced by Sneha Vakharia, and engineered by Rajiv CN. Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

31 July 2023 44m and 53s


'Influencers' have arrived at the workplace – how to spot them?

'Influencers' have arrived at the workplace – how to spot them?

Company culture (as we know it) is broken. Seventy-seven percent of the global workforce is disengaged and burnt out, says the latest Gallup report. In fact, there's a new term floating around – loud quitting. These are employees who stay in their jobs and take actions that directly harm the organisation and sabotage its goals. This is a new low, and a huge signal that there is a dire need to change. Companies are looking for innovative ways to boost the morale of the workplace and weld teams together. One of the most unique ways that they are doing that is by identifying 'influencer' networks and tapping into them. Many marquee companies are adopting this process to better understand their employees and serve their needs. On today's episode, we will talk about what happens when an employee becomes an 'influencer' and what that does to an organisation. Further reading: Gallup's State of the Global Workplace (2023 Report) This episode was written and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran. It was produced by Anushka Mukherjee and engineered by Rajiv CN. Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

24 July 2023 27m and 54s


600 working mothers told us how they navigate work, home and their careers

600 working mothers told us how they navigate work, home and their careers

We released a survey for working mothers. The objective was to build a collective of the wisdom of working mothers. Ask them for their needs. And their hacks. How can families and businesses best enable working mothers? And how can working mothers enable themselves? As of writing this, It’s been a week since we put out the survey. 630 mothers replied. This is what they had to say. This episode was written and hosted by Sneha Vakharia, and engineered by Rajiv CN. Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

17 July 2023 40m and 49s


How to spot a stable employer in a turbulent economy

How to spot a stable employer in a turbulent economy

Reverse reference checks. Combative questions during interviews. And employees on why it isn’t the employer’s market yet. With layoffs and recession fears, you would imagine employees are settling for less. You would imagine they are taking up a job, any job, to evade unemployment. Instead, they are making decisions about their next move in the most deliberate and calibrated manner. On today's episode, we will talk about employees striving to take back the position that matters most in their careers: the driver’s seat. Recommended listen: The rise and rise of discreet reference checks This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Akshaya Chandrasekaran and engineered by Rajiv CN. Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

3 July 2023 25m and 47s


Youngest startup talent doesn’t have deep skills

Youngest startup talent doesn’t have deep skills

There’s hustle. And then there’s excellence. Startups give their employees abundance of the former, but not as much of the latter. In the long run, this can seriously hurt career prospects. This week, we set out to understand the skills startups give their youngest employees.. The skills they don’t. Where this can land them in their careers. Who is responsible for this.  And if you are such a startup employee, what you can do about it.  This episode was written and hosted by Sneha Vakharia, and engineered by Rajiv CN. Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

26 June 2023 30m and 20s


The new 'hot' sectors for tech talent

The new 'hot' sectors for tech talent

If you ask any tech employee about their dream company to work at, it’s usually a Microsoft or a Google or a cool startup. Nobody aspires to work at a healthcare company or a bank, really. It’s where you end up. Not choose. At least that’s the perception all around. But what if I tell you, you’ve been looking at the talent market all wrong? That the cold sectors of yesterday — manufacturing, BFSI, FMCG companies, and so on — are the hot sectors of today. Companies, across sectors, want to be tech companies. Or at least, tech-presenting companies, to stay ahead of the curve.  Traditional firms with sound fundamentals are now paying better salaries for tech talent and doing interesting and meaningful work. And most importantly — they are offering stability in a very volatile jobs market.  This episode was written and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran, produced by Anushka Mukherjee, and engineered by Rajiv CN.  Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

19 June 2023 28m and 12s


Three founders on taking the right risks in your career

Three founders on taking the right risks in your career

How do you evaluate the risks you take in your choice of jobs? The size, stage of the company you’re going to work for. The type of roles you choose. How long you wait in a particular role before you make your next move, look for the next jump. How do the risks we take, and don’t take, shape our careers. This week, we turn to three of the most risk seeking category of professionals, founders. We ask them how to take risks well.  This episode was written, hosted and produced by Sneha Vakharia, with audio engineering by Melroy Fernandes.  Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscriber-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

12 June 2023 27m and 2s


How to get hired in an employer's market

How to get hired in an employer's market

The tables have turned. But the mistakes keep spilling over. In this episode, we spoke to Ria Shroff Desai (People and Culture Lead, Blume Ventures); Udayan Walvekar (CEO, GrowthX); Bhakti Dhanak (Associate Vice President - Human Resources, CIIE.CO) to understand some of the unobvious errors that candidates are making while applying for jobs in the 'employer's market' of 2023.  Cost to Company is a careers and workplaces podcast from the The Ken’s newsroom. The Ken is India's first subscriber-only business journalism platform. Check out our deeply reported long-form stories, insightful newsletters, original podcasts, and much more here. Listen to the latest episode of Daybreak.  This episode of CTC was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria.

5 June 2023 24m and 35s


Could you have priced yourself out of the job market?

Could you have priced yourself out of the job market?

For months and months now, there’s a word that’s been whispered among recruiters, founders, CXOs, and executives who are hiring for key positions in their companies. It’s a word used to describe a cohort of professionals whose salaries are out of sync with the reality of the market. It’s a word that is used for people who work in product management, engineering, marketing, and even cross-functional roles. Meet the “unhireables”. They live among us. They work in our offices. Walking around like regular people. They don’t see that their careers are paralysed. Some of them are actively seeking jobs, but their interviews end abruptly once they inform the recruiter of their current compensation. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re unhireable. Between 2020 and 2022, investors pumped billions of dollars into startups whose founders and leaders offered up the mythical “hypergrowth” narrative. Those startups, in turn, pumped money to hire and grow a layer of mid-level and senior-level executives whose job was to deliver on that hypergrowth narrative. And salaries went through the roof. Hikes of 50% and above were par for the course. Cut to the present. If overvalued startups are widely recognised as a problem, can overvalued employees escape the same fate? This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Akshaya Chandrasekaran with audio engineering by Rajiv CN and creative inputs from Anushka Mukherjee and Snigdha Sharma. Listen to how Apple is building an army of ‘faithfuls’ in one of the most price-sensitive markets in the world, on Daybreak, a business podcast by The Ken. Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscriber-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

29 May 2023 25m and 7s


The rise and rise of discreet reference checks

The rise and rise of discreet reference checks

Some call them discreet reference checks, some call them back channel checks, some call them ghost reference checks. They're growing rapidly, and recruiters are leaning on them like never before. In this week’s episode, host Sneha Vakharia takes you behind the scenes into why they’re growing, how they’re done, and what you need to do about it.

22 May 2023 31m and 24s


'Are you a Lion or a Pig?'

'Are you a Lion or a Pig?'

This time last year, companies were giving away eye-popping rewards to retain talent. From BMW bikes to sponsoring vacations, they did it all to lure top talent. Times were good. Talent was scarce. And start-ups and companies were flush with money and endless capital. But, not anymore. On today’s show, why retention has gone from broad-based to focussed, open to hidden, and most importantly – equal to unequal. Companies are applying focussed strategies only for select top performers who are crucial to the bottomline. Retention has become extremely targeted, discerning, and most importantly, triaged. Employees are often unaware of the goings on in the HR department, but they can definitely sense a shift. This episode will help you identify what’s changing and where you stand in your company. In fact, it will help you answer the question: does my company want to save me? Credits: Written and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran, produced by Anushka Mukherjee, and engineered by Rajiv CN. Also check out Brady’s brand new newsletter, Present / Future, out now.  Subscribe to The Ken, India's first subscriber-only business news platform.

16 May 2023 30m and 42s


The 'job switch' hike isn't a wise decision anymore

The 'job switch' hike isn't a wise decision anymore

The situation has changed. And the equation has too.  If the past two years were all about throwing money to attract top talent, 2023 has seen a general sobering up of appraisals and job switch hikes.   In a strange turns of events, some employees are okay with taking a cut on their annual compensation in exchange for ‘stability’, in this highly volatile job market.  I speak to Saaquib Dawoodani (Head of Talent, Revolut), Abha Khurana (People Success Lead, inFeedo), and Shashank B. (Writer + creative consultant, an international OTT giant) to understand the new math of careers.  Which is more than just the numbers.  The First Principles episode featuring Gaurav Munjal of Unacademy releases on 11th May. Subscribe to First Principles and get notified when a new episode drops: Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/in/podcast/first-principles/id1639125773 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3Rou1kKH8CQYoDDaHavaw1?si=ca8662215b5c4a18 Cost to Company is a careers and workplaces podcast from the The Ken’s newsroom. The Ken is India's first subscriber-only business journalism platform. Check out our deeply reported long-form stories, insightful newsletters, original podcasts and much more here: https://the-ken.com/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=podcasts&utm_campaign=podcast_ep This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

8 May 2023 30m and 30s


Is your business at war?

Is your business at war?

This week your host Sneha will take you inside businesses at war, through the voices of those fighting in the trenches. We’ll hear how the same war — the war against inflation, a funding winter and shrinking markets — is being fought differently in different businesses. We’ll see how war sharpens, and sometimes disfigures, a business. We’ll see what is martyred and what is protected. This is what a business fighting for survival looks like. Tell us, is your business fighting for survival?

1 May 2023 38m and 8s


MBAarbarians at the gates

MBAarbarians at the gates

MBAs – love them or hate them, but you can’t ignore them. Over the years, they have taken over every business vertical – general management, sales and marketing, growth and strategy, human resources, and even product and technology. Name it, they have been there and done that.   But there was one bastion that remained unconquered by the MBAs for the longest. One last holdout – hardcore finance. Sitting at the apex of this pristine castle were the chartered accountants. Crunching numbers and calling the shots, out of reach and beyond attack. Or at least so they thought.  Compliance used to be the moat for CAs, but companies need finance chiefs to see more than just the account books. They prefer proactive risk analysis, strategy, and financial planning. So, the generalist MBAs, with microscope in one eye and telescope in the other, look more attractive for the job.  The MBA army has arrived at the CFO gates. The attack is real and from all sides – on curriculum, on relevance, and on pay packages. Will the accounting purists be able to hold the fort and defend themselves against the mighty army of MBAs?  In this episode, I spoke to the best and brightest CFOs in our country, especially the ones who have done both a CA and an MBA – PayU India's CFO Arvind Agarwal; OYO's CFO Abhiskek Gupta; and co-founder and CFO of Cars24, Ruchit Aggarwal – to get an on-ground perspective. Tune in to find out more. This episode was written, produced, and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran. Write to her to become a part of Cost to Company.

25 April 2023 26m and 26s


Amazon and Meta are wrong about managers.

Amazon and Meta are wrong about managers.

In the last few months alone, Amazon, Meta, and Salesforce announced that they were going to begin the process of flattening their organisations. That they were going to have fewer and fewer hierarchies in their organisations. Fewer hierarchies means fewer managers. The pattern here appears to be that in tough economic times, when efficiency becomes paramount, businesses are rethinking their need for managers. And concluding that they don’t need that many. Because managers are expensive, and then you need managers to manage managers. And people to manage paying, looking after, and hiring those managers. And if you have self-motivated, ambitious, and disciplined lower-level employees, why do you need managers to manage them? Are we not capable of self-management? Why would you layer on unnecessary bureaucracy that only slows a business down? We spoke to three experts about this. And learnt that hierarchies and layering are essential to a business based on its complexity. A more complex business will always need more managers, no matter the economy. And that the reason we are undermining the role of managers in this present moment isn’t because we need them less and less. It’s because all the managers around us are just so bad. This episode was written, produced and hosted by Sneha Vakharia. Write to her to become a part of Cost to Company.

17 April 2023 33m and 59s


Vibe Check: Gen Z on what Gen Z wants

Vibe Check: Gen Z on what Gen Z wants

You've heard about them. You've worked with them. You've thoughts around them. But have you really heard from them? In this episode, I speak to Kaavyya Kesarwani (Growth & Community, Juno), Sherina Poyyail (Policy professional, Ex: The Quint), Bhavya Narula (Founding team, GrowthX), Sindhu Shivaprasad (Chief of Staff, Obvious) and Shashank Baliga (Writer, a major OTT platform) to understand what the 'new kids on the block' think about careers, workplaces, and whatever else happens in between. Subscribe to The Ken: https://the-ken.com/ Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

10 April 2023 30m and 9s


Here's how to empathise with your manager to get what you want

Here's how to empathise with your manager to get what you want

Here are some messages Cost to Company has received over the past months. “I believe working with GenZ is the toughest thing I do at work.  They look at their jobs as a means to the next job. This has dramatically reduced their qualitative output, even if their quantitative output is enough. “ “Workplace hierarchy is its absurd with GenZs”.  “There is an increasing gap between values of older generation and new generation of knowledge workers”.  “There is a huge mismatch in expectations that millennials have in the workplace.” From this vantage point, It sounds like generations are tussling it out on the floors of workplaces, each resentful and angry at the other.  We decided to dig deeper.  And we found that the real story hear is not about GenZ’s and millenials, but that many managers,  are struggling to manage a generation shaped by a pandemic. Anyone working with the newest, freshest interants to the workforce, is tasked with getting work out of those who were young and most impressionable thought some of the most traumatic moments in our collective history.  In this episode of Cost to Company we talk to managers who are coping with these changes. We find out what would make their lives easier, what they’re looking for in their colleagues. If at the end of this episode, you can empathise better with your manager, and have learned how to work with them to get what you need, then we will consider this episode a success.

3 April 2023 37m and 48s


Your new colleague is a part-timer

Your new colleague is a part-timer

A meaty part-time role may seem like the best of most worlds.  Your workload is relatively lesser. You have more time to spare. The money might be decent too.  One major downside of the part-time experience though is that you lose out on important benefits such as paid leaves and health insurance.  Or... do you? In this episode, I speak to Saurabh Arora (Co-founder and CTO, Plum), Michelle P. (Communications professional + entrepreneur), and Naren (Independent software consultant) to understand why there’s been a rise in the number of part-timers, and why your new colleague might just to be a part-timer too.  Subscribe to The Ken: https://the-ken.com/ This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

27 March 2023 26m and 10s


Special episode: how work and workplaces have changed in 30 weeks.

Special episode: how work and workplaces have changed in 30 weeks.

In this special episode of Cost to Company, the tables turn. Snigdha interviews CTC hosts Sneha and Shreevar about how work and workplaces have changed in the last thirty weeks. The short version: they’ve changed dramatically. This episode is the long version of that answer. Sneha takes us into the evolving relationship between the employee and employer, into how power has shifted in response to larger shifts in the economy, just in the past seven months. And how that has changed the way we work.  Shreevar talks about how careers have changed in response; and what a resilient, enduring career now looks like.  If there’s one episode of CTC you listen to, this is it.

20 March 2023 52m and 14s


What's It Like Working For A 'Frugal' Company in 2023?

What's It Like Working For A 'Frugal' Company in 2023?

Everybody is cutting costs.  Not because they want to. But because they have to.  A few months ago, edtech giant Unacademy announced that they were making frugality as one of their ‘core values’ to focus on profitability.  But can you really be a frugal company if it’s not in your DNA from the very beginning? In this episode, I speak to Somnath Mukherjee (AVP Business, Zerodha), Rahul Deorah (Finance Lead, Dezerv), and Kavya Jain (Product Manager, FreeUp) to find out what its like working in a frugal company.  And why every company can’t be frugal, even if they want to.  Subscribe to The Ken: https://the-ken.com/ Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

13 March 2023 29m and 47s


The interns are rising.

The interns are rising.

Internships are booming.  Internshala has been reporting jumps of between 30 and 80 percent jumps in internships listed by businesses year on year, depending on which year you look at. The same data says that more and more businesses are offering paid internships. Demand for interns is going up. And if you ask recruiters, they’ll say that the number of internship applicants is also going up. Supply of interns is meeting its demand. Both sides of the market are growing. And because of this, workplaces and careers are changing. The fundamental lines we’ve always known and understood between education and career, university then job, those lines are blurring. In many cases, interns are almost indistinguishable from entry level employees, both to their employers and to themselves.  This is making our workplaces younger, more innovative, and a little bit more prone to bursts of hormones, than ever before.

6 March 2023 24m and 46s


IT Employees Are Finally Unionising. But There's A Problem.

IT Employees Are Finally Unionising. But There's A Problem.

Gone are the days when unions were something that only caught the fancy of the blue collar workforce.  After a slew of unending layoffs, white collar employees in the IT sector are finally waking up to the bells of unionisation.  But it’s not without a myriad of unobvious roadblocks.  The path to collective bargaining wasn’t easy. But no one knew it would be this hard.  In this episode, I speak to Sreyan Chatterjee (Lawyer/Researcher; Ex-Reuters), Harpreet Singh Saluja (Founding Member, Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate) and Suman Dasmahapatra (National Convenor, All India IT & ITeS Union) to understand more about the treacherous journey towards white collar unionisation.  This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria (@shreevz)

27 February 2023 33m and 59s


Moonlighting, not for money, but to upskill.

Moonlighting, not for money, but to upskill.

There’s a specific idea we have about moonlighting:  a trend that emerged in the pandemic.  Engineers tasked with sitting at home and delivering their product saw that their skills were so valuable, that it was possible to extract more money out of them by working in two places at once. So a person would either consult with multiple organizations on the side, or work in more businesses than one, using the skills they had already, to extract more income out of it. But this episode, what we’re talking about is entirely different.  This is moonlighting not to extract more money for the skills you already have, but moonlighting to demonstrate new skills and new experience. This is moonlighting to stay relevant. And it turns out, even those with most professional experience find that they have to do it. To survive.

20 February 2023 30m and 50s


The Golden Era of 'Work From Anywhere' Is Over

The Golden Era of 'Work From Anywhere' Is Over

What was once touted as the biggest work trend to emerge from the pandemic, is on its way out. Companies are slowly but surely realising that the 'work from anywhere' model isn't sustainable in the long run. Or even in the short run, in some cases. Meesho, for one, had announced an extravagant WFA policy in February 2022. They scrapped it only a few months later. But it's not just the employers who're putting the final nail in the coffin. It's the employees too.  In this episode, I speak to Joel D'Souza, (Program Manager- Culture and Talent at Headout), Aditi Agrawal (Management Consultant at a Big 4 firm), and Saurabh Deep Singla (CHRO, upGrad) to find out how the golden era of work from anywhere is over. Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

13 February 2023 19m and 29s


Bombay is running out of talent.

Bombay is running out of talent.

Earlier this month, Cost to Company received a striking message from a Ken subscriber called Uzma Rushdi. She wrote, “Mumbai is suffering from a lack of new talent inflow. Unless there are dramatic changes it will be Calcutta in 20 years :(” Around the same time another thing happened. A group of 35 startups in Mumbai created something called TEAM (Technology  Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai), with the the pointed goal to reinvigorate Brand Mumbai.  But what happened to Brand Mumbai that it needs reinvigorating? This then became our hypothesis for this episode of Cost to Company. Is Mumbai dying? Is it going to become Calcutta in the next twenty years? Is it going to be a city that the most talented professionals leave for better opportunities? And is the TEAM one effort to stop that from happening? I’m Sneha, your host, and this week we are going to interview four, true lovers of Bombay, founders, CEOs, one product manager, and Uzma, and ask them where is their city of dreams, where is their maximum city, headed now?

6 February 2023 29m and 37s


How Are Companies Jumping The Invisible Gap Between Offer Acceptance and Joining Dates?

How Are Companies Jumping The Invisible Gap Between Offer Acceptance and Joining Dates?

In 2023, amidst the thick of the layoff season, you'd think that 'employee ghosting' (a phenomenon where prospective employees don't end up joining an organisation without any providing any communication) is a thing of the past. But that's quite not true. Although in a reduced state as compared to 2021, ghosting still exists. Companies and their HR professionals are coming up with some ingenious way to jump the 'invisible gap' that exists between offer acceptance and joining date, where most of this ghosting occurs. In this episode of Cost to Company, I speak to Mohammed Sufiyan Sait (Director - People Success, Toplyne; Co-founder, The Talent Deck), Sanam Rawal (Founding Partner, MetaMorph), and Sairam Krishnan (Founding Team, Atomicwork; Ex-Accel, Ex-Freshworks) to find out how. Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

30 January 2023 30m and 46s


Executive coaching is true luxury.

Executive coaching is true luxury.

A good executive coach with many years of experience, working in an Indian metro city, typically costs between 20 thousand rupees to a lakh a session. There are multiple reasons for this. First, training to be a certified coach is expensive. Second, executive coaches work with such a niche, small, group of clients, so they get to and need to charge to the world. But this, the steep price tag, informs so much about executive coaching. The price tag shapes who gets to go to an executive coach. It informs the kinds of problems executive coaching tends to solve. That price tag is also why we understand so little about executive coaching. If you’d like to participate in Cost to Company, please fill in the typeform here.

23 January 2023 30m and 38s


What This Year’s Appraisal Season Is Trying To Tell You

What This Year’s Appraisal Season Is Trying To Tell You

The winds of appraisal season seem all too familiar.  HRs deciding the budget for the cycle.  Employees frantically trying to put their best tasks forward on a scrappy Google document at the last minute.  Managers bracing themselves to negotiate pay hikes with their reportees. And HR.  But this year, things are looking slightly different. With the current economic situation, some companies have ‘indefinitely postponed’ appraisals. Some aren’t increasing base pay and thinking of unique ways to reward and retain their best talent, while some are using appraisals as a precursor to future layoffs.  But, as you’ll find out through the course of this episode, it’s not all dark and gloomy.  In this episode I speak to Vibin Baburajan (Ex-Freshworks), Bhavya Arora (Talent and Culture Partner @ Outplay) and Kanika Singal (Ex-McKinsey; Ex-Levi Strauss & Co.) to understand how appraisals this year might be different than usual.  And what the appraisal season is trying to tell you.  Tap here if you want to become a part of the show.  Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

16 January 2023 24m and 15s


A career in delivery tech is a ticket out of India

A career in delivery tech is a ticket out of India

This episode is about a group of Indians, who worked in food delivery and ecommerce startups in India. Now they work in food delivery and ecommerce businesses around the world. Starting with Jakarta and Singapore, but now also Seoul, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Buenos Aires, and Riyadh. We’re going to interview three such people, and ask them how and why they moved. What they found there. And what is that aspirational thing they’ve been chasing. And spoiler alert: it's not for the money. And to be clear, we are talking about this because it is happening, not randomly, or sporadically, but systematically. And it is going to happen a whole lot more, in other industries and in other forms, that we haven’t yet seen. To participate in the Cost to Company podcast, fill the form here.

9 January 2023 28m and 1s


The Biggest Hiring Trend in 2023? Skill-Shifting.

The Biggest Hiring Trend in 2023? Skill-Shifting.

For the past 19 episodes, we at CTC have spoken about hiring in many shapes and forms. But what do the numbers tell us? And more importantly, what do the numbers hide? To kick things off this year, we spoke to Ruchee Anand, Senior Director of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, who shared some data-driven insights around hiring in 2023. Why are some women leaders going the self-hiring way? What is 'The Great Mismatch'? Talent pools are getting bigger, but is that really a good thing? Listen in to find out. Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

2 January 2023 26m and 39s


Your HR is being eaten by software

Your HR is being eaten by software

Tasked with keeping us together and happy, the advocates for employees in most organizations are usually in the HR department. The people we complain to when management systems break, when there's a sexual harassment complaint, when we aren't receiving the recognition and reward we deserve, they're usually in HR. But the universe of HR is experiencing a moment of transition. Inventive SAAS products are being built to solve HR functions. HR tech is reducing human intervention, or removing it altogether.  This is changing the nature of HR itself. Which, in turn, has the additional consequence of changing how we work.   If you have episode ideas or interesting new changes in the workplace, or hacks people are using to navigate it, fill in the typeform here, and feature in an episode with us!

19 December 2022 28m and 43s


The Hiring Freeze Is An Opportunity

The Hiring Freeze Is An Opportunity

Unlike its dubious cousin 'the layoffs', there's not much brouhaha around the hiring freeze. And with good reason. Most hiring freezes are unofficial. They're never really revealed to the world. But that's not to say that the freeze hasn't gripped Indian companies. What if the hiring freeze is an opportunity for the employees? Is it a faster way to grow within the ranks since the jobs outside have dried up? Or is it just a race to the bottom? Are employers taking notice too?  Read Vanita's story by tapping here: https://the-ken.com/the-employee-employer-paradox-layoffs-everywhere-but-hiring-still-a-problem/ Fill in the Typeform to become a part of the show: https://theken.typeform.com/costtocompany Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

12 December 2022 25m and 4s


Why are crypto's biggest believers leaving crypto companies?

Why are crypto's biggest believers leaving crypto companies?

A group  of men set out to build a Brave New World. A world with new ideals. A world where the old structures of power are destroyed, and newer ones, more fair, more transparent, rise from the ashes. A brighter world, a better world. They dream of community and belonging. Eventually they live long enough to watch the new world become so much like the old. They watch their heroes fall from grace. They see the weaknesses in the system, they see their brothers exploit them. They watch innocent people suffer. They watch the powerful cause that suffering. That world is crypto, and this is an episode where we talk to three believers who have left the industry. And we ask them, what do they still believe in? If you have episode ideas, a trend in businesses that nobody else has heard of, or something new and inventive happening in your workplace, write to us on this form here. If you have any other thoughts and feelings, write in to us at podcasts@the-ken.com.

5 December 2022 26m and 31s


 How To Take A Career Break Without Hurting Your Career

How To Take A Career Break Without Hurting Your Career

Breaks always seem tempting.  But in a job market that is as brittle as it is in late 2022, does a career break even make sense? Even if the times were better, what happens after you take a career break? Does your career ‘rise from the ashes’ once you’re back? Or does the pause affect your growth in the long run? In this episode, I speak to Vatsal Sanghvi (Consultant, Omidyar Network India*; former Category Manager, Flipkart) and Issac John (former Head of Marketing, Discovery India; former Marketing Head, Puma India) on how they bounced back from their sabbaticals. Two people with starkly different experiences, but oddly similar outlooks.  *Omidyar Network India is an investor in The Ken.  Tell us what you'd like to hear in the next episode of CTC? Please fill this form, it won't take more than a minute. If we like your idea, you may get invited to the show! Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria.

28 November 2022 27m and 34s


The Great Layoff Tamasha

The Great Layoff Tamasha

The CEO of Better.com fired hundreds on a Zoom call. The CEO of HyperSocial posted a selfie of himself crying while he did it. Byju Raveendran wrote to his employees saying that he would be laying off 5 percent of them but that he was losing 5 percent of Byju, meaning himself. This was so poorly received that it became a moment in pop culture of its own. Unacademy laid off 125 people in April. In July they committed to no further layoffs. And then they laid off 350 more in November. And then Amazon laid off 10,000 employees last week. The communication was faceless, private, and clinical. It has been called inhumane. Which brings us to the question, is there a good way to lay off employees? Does such a thing even exist? In this episode of Cost to Company, Shreevar and Sneha interview Karthik Srinivasan, behemoth of corporate communications in India, to ask, are there best practices for communicating a layoff? And if so, what are they? Tell us what you'd like to hear in the next episode of CTC! Please fill this form, it won't take more than a minute. If we like your idea, you may get invited to the show too!

21 November 2022 36m and 27s


The To-Do List Is Dead. Long Live The Calendar.

The To-Do List Is Dead. Long Live The Calendar.

In a world where your to-do list doesn't seem to ever end, should you create task lists or block 'chunks' of time? More importantly, what does your manager at work want? We speak to Arpitha Desai (Legal & Public Policy professional, ex-Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas), Tara Khandelwal (Founder at Bound, ex-Penguin Random House) and Sachin Jaiswal (Director of Product Management at Swiggy) to find out. Tell us what you'd like to hear in the next episode of CTC! Please fill this form, it won't take more than a minute. If we like your idea, you may get invited to the show too!  Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

14 November 2022 33m and 29s


Sexual Harassment is not a compliance issue. It is a culture issue.

Sexual Harassment is not a compliance issue. It is a culture issue.

The Metoo movement normalised calling out bad behaviour, but it concerned itself much more with naming and shaming individual harassers. Not the workplaces that emboldened them. Not the cultures that created conditions for it to happen. But sexual harassment isn’t an interpersonal issue. It’s workplace issue. It’s the organisations that must be held responsible for behaviour tolerated by its employees. 25 years after the first Vishakha Guidelines were passed, we discuss the ways in which the laws remain insufficient to create safe workplaces. We probe to uncover where the gaps remain. And then we find solutions.  If you have thoughts, feelings or episode ideas, or want to participate in the podcast, please fill in this typeform.

7 November 2022 36m and 48s


What Really Goes On At The Founder's Office?

What Really Goes On At The Founder's Office?

The roots of the founder’s office may lie in bureaucracy, but the allure of it has managed to seep into the world of business.   Almost suddenly, the smartest and brightest minds from some of the country’s top B-schools are embracing a whole new kind of an obscure yet attractive career track. ‘Thoroughbred Generalists’ (as one of our guests describes himself), are quickly picking up roles at the Founder’s Office.  What do people at the founder’s office even do? What are the problems that they solve? What are the problems that they go through? And fundamentally, what really goes on at the founder’s office? We speak to Ramya S, former Chief of Staff at Ola and Founder’s Office at Myntra; Adwate Kumar, former Founder’s Office at CoinDCX and Klub; Jayesh Bhatia, Founder’s Office at Ditto Insurance, and Avichal Pugalia, Chief of Staff at Foxtale, to go to the depths of this little-known function of the org. As it turns out, it’s a little bit of everything. And a whole lot of nothing. Tell us what you'd like to hear in the next episode of CTC! Please fill this form, it won't take more than a couple of minutes.  Hosted, Written, & Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

31 October 2022 34m and 28s


Businesses are Going to Therapy to Find Themselves

Businesses are Going to Therapy to Find Themselves

CEOs, executives and business leaders have discovered therapy as a weapon to build better products. There are now therapists who are specialised in working with founders and business leaders. There are now therapists stepping into roles that would have been otherwise led by HR. This is therapy not just as a health care benefit. This is therapy to build better businesses. This is therapy as a strategy tool to get more out of their employees. To hit goals faster, better, and with less collateral damage. In this episode of Cost to Company, we talk to Piyush Shah, co-founder of the InMobi Group, about how therapy helped him and other business leaders “unlock” their ambitions, and build better teams. We also talk to Veena Sethuraman, VP, Learning & Organisational Development at InMobi on how this journey transpired. And we talk to Aakriti Joanna, founder and CEO of Kaha Mind, and Esha Pahuja Verma of Trijog, about how demand for these services have skyrocketed in the last two years. If you have thoughts, opinions and episode ideas, become a part of the podcast by writing in to us in the form here. If you’d like to pass on the gift of knowledge this Diwali, check out The Ken’s diwali gifting options here.

18 October 2022 30m and 47s


Your Hefty Job Title Is Weighing You Down

Your Hefty Job Title Is Weighing You Down

Titles are a funny thing.  In organisations, they’re supposed to denote the work that you do and your position in the hierarchy.  But more realistically, they’re a currency.  A currency used to trade respect.  And when ‘inflation’ strikes, this ‘currency’ is bound to show some side-effects.  In the Indian context, startups aren’t the only ones indulging in title inflation. It’s the larger corporations too.  So if everybody’s the culprit, who’s the victim? In this episode of Cost to Company, we speak to Nikita, ex-manager at a major mobility startup, Harold D’Souza, Director at WalkWater Talent and Diksha*, an HR professional working at a Big 4 consulting firm, who tell us how ‘title inflation’ may seem trivial at first, but can have lingering effects on your career growth.  *Name changed to protect identity.  Tell us the things happening at your workplace: new patterns you've observed, changes that nobody's talking about, or even ideas and hacks that revolutionise how we work. The form is linked here: https://theken.typeform.com/costtocompany?typeform Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

10 October 2022 33m and 58s


The Prisoner's Dilemma of Unlimited Leaves

The Prisoner's Dilemma of Unlimited Leaves

Myntra announced unlimited wellness leave. So did Meesho. So did Gojek. Netflix brought its global unlimited leave policy to India. Makemytrip announced uncapped leaves. As did Inmobi.  A number of smaller startups like Nova Benefits, Pega Systems, Zuddl, have all announced unlimited leaves. Even The Ken has an unlimited leave policy. And you would think that in the middle of the Great Resignation, startups that are giving unlimited leave would see the number of leaves taken go up. You would think that in an economy of people starved of rest, employees would take all the opportunities they’re given to take a break. But that’s not what’s happening. Anecdotally and empirically, evidence is telling  us, again and again, that unlimited leaves are leading to fewer leaves taken. Which brings us to the question, why? What’s broken?  This week we’re going to talk about the Prisoner’s Dilemma of Unlimited Leaves. Tell us the things happening at your workplace: new patterns you've observed, changes that no-one's talking about, ideas and hacks that revolutionise how we work. The form is linked here: https://theken.typeform.com/costtocompany

3 October 2022 35m and 3s


Why Are Tech Companies Designing Your Farewell Experience?

Why Are Tech Companies Designing Your Farewell Experience?

Tell us your story ideas around careers & workplaces and become a part of the show: https://theken.typeform.com/costtocompany Goodbyes are never easy. But they were never this important either. In a market where great talent is scarce, companies are paying top-dollar to ‘offboard’ their employees in the best way possible: ensuring that their exit is as smooth and uplifting as their entry.  We speak to Kartik Mandaville, CEO of Springworks and the Arun Vigneswaran, Head of People Practice at xTo10x. While their methods might be starkly different, they’re essentially chasing the same goal: retaining their current employees and maintaining strong ties with the ones who’ve left the ship.  In this episode, we'll find out how offboarding is much more than just writing a farewell mail and returning your MacBook Air that you had gotten all too used to.  If your culture is scaled, your employee experience metrics are measurable and your offboarding process is seamless, you’ll not just have ex-employees.  But brand ambassadors.  Are other companies finally starting to take notice? Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

26 September 2022 35m and 28s


The Product Manager is a Politician

The Product Manager is a Politician

Every product manager has their own voice, their own style. In the beginning, it’s all about gut instinct, intuition and understanding why humans do the things they do. From that point on, the paths digress. Some communicate as little as they need, some bring all stakeholders on the table with fullest transparency, some bring them on the table for the What and Why but not the How. Some play good cops and bad cops, some dispense information very sparingly, some play with the information they have to dispense.  Like Sardar Patel, and like Narendra Modi, every product manager has a voice, a method of rallying people, of building a narrative, and of finding what makes them tick. Just like every politician.

19 September 2022 39m and 29s


What Does Gen Z Really Want From The Office?

What Does Gen Z Really Want From The Office?

“It’s a chicken and egg problem, honestly.” - Abhishek, a management consultant who recently shifted to Bengaluru.  As the pandemic slowly begins to recede, many offices are opening up. Employees are (voluntarily and involuntarily) shifting back to cities which house their office spaces.  But they’re not coming back to work just yet...because their colleagues aren’t either.  There is intent, but little incentive.  When work can happen from anywhere, what does Gen Z actually want from the physical office space? Collaboration? Peace of mind? Increased productivity? Beer? The answers might surprise you.  Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

12 September 2022 22m and 53s


It's Time to Build Your Brag Document

It's Time to Build Your Brag Document

Bruce Lee says this utterly enjoyable thing. “Showing off, is the fools idea of glory”. But there’s also the core human need to be seen, understood, recognised and thought worthy by those around us.  And when it comes to work, there's material benefit, money, promotions and growth, that can be gotten with just the right amount of showing off. So what is the right amount of showing off at work? What is worthy of recognition and what isn’t? And what are some of the best ways to have our achievements, seen, understood, recognised and rewarded?  This is an episode about the brag document.

5 September 2022 28m and 41s


Middle Management Is Silently Cracking

Middle Management Is Silently Cracking

“As middle management, we know for a fact that there's really nothing much in our control.” - Ishaan*, former manager at a prominent e-learning startup. In the 4th episode of Cost to Company, we’ll speak to four middle managers who’ll tell us, no holds barred, about what it feels like to be stretched from both ends in an organisation, during an unforgiving year that has inflicted mass layoffs due to the slowdown.  They’ll talk to us about their struggles, their strife, their confusion. And hopefully, some solutions too.  How did we get here? Why is the role of a middle manager particularly difficult during a downturn? Do we even need them in the first place? Listen to the episode as we try to navigate these difficult questions with interesting answers. *Name changed on request to protect identity  If you like our podcast, or have thoughts, feelings or story ideas, write to us at podcasts@the-ken.com. Or share, retweet, and follow @thekenweb Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

29 August 2022 20m and 20s


Trailer

Trailer

Cost to Company is a brand new podcast by The Ken. We tell you how your workplace is changing before you hear it on slack. Hosted by Sneha Vakharia and Shreevar Chotaria, each week Cost to Company brings to you a fresh narrative, told from multiple perspectives, around significant but underreported aspects of our work lives. Hit the follow button to listen to it first!

26 August 2022 1m and 8s


The Cult of Notion

The Cult of Notion

Google docs has satisfied customers. Evernote has happy users. Jira has grateful managers.  But Notion has Notion Nation. It has evangelists, Notion certified Ambassadors, Notion certified badges and Notion certified Champions. It has a subreddit with 220 thousand subscribers, groups in 32 different counties, on Telegram, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Discord. The India chapter of notion has its own logo. Which is the N of Notion with the Ashoka Chakra behind it. We welcome you to the Cult of Notion. You can find Ibrahim’s Notion document about the Cult of Notion here. You can check out Notion India’s Telegram page here. You can see minutes of India’s first Notion meetup in Hyderabad here. You can see Neerja’s Notion page here and Shashwat’s Notion page here. If you like our podcast, or have thoughts, feelings or story ideas, write to us at podcasts@the-ken.com. Or share, retweet, and follow @thekenweb.

22 August 2022 25m and 13s


Who Gets Laid Off First?

Who Gets Laid Off First?

It was the day of Wasim’s engagement. He was wearing his favourite kurta for the big occasion. It was the first time, in many days, that he was genuinely happy.  Just then, he gets a call from Byju’s HR team: “We regret to inform you that your employment with Byju’s has been terminated.”  If 2021 saw the high of the VC influx, Bored Ape NFT projects, and salary hikes; 2022 is going through a slowdown, a crypto winter, and thousands of job losses.  Who bears the brunt of a global meltdown? Who will survive this winter that’s been around for far too long now? Why do layoffs even happen in the first place? Which companies have to let their valuations slip and let their employees go?  And within these companies, who gets laid off first? In episode 2 of Cost to Company, we explore these questions as we speak to founders, HR mavericks, career counsellors, and most importantly: people who’ve been laid off.  The answers aren’t easy, but the perspectives are worth listening to.  If you like our podcast, or have thoughts, feelings or story ideas, write to us at podcasts@the-ken.com.  Or share, retweet, and follow @thekenweb.

15 August 2022 20m and 50s


Your Salary is Not Private

Your Salary is Not Private

On Feb 11th of this year Subhash Chaudhury, CTO and founder of Dukaan, posted the salaries of nine new hires. That tweet went viral. The very next day, the CTO of Chingari, also posted salaries of six new hires. This tweet also went viral.  Salaries are the one part of our jobs shrouded in secrecy. We know, without anyone specifically ever telling us, that they are not to be ordinarily shared with our colleagues. We don’t want to be impolite. And businesses like paying as little as they need to. And here you have two businessmen, breaking that cardinal rule. In this, our pilot episode of Cost to Company, we will explore why these tweets were posted, and what happens when you break this cardinal rule of business.  We will see what this experiment - the publishing of a salary - does to a business. Does it make salaries more fair and equitable? And is the relationship between employee and employer — bound by goodwill and a confidential fiduciary contract — changed for good? If you like our podcast, or have thoughts, feelings or story ideas, write to us at podcasts@the-ken.com. Or share, retweet, and follow @thekenweb.

8 August 2022 39m and 53s

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