Tech Mahindra: ‘Speak up before you take it out on people.’ Former Tech Mahindra CEO has advice for tech bosses to fire employees


It’s been a particularly disappointing winter for tech companies around the world. Enterprises large and small have had to rationalize their costs, due to reduced demand for services. The tech-verse has seen a flood of exits and exits, from Google and Microsoft to Salesforce, Meta, and Twitter. The tech giant Google recently protested by laying off more than 12,000 workers. Microsoft has announced that it is laying off 10,000 employees.

Amid the current wave of layoffs that have seen Indian startups cut back on their workforce, an experienced voice from the Indian tech world shares his thoughts. Kiran Deshpande, CEO, Tech Mahindra identified the key issues facing the current situation.

In a LinkedIn post, Deshpande said one of the key drivers of the current crisis was “over-hiring”. “As for hiring that leads to layoffs when the chips are down,” he writes, “the layoffs at giant tech corporations are currently causing a shock wave around the world.”

The BITS-Pilani and IIT-Bombay alumnus, who was a case leader at Tech Mahindra for 5 years including the 2001 US breaststroke, urged tech CEOs to adopt a more pragmatic and equitable fiscal approach to de-risking. “Even when money is ringing, frugality is critical to running a tech business. The efficiency of software people is critical these days. For example, the underperformance of India’s #software community is often hidden behind price arbitrage,” he wrote.

Deshpande, founder of Mojo Networks, continued, “CEOs need to address this urgently or else a catastrophic failure or serious injury is not far away.”

He also wrote that “Boards and CEOs of global industrial giants should understand their social responsibilities.” Referring to corporate accountability, the former tech veteran said, “It’s time to ask questions about their roles and responsibilities over stock prices. And it can’t just be the country where these corporations are headquartered. Governments and lawmakers around the world need to get their hands on this.”

Finally, Desphande had a word of advice for all CEOs who find themselves in the hot seat. The corporate leader, who joined Tech Mahindra as CEO in June 1996, urged top bosses to show compassion to those facing the sack. His advice to tech leaders is: “Don’t give any publicity time, but talk to the crowd before you fire them. At least some courtesy, please!” Describing the “cruelty of the layoff,” he admitted that the job of a CEO is hard work and there is a high chance of making mistakes. But he urged all CEOs to maintain decency while doing their jobs.

“The job of a CEO is tough. He doesn’t always get everything right. Hiring can be overwhelming, but firing shouldn’t be so uncivilized,” he wrote.

Do you know someone who got a pink slip? Was the manager emotional when he broke the bad news? Let us know in the comments section.

Indian startups in zeal mode: 3 ways to cope if you’re given the pink slip

Indian startups in zeal mode: 3 ways to cope if you’re given the pink slip



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