Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Covid-19 and our biggest challenge as an IT recruitment firm in Malaysia

work fucking harder quote


Being in the recruitment industry, we have key access into many different types of businesses and industries. My job is literally to observe, learn and (when needed) advice other business owners and key decision makers accordingly. 

During the MCO order caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there's one bad habit I noticed many business owners committing - myself included. 

Because this is a crisis, the first thing we do is take charge of the business. 

And by taking charge, we literally swallow up all responsibilities and tasks related to the business' day-to-day operations. 

Why do we do this even though we know it's not humanly possible to take on the work of a hundred people all by yourself? 

Because we built the business up from nothing. Before us, there was no business so naturally we don't understand that the end goal for any business should be even without the founder, the business must continue running. 

Because our team members are precious and rather than putting them in front to take the brunt of the work, our natural instinct is to protect them, just in case they fail and the whole business fails with them. 

Sheepishly, it took me two weeks into MCO to realise that instead of spending my time strategically planning our next move while we were all stuck at home, I was deep in the trenches interviewing candidates and arranging interviews like I was a recruiter instead of the leader of the best team of  IT recruiters in Malaysia. 

I am a competent recruiter, but is this really a good use of my time? 

As a business owner I know that my daily work should contribute to the longterm business goals 3-5 years ahead. 

We all know this as a fact and yet ... 

I thought that if I continued to close sales I would feel better but even after I did close sales and felt good about making money from home, the worry and anxiety kept gnawing at me. It just wasn't enough.

I needed to do more.

I needed to work more.

And somehow this translated into doing everything, all by myself.

Sure, we had daily team meetings where we all kept each other updated on our tasks but truth be told I was more focused on myself and where I could make my next closing. My team probably wouldn't notice this because I have always been a steadfast leader, but for 10 days during the MCO I had completely forgotten that my job was to lead the company forward, not just do recruitment work.

If you stopped and ask me how my business is different now that we are post-MCO, I'll tell you that our services and quality of work remains at a high standard. On the outside nothing has changed. But I have changed. Somehow, bit by bit, even though it kills me to let go -

Like a parent who gives their teenage child keys to the car for the very first time -

I tell myself over and over again to trust my team, trust my people and believe that everyone understands how serious the situation is.


We work together, we eat together, we get rich together. We are in this together.

This is what I always say when I need to believe that my people have my back and have the best interest of the business at heart. We are together, we will rise together or we will go down this ship together.

Everyday without fail I still find myself powering up my Mac and wanting to shortlist candidates for a role. But I don't. Instead, I take out my clipboard and work on work that only I can do as a business owner to bring the business forward.

I don't know whether this strategy will work. Truth be told I still think I need to be down in the trenches working side by side with the rest of the team.

This is a new Pam, a Pam who is truly challenged to trust her team with her business. This continues to be the biggest challenge Covid-19 has put in front of me. (I mean, you guys know Pam has absolutely no problems staying at home all day...)

We will do this together and we will be stronger. If you want to go far, go together.



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