Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
In 1975, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac) were performing their hit song Landslide on stage. Backlit, Nicks’ golden hair was framed by a halo, while Buckingham remained a silhouette in the background. They were singing about their failed romance, even occasionally smiling at each other.
This song is Quess Corp founder Ajit Isaac’s all-time favourite, he had told Outlook Business, in our 2019 Secret Diary series. “It is about coming to terms with the curveballs life throws at you,” he had said. It is about accepting it with grace and maybe even humming a tune, or strumming a guitar. Now, Isaac has been served a curveball. Quess was growing at a healthy clip, with FY17 to FY20’s revenue CAGR at 38%, till the ‘landslide’ slowed things down. The lockdown following the pandemic has hit staffing services (and Quess is the largest in this space in India) with companies trimming costs and letting go of temporary staff. Isaac’s company makes 79% (Q4FY20) of its money from workforce management, which is mostly staffing, and then skilling and other services. The rest of its revenue comes from operating asset management and technology solutions (See: A ‘hire’ purpose).
Isaac was introduced to flexible hiring when he was working with the first staffing company he had founded called PeopleOne Consulting (earlier Go4careers). One of their clients, the Sterlite Group, had wanted to flexi-hire for their optic-fibre-cable factory in Atlanta. Isaac observed how th