News & Events

SMES Must Change Business Operations To Prepare For Recovery In Digital Age

Kuala Lumpur – Whist the Government is to be thanked for its most recent aid package under the National People’s Well-being and Economic Recovery Package/PEMULIH worth RM150 billion, the ‘war cry’ is for everyone, particularly SMEs to no longer remain complacent. SMEs must start preparing for early business recovery by end of 2021, or even by the third quarter of the year. If no action from them, they may face another bleak year or possibly go out of business altogether.

As more and more of Malaysia’s population become vaccinated to curb the spread of Covid-19, the usual everyday life, business operations and social activities can hopefully go back to an almost normal situation by year end. Elaborated Gajendra Balasingham, the group chief executive officer of GKK Consultants Sdn Bhd, a leading ASEAN regional Human Resources training consultancy, “We are now in the Digital Age.

The Industrial Era is long past. After 16 months of being in this lockdown, enough is enough. “We cannot blame, groan and mourn about the uncertainty of the future. Nobody could predict such an unexpected and unpredictable worldwide event. Although it was not forecast, we must be prepared for similar disruptions in future.

“The Government has extended so many financial aid packages for different people and businesses to get back on an almost normal footing. Take advantage of these offers and make use of today’s ample time to seriously re engineer office dynamics with new digital technologies in place, coupled with the team’s skills competency and resources, and be ready to work in a resilient environment.

“With a direct fiscal injection of RM10 billion, every individual, SMEs, companies, associations and even NGOs owe it to themselves to work their level best towards a ‘fast recovery modus operandi’. So many avenues have been offered for people and SMEs to receive financial aid and become self-reliant,” underlined Gajendra.

Even new graduates and unregistered SOCSO contributors can register at MYFuture Jobs to receive allowances that would help them cope for a short-term period. Companies should now consider a whole, new mind-set wherein their teams, office systems should blend and interact with new technology implementation.

When the first lockdown was announced on March 17, 2020, within a matter of a few hours, GKK had lost all its business contracts for the next few months. The uncertain future saw all training sessions cancelled, and the future looked extremely bleak. Gajen was quick to act and implemented GKK’s new proprietary software called AGILE; he collaborated with his staff and worked out many new operating procedures.

An ambitious five-day turnaround plan was implemented that stabilised staff’s morale and work flow, followed by two weeks of growth regeneration. With a united team bonding to achieve new sales-cum-marketing goals, it was easy to embrace and implement change within such a short period of time.

Many new initiatives were being churned up, wherein “GKK quickly reached out to our international partners, shifted all the training programmes fully online, even with utterly no or little experience. We also had to opportunise our presence online and digitally too. Clients were informed with proper processes and procedures well laid out.

“The staff’s focus was amazingly stable to drive this transformation. Everyone was managed exceedingly well and I did a ‘servant leadership’ role to ensure that their needs were taken care of Daily calls helped keep the team united. Cutting their salaries was the last resort. If the sales could be achieved and sustained, then salary payment was not entertained at all.

“However, we were not fully out of the woods yet. We had to transform ourselves to handle career development and reskilling for the retrenched workforce and job placement for them.

“Working with key government agencies, we worked and reskilled some 400 retrenched individuals. This was done over a period of one year. And we were able to place 150 individuals back into the workforce.

“As GKK had prior experience in training, it was easier to transform into this digital arena and cater to new market segments in a big way. Fast forward to 2021 and after almost 16 months of the Covid Pandemic, GKK has grown its consultancy to an 18-staff strength, with even more new initiatives being implemented.

“With the right matrix and key KPIs enforced, we are on track to achieve and embrace even more new initiatives in this Digital Network Age. Thus, our advice to all SMEs would be not to waste any more time moping but to start reinventing their business operations; changes are good as they are the new constant, “ concluded Gajen.