We say rising unemployment. We saw skilled people getting laid off but we felt helpless. So, we decided to do something

Retain The Star team

The current global pandemic of Covid-19 has spared no one. As per statistics, more than 100 mn people have faced the heat of unemployment so far due to a halt in business activities. The recovery in the second half of the year is very uncertain.

But there was a team of four startup professionals who decided not to crib and help the country’s workforce get out of this deadly unemployment. The story is about the digital and social initiative “ Retain the Star ” that uniquely identifies the opportunities and creates a win-win model for all the stakeholders.

Entire Retain The Star team works digitally

What is the idea of Retain The Star and how did it all start?

Tons of posts on LinkedIn of hapless fired employees bothered Dishi Jain, Founder of
TALOP.org. Over the last 6 years, she has helped start-ups and corporates in hiring
activities. She knew something has to be done about this grave situation. Few miles apart from Dishi in Gurgaon, Ankit Bansal, CEO of Parakh Online was in the same conundrum.

Ankit and Dishi, connected through a LinkedIn group, happened to discuss their common worry. Ankit soon came up with the concept of “Talent Loans” and Dishi instantly got excited by the idea. This was the kind of solution she was looking for the problem statement that was bothering her for a while. Ankit trusted Dishi’s instinct & experience to work on this idea.

You have to go out and start implementing the idea. An idea on paper will never fly

Ankit Bansal

The team knew that if on one side there are sectors like aviation and telecom that are firing to contain costs however on the other side there are sectors like e-commerce, education, and healthcare that has a strong need for a skilled workforce.

What is the solution/innovation they came up with to reduce unemployment due to COVID?

The basic idea is to help companies discuss or evaluate options apart from firing as a
cost-cutting measure. The team tried to understand if start-ups or large companies rather than firing employees are willing to loan their talent pool to companies who need a similar skill set for a specific time frame.

The team knew that the contractual market or flexible workforce as they would like to call is a huge space. Talent loan is a concept where a company provides its employees on a contract basis to other companies who are looking for a similar skill set. Team explains the advantages of loaning a talent:

  • Eases the burden of the permanent employer (lender) as it now just has to take care of the medical and insurance of loaned employees
  • Helps the employee retain at least some part of his monthly salary and full medical benefits
  • Assists the borrower employer with a temporary talent pool at a reduced cost for a sudden surge in demand for their product or services.

The concept creates a win-win situation for all three stakeholders (Lender, Employee, and Borrower) and as a result, reduce unemployment. The team has reached out to more than 200 companies and has received positive feedback regarding the concept. The exponentially increased engagement of the team with stakeholders on social media has further validated the concept.

If we can reduce unemployment in the market, we will consider it our biggest achievement

How does the team match the skill set between the borrower and the lender and therefore reduce unemployment?

The team is in the process of building a SaaS product where skill matching will happen through Artificial Intelligence. Currently, the skill sets are matched using SaaS tools like Zoho coupled with their prior experience in recruitment. Due to their extensive experience, team members are able to drill down the requirements of borrowers in a concise and clear manner.

What is the marketing communication strategy Retain the Star team has adopted?

Manish Jain, co-founder & marketing head at Retain The Star says that if not out of the box, their solution is certainly a novel idea. In all marketing communications benefits to all three stakeholders are communicated.

  • To a lender or borrower, communication is focused on the cost savings, the cost of hiring, firing, and training.
  • Similarly, for employees, with transferrable skills, the focus is on motivating the employees to take up the contractual jobs of their matching skillset for the time being to make ends meet.

In terms of outreach, Manish and the team are looking at the sectors that are hiring and pitching them their solution of borrowing employees from the sectors which are in stress. Although no reservations have been received from any stakeholder, the team is open to doing the tough conversation with employees if the lender asks them to do it. Retain the star team is committed to everything possible to reduce unemployment due to Covid.

In the end, we asked the team any advice for our entrepreneur readers.

Firstly don’t think about a revenue model on day 1 as it limits your creativity as an
entrepreneur. Instead, think about creating an impact, the revenue model will follow. The essence of a startup is more important than commercials.

Secondly never build a team on a friendship basis. Sometimes the idea never sees the light of the day. The conversation from startup moves easily to random talks. How you feel about an idea is more important than how you feel about the person.

Lastly, as entrepreneurs, we sometimes fall in love with our start-up. Stop considering your company as a baby, a common term in the startup world. Rather start considering yourself a doctor and your company as a patient. Try to analyze the problems and take appropriate measures to correct them from a neutral standpoint. Be adaptable. Be resilient. Ready to change and you will shine for sure.

We are on a mission to touch 10,000 lives before the end of the year”

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