Sutra #1: Operational excellence isn’t enough, the strategy is.

Our first Sutra is from Taufik Arief, founder & director of People Search Indonesia.

Don’t have the time to watch his interview? You can read (or listen to!) his top tips here.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I founded two business, and currently still manage both executive search & accounting service company ; also actively doing business matching activities and helping new foreign investment land in Indonesia and other ASEAN countries. 17 years in search practice. Involved in some networking club, actively writing articles in Global Recruiter Magazine.

What are your most recent accomplishments?

Got a mandate as ASIA and APAC Regional Director for NPA Worldwide,  delivered required metrix as member of global BOD and regional director. ASIA is the region with the highest satisfaction score around the world. Exceeded the target in terms of annual regional member growth.

Regular contributor in Global Recruiter Magazine, a global circulated recruitment news and magazine

Mandated as judge for APAC Recruitment Award

Got a mandate as Board Member of Jakarta Business Networking, successfully grew the membership and members engagement significantly.

Some public speaking related with the recruitment strategy, employer branding, both in Indonesia and Singapore

How have you been keeping busy through COVID-19 and the pandemic?

Remained in quarantine period until end of May (most probably will be extended). Some sectors, including retailers, school are closed. Except for certain industries, people have to work from home.

 We are busy with some search assignments, particularly in mining, infrastructure related and chemical sectors. Some other clients have suspended the search with unlimited time

Started doing employer branding training, and develop the market around ASIA, writing the book, and looking for e-publication

Start doing pro-bono outplacement service for “post-termination impact during the Pandemic”

Helping my partner in accounting service, we quickly develop new working system in virtual environment. We usually are very paper based industry and now all shifting.

Put more branding activities to both clients, candidates, business partners for both my companies

 Started conducting e-netwokring via zoom, with local business community

How do you see the world changing? What kinds of trends do you foresee, and how are you preparing for them?

Totally new for most of business and workers. Despite growing lately, but WFH practice has been just done by smaller number of professions compared to workforce population. Now everyone shall do it. As leader, we shall start accepting the reality and fully adept and to transform, and leaders shall enable their staff to do quick change as well.  

Quick change is not easy, especially when the staff behavior not yet compatible enough with WFH. WFH requires highly accountable, independent behavior. They probably not familiar with remote communication, team collaboration apps. At the same time, they need to learn how to juggle work and family life. Owner and management shall demonstrate much higher capability in leading and managing staff during this moment.

For PSI , we don’t see problem at all. We have done roaster system, as people just need to come to office 3 days/week. People are familiar with the right technologies to help us.

From now on, we might see some dramatic changes. Some can be still happened after Pandemic entirely or partly:

More employees will demand WFH, which is good for employer as long as productivity justified. Less office space, less commute, less transportation cost. This is also opportunity for both sides to save money

Changing in employment bahavior as people will focus on the matrix insted of physical presence. Both managerial and leadership will be more demanded.

Employment will be so much different. Time for companies to reduce fixed cost and stop relying on permanent employees.

More digitalised business development and branding process, including e-conference, e-networking, which is actually much more cost efficient.

What advice do you have for job-seekers who are looking to build their careers?

Clearly future staff shall be able to work in “virtual environment’, WFH. They shall install right behavior including being accountable, independent and having strong integrity. Must understand how to do effective communication remotely. Understand and practice communication, team collaboration application. Every job seeker shall have those DNAs in their professional life.

Employment will be so much different. Time for companies to reduce fixed cost and stop relying on permanent employees. Talent shall be more entrepreneural. Since Lehman Brother case, we witnessed  many American workers turned to be independent contractors, part timers, etc. We will experience this in our region

Talent shall understand what will be more required from them in the future, understand type of values they can bring in more lost lasting. AI will replace jobs except creative and complex works.

What’s your advice for HR managers and business leaders?

Am sure we have some HR Managers and Business leaders too –who may want to know the future of work is likely to be about. What’s your advice to them?

Some companies and workers will continue work in virtual working environment, WFH. Why? Because it’s cost efficient and has probability to be more productive. So it’s very important to install right behavior, apply right technology for the staff.   

Employment will be so much different. Time for companies to reduce fixed cost and stop relying on permanent employees. Start looking alternatives in contract-based employment, independent contractor, freelancers, strategic alliance, outsourcing etc

During this Pandemic , we finally understand that work matrix/KPI is much more important than presence. Team communication has to be built effectively. 

Managerial and leadership skill have to be built further.

Do you have any tips/tricks/skills for other recruiters to learn during this time?

For owners/Board/directors: think deeply in terms of your business strategy, perhaps this is the right time to revisit: client portfolio, product focus, specialities, resource management, etc

Recruiters: time to learn in surviving the business and your career. Learn to manage emotion and focus on the works.

Recruiters: don’t miss any placement! You might not get new assignments until next 3-4 months, so ensure placement done, extra work, extra hours. Reach out to more people to get business and do collaboration. NPA is perfect example to do collaboration

If you still have time, it’s good time for marketing, creating content video which can attract candidates and perhaps clients.

Improve business process, database, etc 

Any good examples/best practices you’d like to share?

Blue Ocean Shift, might be one of the best book we can read and study during this time. This is about how we do strategically address the present situation and in the future.

You can find the full interview here.