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Talent Talk: The COVID-19 Crisis Will End One Day. Then What?

businessman exiting
Right now, there isn’t a big difference among firms that will barely survive, those that will not make it, and those that will thrive. The trajectories of those three groups will quickly diverge, however, and it will be based on the decisions they take, which will be driven by their attitudes.

The fight against COVID-19 has been likened, rightfully, to a war, so I’m calling the day we declare victory V-C Day. I don’t think anyone has coined that yet so let the historians note it happened in PlasticsToday. As a side note, I floated Stuff-Gets-Back-to-Normal Day last week, but it lacked the simplicity needed to go viral.

I thought perhaps sharing what my company is doing to prepare for V-C Day could help other small businesses develop a strategy, and maybe you can share some ideas with me. Although my recruitment services business is very different from a small injection molder or color house, there are some things we all can do.

Image: Elnur/Adobe Stock

For us, the first thing is attitude. In 2008, half of all recruiters were laid off or forced to shut their doors, and 2001 wasn’t a lot better. Knowing this provides a range of possibilities in how one chooses to react.

Right now, there isn’t a big difference among firms that will survive “just okay,” those that will not make it, and those that will thrive. The trajectories of those three groups will quickly begin to diverge, however, and it will be based on their decisions, which will be driven by their attitudes. We are making a conscious choice to view this time as an opportunity to lay the foundation for success after V-C Day. We believe there will be tremendous pent-up demand for talent and resources almost immediately after we have declared victory.

The second thing we are doing is focusing on current customers who really need us, and we are doing anything and everything we can to help them right now. Yes, companies are hiring. We were all out of our comfort zones this week in setting up a new technology platform to enable several remote individual interviews, with a group technical presentation involving multiple people and locations. None of those people had ever had to use this technology in lieu of a face-to-face meeting. The solution needed to mirror the feel of an on-site final interview.

That leads me to the third thing we’re doing — taking a hard look at our own “tech-stack.” Much of what is happening today is probably going to drive fundamental changes; we won’t simply go back to where we were. How that plays out for the hospitality industry and restaurants, I have no idea, but we’re really looking at what is available for our business and making sure we have best-in-class tools. Video interviewing is an example of that, but it won’t be as simple as making sure everyone has a Skype account.

We’re doing a few other things, like just working really hard, but I’ll leave it there. If this helps you think about what you want your business to look like after V-C Day, that’s great. And if you have some ideas of your own, please share them in the comments section below.

About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Paul at

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