Symba CEO on preparing for potential recession

San Francisco co-founder reveals the unlikely move her company is making

Symba CEO on preparing for potential recession

The list of American employers reducing headcount ahead of an anticipated recession seems to expand on a weekly basis.

Throughout the summer, HRD America has covered more than a dozen high-profile firms, such as Ford Motors, Peloton and JPMorgan Chase & Co., trimming their workforce and/or slowing hiring efforts. Silicon Valley in particular has been hit hard: More than 450 startups and tech firms have laid off more than 75,000 people in 2022, according to professional social network Blind’s tech layoffs tracker.

Listen: Episode 9 – Best practices for attaining and sustaining top talent

Bracing for an economic downturn, business leaders around the country are considering similar tough decisions. For example, look at Symba, a San Francisco-based tech startup powering global workforce development programs.

“The first thing to do is to really take a step back and assess your strategy,” Ahva Sadeghi, co-founder and CEO of Symba, told HRD. “We've encouraged teams to build different plans depending on which direction the market goes. We built forecasts and models to understand some of the shifts we might have to do to be prepared if we lose x number of customers and don’t drive sales.”

Before building the model, Sadeghi figured she’d have to implement a hiring freeze a la Coinbase to survive a recession. However, to her surprise, the model indicated Symba must grow its sales team in order to get ahead of the potential economic storm.

“That to me was just mind-blowing,” Sadeghi says. “If you don't have any data, look at a competitor in your industry who's a similar size and study their data (if you can) to understand what could happen to you. Do the research, make a plan and figure out what you're going to do when you need to pivot because we don't know what's going to happen and we're all kind of hanging tight.”

Sadeghi also offers advice for how to retain talent during market upheaval in the latest episode of HRD America Talk.

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