Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts, said businesses will need to show sensitivity to all stakeholders and not just shareholders to survive post Covid-19. He said companies will have to change the way they do business and laying-off staff is not the only solution.

“Accept that you have to change in terms of what you consider is fair and necessary in order to survive. One cannot continue to do business in certain ways and one won’t survive if you are not sensitive to all your stakeholders. Working from home is one solution. Laying-off people will not help you solve your problems as you have responsibility to those employees,” Tata said in an interaction with the website, Your Story, on Thursday.

“Some of the most interesting or tremendous solutions have been found at moments of distinct difficulties. We as human beings start to look for solutions; we tend to be more innovative and creative to find solutions at such times,” said Tata.

He also touched upon the migrant crisis which plagued India’s labour force during April and May when the country was under a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The way migrant labourers were left to fend for themselves with no work, food, place to stay, speaks volumes on lack of business ethics, he said.

“These are the people who have served you all these years. Is that your definition of ethics if you treat your labour force that way. Government and ethical business have stepped in to help them,” said Tata.

Considering his advanced age and that he is in the high risk category in terms of getting infected, Tata said he has confined himself at home.

Virtual meetings have been able to help recreate some of that experience of interacting with people but “it’s still not the same,” which is why interacting with people is “the one thing that I would really look forward to doing when things open up,” Tata said.

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