Episodes

  • Thank you for tuning in every week. With this episode, Cost to Company is coming to an end. Do tell us what you liked about the show, what we can do differently, or if you have any fresh ideas in the careers space for us. Write to [email protected].


    If you liked Cost to Company, we are sure you'd like our other podcasts First Principles and Daybreak.


    We have newer, bigger shows coming real soon! Stay tuned to the feeds for updates on the upcoming shows.


    The show was hosted by Sneha Vakharia, Shreevar Chhotaria, and Akshaya Chandrasekaran. It was sound engineered by Rajiv CN. And made possible by so many of you tuning in every Tuesday.


    Cost to Company was produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.


    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories. Until next time!

  • Each individual episode of Cost to Company is like a part of the elephant in the hands of a blind person. Only but a piece of a much larger story.

    In this special 50th episode of Cost to Company, the hosts discuss the sum of trends they have observed in workplaces. And what that tells us about the changing nature of the economy, and of work.

    This episode was produced by Sneha Vakharia, and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

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  • Company culture (as we know it) is broken. Seventy-seven percent of the global workforce is disengaged and burnt out, says the latest Gallup report. In fact, there's a new term floating around – loud quitting. These are employees who stay in their jobs and take actions that directly harm the organisation and sabotage its goals. This is a new low, and a huge signal that there is a dire need to change. Companies are looking for innovative ways to boost the morale of the workplace and weld teams together. One of the most unique ways that they are doing that is by identifying 'influencer' networks and tapping into them. Many marquee companies are adopting this process to better understand their employees and serve their needs. On today's episode, we will talk about what happens when an employee becomes an 'influencer' and what that does to an organisation.

    Further reading: Gallup's State of the Global Workplace (2023 Report)

    This episode was written and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran. It was produced by Anushka Mukherjee and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

  • We released a survey for working mothers.

    The objective was to build a collective of the wisdom of working mothers. Ask them for their needs. And their hacks. How can families and businesses best enable working mothers? And how can working mothers enable themselves?

    As of writing this, It’s been a week since we put out the survey. 630 mothers replied. This is what they had to say.

    This episode was written and hosted by Sneha Vakharia, and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

  • Failing to plan is planning to fail.

    But that's not the case with PIPs.

    Which, more often than not, is planned to fail anyway.

    In this episode of Cost to Company, I speak to Sharthok Chakraborty (Co-founder, Klaar; Ex-Cipla) Nimesh Mathur (Investor, Advisor, HR Leader; Ex-Haptik), and Sumit Singla (HR Consultant, ex-Accenture) on one of the most contentious tools of the workplace, the Performance Improvement Plan.

    And why embarking on one is almost always a fool's errand.

    For both the employer and the employee.

    This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

  • Reverse reference checks. Combative questions during interviews. And employees on why it isn’t the employer’s market yet. With layoffs and recession fears, you would imagine employees are settling for less. You would imagine they are taking up a job, any job, to evade unemployment. Instead, they are making decisions about their next move in the most deliberate and calibrated manner. On today's episode, we will talk about employees striving to take back the position that matters most in their careers: the driver’s seat.

    Recommended listen: The rise and rise of discreet reference checks

    This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Akshaya Chandrasekaran and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

  • There’s hustle. And then there’s excellence. Startups give their employees abundance of the former, but not as much of the latter. In the long run, this can seriously hurt career prospects.

    This week, we set out to understand the skills startups give their youngest employees.. The skills they don’t. Where this can land them in their careers. Who is responsible for this. And if you are such a startup employee, what you can do about it.

    This episode was written and hosted by Sneha Vakharia, and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

  • If you ask any tech employee about their dream company to work at, it’s usually a Microsoft or a Google or a cool startup. Nobody aspires to work at a healthcare company or a bank, really. It’s where you end up. Not choose. At least that’s the perception all around.


    But what if I tell you, you’ve been looking at the talent market all wrong? That the cold sectors of yesterday — manufacturing, BFSI, FMCG companies, and so on — are the hot sectors of today. Companies, across sectors, want to be tech companies. Or at least, tech-presenting companies, to stay ahead of the curve.


    Traditional firms with sound fundamentals are now paying better salaries for tech talent and doing interesting and meaningful work. And most importantly — they are offering stability in a very volatile jobs market.

    This episode was written and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran, produced by Anushka Mukherjee, and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscribers-only business news platform.

    Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.


  • How do you evaluate the risks you take in your choice of jobs? The size, stage of the company you’re going to work for. The type of roles you choose. How long you wait in a particular role before you make your next move, look for the next jump.

    How do the risks we take, and don’t take, shape our careers.

    This week, we turn to three of the most risk seeking category of professionals, founders. We ask them how to take risks well.


    This episode was written, hosted and produced by Sneha Vakharia, with audio engineering by Melroy Fernandes.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscriber-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

  • The tables have turned.

    But the mistakes keep spilling over.

    In this episode, we spoke to Ria Shroff Desai (People and Culture Lead, Blume Ventures); Udayan Walvekar (CEO, GrowthX); Bhakti Dhanak (Associate Vice President - Human Resources, CIIE.CO) to understand some of the unobvious errors that candidates are making while applying for jobs in the 'employer's market' of 2023.

    Cost to Company is a careers and workplaces podcast from the The Ken’s newsroom.

    The Ken is India's first subscriber-only business journalism platform.

    Check out our deeply reported long-form stories, insightful newsletters, original podcasts, and much more here.

    Listen to the latest episode of Daybreak.

    This episode of CTC was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria.

  • For months and months now, there’s a word that’s been whispered among recruiters, founders, CXOs, and executives who are hiring for key positions in their companies.

    It’s a word used to describe a cohort of professionals whose salaries are out of sync with the reality of the market. It’s a word that is used for people who work in product management, engineering, marketing, and even cross-functional roles.

    Meet the “unhireables”. They live among us. They work in our offices. Walking around like regular people. They don’t see that their careers are paralysed. Some of them are actively seeking jobs, but their interviews end abruptly once they inform the recruiter of their current compensation. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re unhireable.

    Between 2020 and 2022, investors pumped billions of dollars into startups whose founders and leaders offered up the mythical “hypergrowth” narrative. Those startups, in turn, pumped money to hire and grow a layer of mid-level and senior-level executives whose job was to deliver on that hypergrowth narrative.

    And salaries went through the roof. Hikes of 50% and above were par for the course.

    Cut to the present.

    If overvalued startups are widely recognised as a problem, can overvalued employees escape the same fate?

    This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Akshaya Chandrasekaran with audio engineering by Rajiv CN and creative inputs from Anushka Mukherjee and Snigdha Sharma.

    Listen to how Apple is building an army of ‘faithfuls’ in one of the most price-sensitive markets in the world, on Daybreak, a business podcast by The Ken.

    Cost to Company is produced from the newsroom of The Ken, India’s first subscriber-only business news platform. Subscribe for more exclusive, deeply-reported, analytical business stories.

  • Some call them discreet reference checks, some call them back channel checks, some call them ghost reference checks.

    They're growing rapidly, and recruiters are leaning on them like never before.

    In this week’s episode, host Sneha Vakharia takes you behind the scenes into why they’re growing, how they’re done, and what you need to do about it.

  • This time last year, companies were giving away eye-popping rewards to retain talent. From BMW bikes to sponsoring vacations, they did it all to lure top talent.

    Times were good. Talent was scarce. And start-ups and companies were flush with money and endless capital. But, not anymore.

    On today’s show, why retention has gone from broad-based to focussed, open to hidden, and most importantly – equal to unequal. Companies are applying focussed strategies only for select top performers who are crucial to the bottomline. Retention has become extremely targeted, discerning, and most importantly, triaged.

    Employees are often unaware of the goings on in the HR department, but they can definitely sense a shift. This episode will help you identify what’s changing and where you stand in your company. In fact, it will help you answer the question: does my company want to save me?

    Credits: Written and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran, produced by Anushka Mukherjee, and engineered by Rajiv CN.

    Also check out Brady’s brand new newsletter, Present / Future, out now.

    Subscribe to The Ken, India's first subscriber-only business news platform.

  • The situation has changed. And the equation has too.

    If the past two years were all about throwing money to attract top talent, 2023 has seen a general sobering up of appraisals and job switch hikes.

    In a strange turns of events, some employees are okay with taking a cut on their annual compensation in exchange for ‘stability’, in this highly volatile job market.

    I speak to Saaquib Dawoodani (Head of Talent, Revolut), Abha Khurana (People Success Lead, inFeedo), and Shashank B. (Writer + creative consultant, an international OTT giant) to understand the new math of careers.

    Which is more than just the numbers.

    The First Principles episode featuring Gaurav Munjal of Unacademy releases on 11th May. Subscribe to First Principles and get notified when a new episode drops:

    Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/in/podcast/first-principles/id1639125773

    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3Rou1kKH8CQYoDDaHavaw1?si=ca8662215b5c4a18

    Cost to Company is a careers and workplaces podcast from the The Ken’s newsroom.

    The Ken is India's first subscriber-only business journalism platform.

    Check out our deeply reported long-form stories, insightful newsletters, original podcasts and much more here: https://the-ken.com/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=podcasts&utm_campaign=podcast_ep

    This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

  • This week your host Sneha will take you inside businesses at war, through the voices of those fighting in the trenches. We’ll hear how the same war — the war against inflation, a funding winter and shrinking markets — is being fought differently in different businesses. We’ll see how war sharpens, and sometimes disfigures, a business. We’ll see what is martyred and what is protected.

    This is what a business fighting for survival looks like.

    Tell us, is your business fighting for survival?

  • MBAs – love them or hate them, but you can’t ignore them. Over the years, they have taken over every business vertical – general management, sales and marketing, growth and strategy, human resources, and even product and technology. Name it, they have been there and done that.


    But there was one bastion that remained unconquered by the MBAs for the longest. One last holdout – hardcore finance. Sitting at the apex of this pristine castle were the chartered accountants. Crunching numbers and calling the shots, out of reach and beyond attack. Or at least so they thought.

    Compliance used to be the moat for CAs, but companies need finance chiefs to see more than just the account books. They prefer proactive risk analysis, strategy, and financial planning. So, the generalist MBAs, with microscope in one eye and telescope in the other, look more attractive for the job.


    The MBA army has arrived at the CFO gates. The attack is real and from all sides – on curriculum, on relevance, and on pay packages. Will the accounting purists be able to hold the fort and defend themselves against the mighty army of MBAs?


    In this episode, I spoke to the best and brightest CFOs in our country, especially the ones who have done both a CA and an MBA – PayU India's CFO Arvind Agarwal; OYO's CFO Abhiskek Gupta; and co-founder and CFO of Cars24, Ruchit Aggarwal – to get an on-ground perspective. Tune in to find out more.

    This episode was written, produced, and hosted by Akshaya Chandrasekaran. Write to her to become a part of Cost to Company.

  • In the last few months alone, Amazon, Meta, and Salesforce announced that they were going to begin the process of flattening their organisations. That they were going to have fewer and fewer hierarchies in their organisations. Fewer hierarchies means fewer managers.

    The pattern here appears to be that in tough economic times, when efficiency becomes paramount, businesses are rethinking their need for managers. And concluding that they don’t need that many.

    Because managers are expensive, and then you need managers to manage managers. And people to manage paying, looking after, and hiring those managers. And if you have self-motivated, ambitious, and disciplined lower-level employees, why do you need managers to manage them? Are we not capable of self-management? Why would you layer on unnecessary bureaucracy that only slows a business down?

    We spoke to three experts about this. And learnt that hierarchies and layering are essential to a business based on its complexity. A more complex business will always need more managers, no matter the economy.

    And that the reason we are undermining the role of managers in this present moment isn’t because we need them less and less. It’s because all the managers around us are just so bad.

    This episode was written, produced and hosted by Sneha Vakharia. Write to her to become a part of Cost to Company.

  • You've heard about them. You've worked with them. You've thoughts around them.

    But have you really heard from them?

    In this episode, I speak to Kaavyya Kesarwani (Growth & Community, Juno), Sherina Poyyail (Policy professional, Ex: The Quint), Bhavya Narula (Founding team, GrowthX), Sindhu Shivaprasad (Chief of Staff, Obvious) and Shashank Baliga (Writer, a major OTT platform) to understand what the 'new kids on the block' think about careers, workplaces, and whatever else happens in between.

    Subscribe to The Ken: https://the-ken.com/

    Hosted, Written, and Produced by Shreevar Chhotaria

  • Here are some messages Cost to Company has received over the past months.

    “I believe working with GenZ is the toughest thing I do at work. They look at their jobs as a means to the next job. This has dramatically reduced their qualitative output, even if their quantitative output is enough. “

    “Workplace hierarchy is its absurd with GenZs”.

    “There is an increasing gap between values of older generation and new generation of knowledge workers”.

    “There is a huge mismatch in expectations that millennials have in the workplace.”

    From this vantage point, It sounds like generations are tussling it out on the floors of workplaces, each resentful and angry at the other.

    We decided to dig deeper. And we found that the real story hear is not about GenZ’s and millenials, but that many managers, are struggling to manage a generation shaped by a pandemic. Anyone working with the newest, freshest interants to the workforce, is tasked with getting work out of those who were young and most impressionable thought some of the most traumatic moments in our collective history.

    In this episode of Cost to Company we talk to managers who are coping with these changes. We find out what would make their lives easier, what they’re looking for in their colleagues. If at the end of this episode, you can empathise better with your manager, and have learned how to work with them to get what you need, then we will consider this episode a success.

  • A meaty part-time role may seem like the best of most worlds.

    Your workload is relatively lesser. You have more time to spare. The money might be decent too.

    One major downside of the part-time experience though is that you lose out on important benefits such as paid leaves and health insurance.

    Or... do you?

    In this episode, I speak to Saurabh Arora (Co-founder and CTO, Plum), Michelle P. (Communications professional + entrepreneur), and Naren (Independent software consultant) to understand why there’s been a rise in the number of part-timers, and why your new colleague might just to be a part-timer too.

    Subscribe to The Ken: https://the-ken.com/

    This episode was written, hosted, and produced by Shreevar Chhotaria