Great Manager Institute sat down with the CEO of Aspire Systems, Gowri Shankar Subramanian, and their CHRO Dinesh Kumar T K, to decode the power of people leadership that is displayed by this technology services provider, with a dominant presence in 8 countries and 18 locations today.
Aspire Systems recently stepped into the second decade of being a certified Great Place to Work®.
A quick glance at their website can give you their recipe of success. The management at the organization believes that good companies are born, while great companies are sculpted - brick by brick, layer by layer and persona by persona to make it a workplace that stands the test of time.
Gowri Shankar Subramanian, CEO says, “Instead of competing for talent, we nurture our people. We have several success stories wherein some of our business heads in insurance & engineering practices, joined us straight out of universities and have been with us for more than a decade now. Our people are committed to Aspire’s success and at times put the company’s interest ahead of their own.” It’s hard to miss that even the CHRO - Dinesh Kumar T K, has been associated with Aspire for over 17 years, now.
Diving deeper into some mantras that form the secret sauce of this success, the CEO talks about a strong focus on learning. The organization, in fact, has established ‘Centres of Excellence’ in collaboration with universities, to encourage a continual learning mindset.
Adds Gowri, “At every stage of vertical growth or promotions, employees go through a process called “Role Change”. Our team guides them through all aspects of their future role, before they steadily slide into the same. With a program called T&D 24, all employees go through 24 hours of certified training every year.”
Such focus on learning is accentuated by the way the learning is expected to be consumed. With a concept of 10% training, 20% coaching and mentoring, and 70% on the job learning, every aspect of the process not only improves the employee, and the organization, but also creates a new mindset of learning, that brings with itself humility and a belief to fight any crisis.
Programs like Rate Your Manager (RYM), an off-cycle feedback exercise that is not linked with appraisals and E-Pulse where employees can share their mood in the context of their work, encourage the culture of candour and continual feedback in the virtual times.
Too often business owners and managers think that all work and no play is the best way to maximize productivity. However, that’s not the case for Aspire. Through events like Star-trek and the ‘beyond work’ platforms, the organization creates multiple opportunities for employees globally to come together and have some fun, virtually.
So, when employees of Aspire share that they learn as much here in two years as they would have in five years in a conventional IT services firm, this does not come as a surprise. Such ability to conquer challenges stemming out of a mindset of learning has led to the organization converting the current situation into opportunities.
Speaking about a few practices in the current times, the CHRO, Dinesh Kumar T K mentions about a 10 day long leave that the organization grants to Aspirians for undergoing treatment, in case they test positive for COVID. Aspire also reimburses the cost of COVID vaccination for the employees and their families. With the second wave setting in, Aspire has created a task force that provides round-the-clock assistance to affected Aspirians. Mind Spa, Aspire’s in-house psychological counselling program is now being held weekly and has even been extended to the families.
A striking example of its resilience was seen in the way their global workforce bounced back after the initial lull caused by the pandemic. “With the pandemic amplifying the need to embrace new modes of working, the focus on staying connected and engaged has increased. Aspirians have been equipped to carry on with their routine remotely by getting a standalone allowance to procure the necessary infrastructure as well as a monthly internet allowance. Besides this, training systems have been upgraded to equip employees with the best skills to deliver in this new normal”, says Dinesh, when asked about how they prepared Aspirians to fight the crisis.
“We aspire, people inspire, is our belief as we step into the second decade of being a great workplace. Being a great workplace is our way of life and we intend to work towards continuing to be one”, says the CEO, as he signs off.The pages slugged ‘Brand Connect’ are equivalent to advertisements and are not written and produced by Forbes India journalists.