Building, nurturing and retaining a growing workforce: The Comio story

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The smartphones company has expanded its team at an extraordinary pace.

Meet a new-age, fast-growth organisation that is adding 20–30 people into its workforce every passing month, since its inception—Comio Smartphones. Having entered the India market in May 2017, this 10-month old organisation now has a headcount of over 200 and extremely minimal attrition levels. No doubt, a great deal of effort by the HR team goes into the maintenance and growth of these numbers on a consistent basis.

Pragati Khare, head-HR, Comio Smartphones, who has been at the forefront of this rapid growth and workforce expansion for the Company, since she joined in June last year, shares that it has been an accelerated ride building up the workforce from 0 to 223 currently. “Starting from defining the organisation’s vision, mission and values, to hiring and engaging people, while aligning everything with the organisational objectives has been at the core of all HR interventions that we plan,” says Khare.

The four ultimate outcomes that make the bases of all people practices at Comio comprise – motivation and passion, performance orientation, organisational values and happiness. An assurance of these outcomes from any HR intervention and the five organisational values define the foundation of all efforts by the HR team. Khare tells us that in the beginning itself, in July last year, the leadership team at Comio came together at a workshop and defined its organisational values.

The company follows engagement practices such as performance bonus for support and service staff, incentive scheme for sales team, R&R for sales staff, and monthly recognition by the CEO.

The set of values is called ALICE—agility, learning, integrity, customer centricity and empowerment. To ensure that these values are embedded in the organisational culture, and also cascade through all levels, an interesting initiative has been launched starting this month—Value Champions. Under this initiative, a value is advocated every month through a number of activities taken up by various teams across levels and functions, led by the senior leadership team. One of the teams that puts in extra efforts to promote its value is rewarded each month.

Furthermore, in line with these values, Khare believes that, “To keep people engaged, it is important to keep them motivated and involved both emotionally and intellectually. In order to achieve that, we have introduced some interesting initiatives as part of our robust rewards and recognition mechanisms that are linked with the organisation’s objective.”

Pragati Khare

The set of values is called ALICE—agility, learning, integrity, customer centricity and empowerment. To ensure that these values are embedded in the organisational culture, and also cascade through all levels, an interesting initiative has been launched starting this month—Value Champions. 

One such initiative is the CEO Desk Award, under which the CEO confers an award on one or two people every month for their exemplary contribution to the business or its values and overall vision. The CEO and the HR team, with recommendations from the line managers, identify the awardees each month. Khare says, “The CEO Desk Award was launched in August last year and so far we have rewarded 12 people. The award has gained huge aspirational values among employees across functions and levels, with people wanting to receive the award themselves.”

There is a strong linkage between engagement and reward, which is at the core of Comio’s engagement strategy. Therefore, initiatives such as performance bonus for support and service staff, incentive scheme for sales team, R&R for sales staff, and monthly recognition by the CEO are some of the engagement initiatives.

The CEO confers an award on one or two people every month for their exemplary contribution to the business or its values and overall vision. The CEO and the HR team, with recommendations from the line managers, identify the awardees each month.

In addition, the organisation believes in hiring right with a focus on job fit in terms of both technical and behavioural competency as well as culture fit, with respect to the values of the organisation. In line with that, the process of hiring right from raising the requisition to onboarding is automated from day zero of business operations from the perspective of knowledge management.

Comio also has all the other HR frameworks in place, despite being such a young organisation and Khare takes pride in the same as she says, “People are essential to our growth, and hence, we ensure that we maintain all hygiene in our people practices and do as much as we can in our capacity to strengthen our values and keep people motivated at all times.”

Khare shares that the organisation is looking at rapid workforce expansion going ahead and would further add 150 people into the workforce in the next two months. She is determined to keep upscaling the people practices as the Comio bandwagon grows.

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