How learning culture at Avanse has encouraged cross-functional movement

An operations manager has moved to digital business, and is now running product management; a former regional manager of a bank is now working in the credit risk department, while also pursuing a course in digital management.


The new-age non-banking financial company (NBFC), Avanse Financial Services, has focussed on building a culture of learning within the Company. In a conversation with HRKatha, Amit Gainda, CEO, Avanse Financial Services, reveals how the Company focussed on learning in the period since the lockdown, and shares the kind of learning trends emerging in the NBFC space.

“We not only want generalists, but specialists as well, and considering that, we launched learning avenues for our employees realising that this is the lean time they can use to upskill themselves,” says Gainda.

At the outset, the people practices team and the marketing team identified relevant courses for the employees. Then, through the Company’s internal workflow tool, Navigator, employees were given access to multiple courses in different areas. Gainda claims that there has been no conscious effort to direct or push individuals towards certain certifications, as the Company wants employees to steer their careers in the direction they desire.

There has been a lot of demand from the staff to upgrade in the lines of machine learning (ML), data analytics, language learning, customer relationship management (CRM) and risk management. “The trend is similar to what has been observed in the larger community as well,” points out Gainda.

The learning efforts on the part of the Company have pushed cross-functional movement within the organisation, as employees are trying out more and more skills outside their primary domain of work. “The new trends coming in are around digital and financial management, including risk management which is also seeing a lot of traction,” shares Gainda.

Amit Gainda

“We not only want generalists, but specialists as well, and considering that, we launched learning avenues for our employees realising that this is the lean time they can use to upskill themselves.”

He mentions that in the first two quarters of this year alone, there have been significant cross-functional movements by the employees. While he did not specify a particular number, Gainda mentions that the number of such movements have been in ‘high double digits’. Once employees identify a specific role or function they wish to move into, the Company helps their transition into their new roles. They are handheld through coaching and mentoring to ensure they settle in comfortably and become successful in the area.

Gainda recalls how an operations manager moved to digital business and is now successfully running product management within the Company. In another case, a former regional manager of a bank, now working in the credit-risk area, is pursuing a course in digital management. He mentions other areas, where employees have taken over new job roles, such as from sales to services, from credit management to risk management, from sales to profit and loss management, and even from the credit function to sales.

“I often suggest to young aspirants that they should follow the role passionately and not focus on the money. Learning will automatically lead to more earning in the long run,” says Gainda.

Alongside its learning initiatives, the Company has a programme called ‘SimpliWFH’. This essentially implies simplifying work-from-home for the employees. A range of options — ergonomic office equipment, laptops or desktops, and even a dishwasher — has been offered to the employees, from which they can purchase whatever they feel will add to the comfort of working from home. Once the employees send in the invoices, they are reimbursed for the purchase.

Most of the Company’s branches are operating between 10 to 20 per cent of staff capacity. Only those in critical roles are commuting to work at the moment. All branches have company-appointed business continuity process (BCP) marshals, who ensure smooth running of operations and employee safety within the premises.

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