Mastek says, ‘You are your own boss’

The Company’s Mastek 4.0 programme gives employees a lot of freedom, as a result of which employees give their best to the Company.


Mastek 4.0 was born when Sudhakar Ram, former group CEO and managing director, Mastek, was inspired by a book called Reinventing Organisations, by Frederic Laloux.

After long discussions with the writer and formulating all the behaviours that align with the goals of the organisation, the programme, Mastek 4.0, was implemented.

What is Mastek 4.0?

Mastek is an IT company, which provides digital transformation solutions to its customers in the UK, the US and India. It introduced Mastek 4.0, which aimed to establish a culture of increased accountability and agility at the workplace, in order to empower the employees.

The programme focuses on making the organisational structure more flat. At Mastek, each employee is her/his own boss and the programme allows the employees to work on projects with a free hand.

Some interesting features of Mastek 4.0

No approvals required: The programme promotes the idea that employees are the decision makers. It emphasises the fact that employees of Mastek are not required to seek approval for anything, not even leaves!

Employees need not seek permission from their managers to take a day off as long as they mention the reason.

“At Mastek, you only need approvals for three things—confirmations, exit and laptops,” shares Maninder Kapoor Puri, group chief people officer, Mastek.

Such a practice may not go down very well with some of the traditional business owners, who are bound to feel that employees should not be given so much freedom. They may feel that such liberty will affect productivity, especially if everybody decides to leave at the same time. And what if employees simply take undue advantage?

“We have a culture where nobody needs to keep a check on anybody. The employees know what is best for their growth and for the Company’s growth. We trust our employees to that extent. But if anybody is found to be cheating, we follow a zero-tolerance policy, and they are simply asked to leave,” says Puri.

Freedom to learn: Learning and development is taken very seriously in most organisations and there are a whole lot of strategies and business agendas behind the same. That is why, organisations choose the skills that their employees should learn and develop. However, at Mastek, employees can learn whatever they want.

“We initiate learning programmes at Mastek and ask employees to volunteer. It is better to develop people in what they want to do, rather than making them do what we want. This ensures that they end up being amongst the best employees,” mentions Puri.

Maninder Kapoor Puri

“It is not about competing against each other and thinking about oneself. It is about performing and delivering well as a team. Mastek 4.0 has helped the employees perform their best, which ultimately enhances their productivity”

Self-nomination for promotion: Puri came up with a unique idea when she joined, which further aligns with the Mastek 4.0 programme. Employee who feels that they deserve to be promoted, can self-nominate themselves for promotion. They need not depend on their managers or team leaders to do so. Once they submit their nomination, they simply have to explain why they feel they deserve the promotion to a three-member panel. The panel comprises an HR manager, a senior member from the tech department and one member from the business development department.

To ensure there is no gender bias, Mastek ensures there is at least one woman member in the decision-making panel.

“When I noticed the earlier ways of promotion, I wondered why anyone should depend on their managers and bosses to decide their career. With this initiative, we now have people getting promoted through self-nomination, and we also have cases where employees enjoy double promotions whenever they ask for it, and if panel members also agree,” explains Puri.

Peer-review process: Another feature of Mastek 4.0 is the peer-review process. The members of the team rate each other. In most companies, the manager rates each employee, but at Mastek that is not the case. There is only one facilitator, which the team members choose. Every employee is rated on a three- scale rating system, such as A+, A and B.

Since the inception of Mastek 4.0, four to five years back, Mastek has developed a culture of trust, accountability and honesty.

Before the employees join the Company, they go through a 90-day orientation programme, where the expectations, expected behaviour and goals are clearly defined and conveyed to them. “It is very simple— we explain to our new employees what we expect from them, and they deliver,” says Puri.

Through this programme, the Company is able to establish a positive environment, where people yearn to come to work. The retention rate has significantly gone up and the clients are also amazed to see how all employees try to serve them to the best of their capacities. And the best part is, they do not do it for themselves, but for their company and their team.

“It is not about competing against each other and thinking about oneself. It is about performing and delivering well as a team. Mastek 4.0 has also helped the employees perform their best, which ultimately enhances their productivity,” clarifies Puri.


  1. Very interesting concept. Congratulations for this innovation. I strongly believe people will give their best if you trust them and make them free to explore. This is the foundation on which IIMA culture is based and has worked for over 60 years thanks to Dr. Sarabhai and Ravi Matthai.

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