Perfios: Building the runway for future leaders


Imagine a company where fresh talent is nurtured alongside seasoned leaders, and where diversity is not just a buzzword but a springboard for innovation. This is the vision that Perfios, a leading SaaS fintech company, with around 1000 plus employees, is actively realising through its investment in employee development programmes.

This commitment to inclusivity wasn’t born out of abstract ideals; it stemmed from a practical need. Perfios’ employee resource group (ERG) consistently highlighted the lack of female representation in senior leadership roles. “We realised that true progress required a solution that addressed the specific challenges faced by women in our organisation,” says Anu Mathew, chief people officer, Perfios.

Perfios’ response was the ‘Women Accelerator Programme,’ a targeted initiative designed to empower promising mid-to-junior level women and propel them towards leadership positions. Recognising the importance of honing crucial skills, the programme equips participants with expertise in negotiation, self-advocacy, and strategic thinking. But Perfios goes beyond skill-building. The programme fosters a supportive network among participants, with ongoing mentorship and collaboration continuing even after the formal training concludes.

“A key feature of our programme is the inclusion of male mentors alongside experienced female leaders. We believe everyone has a role to play in fostering diversity and inclusion.”

Anu Mathew, chief people officer, Perfios

The inaugural cohort comprised 20 women, each paired with a mentor in a one-on-one or one-to-four ratio to facilitate personalised guidance. “A key feature of our programme is the inclusion of male mentors alongside experienced female leaders,” Mathew explains. “We believe everyone has a role to play in fostering diversity and inclusion.”

Perfios’ commitment to development extends beyond gender. The company partnered with IIM Calcutta to launch the ‘Next-Gen Leadership Programme,’ a six-month curriculum designed to hone the leadership skills of 29 high-potential employees. The programme culminated in each participant presenting a project aimed at shaping Perfios’ future product roadmap.

“Some of the ideas generated during the programme are already in the incubation phase,” says Mathew, a hint of pride in her voice. “We see this not just as a leadership development programme, but also as a breeding ground for future stars within our organisation.”

Recognising the value of fresh perspectives, Perfios actively recruits talent from premier institutes such as IITs as well as tier-II campuses. These new hires undergo a rigorous three-month training programme that blends classroom learning with real-world projects. “We consistently recruit around 100 graduates annually,” Mathew confirms. “Looking ahead, we’re committed to continuously refine our learning initiatives by incorporating more experiential and creative methods.”

Perfios’ development efforts are guided by a data-driven approach. The company meticulously tracks success metrics to assess the impact of its programs, not just immediately after completion, but also over time.

“We actively solicit feedback through initiatives such as the ‘One Perfios’ survey,” says Mathew. “Despite its brevity, the survey boasts a participation rate exceeding 90 per cent, reflecting our employees’ high level of engagement and desire to contribute to the organisation’s growth.”

The data collected helps Perfios identify areas for improvement. For instance, if a skills gap is identified, relevant training programmes are implemented. Recently, the company introduced an Objectives and Key Results (OKR) programme to address a lack of clarity around performance expectations. This initiative ensures leaders set clear goals, fostering collaboration and alignment across teams.

Building an inclusive workplace goes beyond targeted programmes. Perfios understands the need to address entrenched biases and cultivate open conversations about diversity and belonging. By championing values such as transparency and empathy, the company is laying the groundwork for a culture of mutual respect.

These efforts are yielding results. Over the past year, Perfios has increased its female new hires to 25 per cent. More importantly, the company’s focus is shifting towards creating a meritocratic environment where contributions are valued above all else.

Last year, Perfios conducted a storytelling session to promote inclusivity, fostering a deeper understanding of diverse experiences. Additionally, the company’s ERG, ‘Diversity and Belongingness,’ underscores its commitment to building a welcoming workplace. The ERG even offers ‘recharge tracks’ – employee-led initiatives focused on personal and societal well-being, encompassing activities such as community service, sports, and even movie nights.

By embracing diversity as a strategic imperative, Perfios is well on its way to building a future-proof organisation. One where every employee feels valued, empowered, and able to contribute their unique talents to the company’s collective success.

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