Why exit-poll specialist, Pradeep Gupta calls his company’s culture ‘military-like’

The ‘campus to corporate’ programme helps the Company create a smooth transition from universities to the corporate world

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Just as every company has a culture of its own, Axis My India, a market research firm, also has a culture of its own. Pradeep Gupta, chairman and managing director, Axis My India, calls it a ‘military-like culture’. Its people are highly disciplined in life and focus on their goals without any distraction, especially during work. Being part of an industry fraught with challenges, in terms of the work precision it requires, the Company needs people who are highly focussed and also self-motivated, so that they can thrive in a start-up like culture.

For the same reason, the Company has a robust ‘campus to corporate’ programme, which trains all the new joinees and introduces them to the culture of the company and the nature of the job.

Being a market-research company, the larger portion of Axis’ employee strength comprises its field workforce, which is close to 1000 people, while the remaining 300 work in the corporate office. Every employee in the Company undergoes this programme, which is designed on a 70:20:10 model. Generally, as part of the learning culture, almost 90 per cent of the training happens in the form of classroom sessions and on-the-job learning. E-learning modules are rarely used, mainly for revision purposes if at all. Because of this reason, things did get a big challenging during the lockdown period last year. “As a company, we believe that e-learning modules cannot replace classroom training. After all, what a person can learn from books cannot be learnt sitting in front of a screen,” points out Gupta.

The Company hires youth from campuses and even school pass-outs. For roles such as that of data analysts, it targets the IITs and NITs of India. The in-house instructors who train the new entrants are all employees of Axis My India. The Company invests significantly on training the trainers as well. Axis is so serious about discipline that employees are not even allowed to keep their mobile phones with them, while they are working in the offices — not even during the classroom sessions. Not surprisingly, the ‘not so liberal policies’ of the Company make it difficult for it to attract young talent.

“As a company, we believe that e-learning modules cannot replace classroom training. After all, what a person can learn from classrooms cannot be learnt sitting in front of a screen”

Pradeep Gupta, chairman and managing director, Axis My India

There are two main purposes of the ‘campus to corporate’ programme at Axis My India — to make people aware of the culture of the Company, and to teach freshers how to connect with people.

“As a market-research company, field job requires people to collect data from the citizens of this country. Therefore, it is important for all employees to know how to connect with people, and most importantly, deal with those belonging to the lower strata. So, the programme largely focuses on empathising with people and building soft skills,” explains Gupta.

The ‘campus to corporate’ programme is a 12-month learning initiative, which includes on-the-job learning and e-learning modules, coaching and mentorship. At the end of the programme, participants are certified with three levels — gold, silver and bronze.

As a larger purpose, the programme helps the Company align the skills and behaviours of freshers with that of their values and mission.

Additionally, as mentioned, the Company demands discipline from employees, which makes it a tough environment for youngsters to survive. Therefore, the relative attrition level of the Company is almost close to 20 per cent. However, it has a rewards and recognition programme, which recognises all the high performers, who are awarded bonuses almost equal to their basic salary. Over and above this, all the high performers are also recognised by some known public figures from the field of sports, politics and business. These initiatives keep the employees motivated.

As shared by Gupta, it is difficult to say whether the ‘campus to corporate’ programme helps the company reduce attrition, but it certainly facilitates alignment with job roles and smooth transition. Also, it is observed that it helps freshers understand what is expected from them, which ensures a good start to their corporate journey.

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