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Where India wants to work (and why)

June 23, 2016

Vinod Kumar   

Former Managing Director and Group CEO Tata Communications

At Tata Communications, we spend a lot of time as a team carving out and building the right culture that works for our employees and for business alike. We’re a 15-year-old company taking on 800 pound gorillas, so we need to attract, grow and retain the best of the best in our industry. Our culture is how we do that. We see the brilliant results every day, but this week we received the particular honour of being recognised alongside such illustrious companies as Google, Flipkart, Amazon and Microsoft, as one of the places that India wants to work in LinkedIn’s Top Attractors survey.

We’ve worked hard to create a culture that is welcoming and flexible for everyone. In the office everything from team bonding sessions to ‘bring your kid to work day’ and company sports day help everyone get involved and engage with our company culture. To help maintain a balanced home life, we’ve instituted easily accessible flexible and remote working programmes and provide generous extra benefits. The area that we’re most proud of – and Tata Communications team members most love however – is our emphasis on development. At any company, development is key but in a company as diverse in its operations as Tata Communications, and one with an average age of 35, we need to go beyond typical career tracks to promote opportunities for anyone to show their brilliance, entrepreneurship and impact on the business.

This focus on letting individuals make an impact on their own terms begins with Shape the Future, our company wide initiative to inspire and nurture innovation within the company. It’s a crowd sourced programme to identify business opportunities that will add to the top line in the future. We invite our employees to submit ideas that have the potential to become a $200-million business within 10 years and touch 200 billion people; select the best ones; and then coach the teams to implement them. No matter who or where you are in the company, Shape the Future gives you the opportunity to make your idea real and we’ll give you all the support, mentoring and guidance you need to make it happen. Plus, we’ll throw in a trip to San Francisco to give you an opportunity to learn from the technology industry’s most exciting start-ups.

Beyond Shape the Future, in early 2014, Tata Communications launched a unique initiative for fostering innovation called Moonwalk. Five teams are assigned five different subjects, unrelated to the company, and asked to explore each of them. The core idea of Moonwalk is to make people curious, and make people want to learn all over again. The brief to the teams is clear: invest four months in exploring the subject – conduct extensive research, meet industry experts, talk to academics – and come back with a report you can share with the company. Moonwalks inspire new ideas within the company and help our teams take existing projects in exciting new directions.

Then we have our programmes geared directly towards personal career development. Our multifaceted leadership programming combines the teaching of key leadership skills with exposure to every part of our business. That ensures that the leaders of tomorrow are not only great leaders, but have DNA taken from across the company, allowing them to push every part of our business forward.

Across the business, we also provide an educational assistance programme that enables Tata Communications staff to pursue new skills and education to enhance their career by providing grants and interest free loans for courses and tuition. By providing this financial assistance, we encourage team members to pursue opportunities that help them, while also supporting the future of the wider company.

It’s thanks to these opportunities to build their careers through both and personal impact and discovery of new and exciting worlds and opportunities that Tata Communications employees, that have both stayed with us and returned from stints with other companies, cite development, empowerment, collaboration and entrepreneurialism as the reasons they want to stick with Tata Communications. We think it’s also the reason we’re one of the 25 companies that Indians want to work for.

We are, of course, always looking for sharp minds with a creative bent to bring about new ideas. So, if you’re willing to experiment and take ownership of truly impactful projects, get in touch.