Democratizing access to cutting-edge technology for safe and efficient commercial fleet management, LocoNav aims to make fluid fleet operations accessible to all businesses. The brain behind this startup, Vidit Jain and Shridhar gupta, the co-founders, projected a bigger image in this niche and practically considered taking on the world. They spearhead the company’s rapid growth to become a hyper-growing market leader while being capital efficient.
But how does LocoNav plan to thrive in the new world of work? How do they plan to deal with the current war for talent? People Matters recently interacted with the founders to learn about LocoNav’s journey from the pre-covid world to the post-covid world and how they ensure the best EX for their people.
COVID-19 has been the biggest transformer in the workplace. Affecting not only the business, but also the experience of the employees. How did you manage to prosper during the crisis? Tell us about your best practices for improving the employee experience.
At the heart of our innovations is the conviction that a utility vehicle is the atom of LocoNav. We are focusing all of our efforts around this atom. As a company, we have grown exponentially over the past few years thanks to the relentless contribution of our employees, some of whom have been our cheerleaders from the very beginning. We feel a strong sense of responsibility towards every LocoNav employee. When COVID-19 hit, it put us in a situation never seen before. From innovation and brainstorming in our boardrooms, we suddenly found ourselves in our living rooms and bedrooms managing personal and professional lives.
But we couldn’t stop. Many of the commercial vehicles we serve are part of the backbone of the global economy providing essential services even when the world is locked down. We have had to fundamentally change the way we work to continue to empower fleet operators and drivers around the world. To achieve this, we took inspiration from our work culture motto – ThinkBeyond. With our technological expertise as a facilitator, we made our employees believe in the power of communication, resilience and gave them the right resources to alleviate this humanitarian crisis.
The pandemic has forced us to lead by example. Honest conversations with our people about the current situation have laid the groundwork for a practical path forward. We initiated a consistent feedback loop with our teams that helped us better plan remote work and build trust.
Resilience – a core value at LocoNav – has always helped us meet challenges and the pandemic was no exception. We created a stimulating environment where our employees did not feel the pressure of work or were overwhelmed. We have enabled them to adapt seamlessly to the new standard while facing professional and personal responsibilities. On a personal level, personal care was essential. This included mental health sessions, a vaccination campaign and physical conditioning sessions. As a technology-driven company, we have also provided the workforce with development and learning opportunities, such as training programs for technical skills and cognitive development. Our HR team worked actively to plan engaging sessions between teams internally and with credible external speakers and trainers, including a cooking session with a top chef! While no one knows when things will return to normal and what this ‘new normal’ will ultimately look like, we are moving forward with the flexible, employee-centric work culture and a hybrid approach to workplace presence. job.
Much of the talk now is about returning to their offices. As business leaders, what plans do you have in place?
As we are aggressively expanding in both India and global emerging markets, we are always trying to find the perfect hybrid approach between working from anywhere and working from the office. As all of this evolves, our top priority is the safety of our employees and their families. We are aware that some roles and teams have now become forever distant and / or hybrid. To serve our employees, we will continue to evolve systems and policies with employee safety and convenience at the heart of everything and we will also introduce effective internal communication tools.
We currently have a hybrid model in place. Depending on the role and structure of the team, this template has been carefully designed to ensure that all Covid safety standards are met. The hybrid approach has also been applied to hiring. For example, technology or marketing teams based in Delhi-NCR and Bangalore have access to the office, but others can work remotely, if they wish. We remain flexible in our approach, the guiding principle being to put the physical and emotional safety of our employees above all else.
Fixing the new talent management equation is easier said than done. What do you think are the broken links that need to be fixed?
In the aftermath of the pandemic, the employee experience has become even more crucial to the growth of the company. As a core tech company operating in the B2B space, we quickly realized that we had to think and go beyond to create a rewarding experience for our employees. For us, a potential employee is not just someone with great technical skills but someone who lives with similar values. We strongly believe that such candidates pay long term dividends in terms of retention and business growth.
Companies and recruiters often look for “perfect candidates” who correctly tick all the boxes, from experience to skills. We do not believe in this concept and this term. In a dynamic industry like ours, it’s crucial to learn on the go. We are looking for candidates who show a willingness to learn and grow with us – hiring as much for attitude as we do for aptitude. On-the-job development and training are essential to the employee experience. The employee values return on investment as much as an employer. Coaching, skills improvement opportunities and timely feedback are intrinsic motivators and help build trust.
It’s also crucial to understand that even the best of your employees who have had the most incredible experience would want to explore something new. In this case, the starting experience should be as good as the recruiting experience. Remember that once you’ve created a brand advocate, cultivating them will always be in your favor, whether or not they exist in the organization.
What could be the major differentiators for companies to win the war for talent in the aftermath of “The Great Resignation”? As the current crisis reinforces the value of human capital, how can talent leaders and business leaders improve their game to help companies avoid the brain drain? Are there specific strategies you are currently working on to retain top talent?
“The big resignation” definitely gained momentum in the aftermath of the pandemic, but we believe companies have been waging a war for talent forever. Businesses across industries have seen the workforce quit their current jobs for a variety of reasons, from not being able to adapt to the work-from-home culture, to finding time for the family or a change of priorities.
We instill our ThinkBeyond philosophy in all aspects of the employee experience to retain talent:
- Accountability: As a business, we listen to all amazing ideas, concerns, and comments. We encourage our team members to cultivate an open and transparent channel of communication within the workforce so that we can achieve maximum productivity and positivity. We motivate our employees to think outside the box and take ownership of all the amazing ideas they come up with.
- Handling in the event of an impact on the ground: It is not always about compensation or benefits. Employees are motivated to create impact on the ground and make positive changes in people’s lives. We enable this with our vision to democratize access to fleet technology in emerging and high growth markets. We help our employees believe in this vision and be part of this change.
- Two-way feedback: We ensure that our employees constantly share their feelings and feedback in order to be able to relay their support in time. Everyone is going through a difficult time and it is important for companies to be compassionate and find the best way to support their workforce.
- Validation: Employees need to feel validated and recognized. One of the main reasons people look for alternative places is to not be appreciated for their efforts. Constructive criticism and learning opportunities also make them feel that the employer is interested in their growth.
- Automating: Automating our hiring process has helped us make more consistent hiring decisions and eliminate variables that are not predictors of job performance. It also helped our potential recruits to enjoy a seamless hiring process. This reduced our overall hiring time and helped make decisions faster and applicants didn’t have to wait long for a hiring decision.
How do you see the talent management space taking shape in the next 2 years? What projects do you have for LocoNav?
The ecosystem is very dynamic at the moment. As organizations and employees adapt to the new normal, talent management and employee experience will undergo rapid change. Conversations on topics like mental and financial health will become more important. There is more and more interweaving with the personal lives of employees and more and more use cases have come to the fore. This has given employers a better understanding of their employees’ psyche and actionable insights to enhance their experience.
Until now, organizations have avoided commenting on or participating in social or political issues. However, employees are now looking for workplaces that match their values. They want their workplaces and their leaders to lead by example and act with real impact on society.
We’ll also see more gender inclusion in the workspace. It’s a business priority for us as we expand across the world. Flexible working arrangements and hybrid working models will further reinforce this trend.