Inclusivity through versatility: How GUVI is enabling employees in tier-2 and tier-3 cities through its remote working model

Published - July 10, 2024 07:00 pm IST

The business domain in the 21st century is undergoing a massive transition, adopting remote working models to reduce its dependency on hyper-focusing on urban areas. Considered lackadaisical even a couple of years ago, remote working models have gained immense traction by corporates across the world, including in India. A pioneer in its domain, GUVI was one of the early Indian companies to adopt a remote work culture as part of its vision of promoting inclusivity, accessibility and professional excellence to talents from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. This distinct flexibility has also translated directly into meteoric growth, positioning GUVI as one of the leading Indian corporates to prioritize employee uplifting and as an equal-opportunity provider as it celebrates its 10th anniversary in June 2024.

One of the driving principles of GUVI’s corporate excellence has been employee satisfaction, and it has been a challenging front to optimize. Established in 2014, GUVI operated in a physical setting for six years. However, its management team was one of the first in the country to identify and address the potentially devastating impacts of the pandemic, leading to establishing new guidelines and adopting a remote work culture. The CXOs aligned GUVI’s business requirements with employee satisfaction in one of the most challenging modern times, establishing digital classes and SOPs for employees to operate in the comfort and security of their homes.

Versatility through empathy

GUVI’s versatility was the brainchild of its Co-Founder, Mrs. SrideviArunprakash, who envisioned the company to be not only inclusive but versatile to support its employees and foster a personal connection. Initially, GUVI’s operations were limited to only a handful of employees, whose tireless efforts and meaningful contributions paved the way for excellence eventually. Mrs. SrideviArunprakash, with years of experience working at top MNCs, envisaged a personal connection between the company and its employees, fostering pride in their work and as part of the company itself. This led her to make numerous unique decisions, taking small yet effective initiatives. The highlight of these initiatives was the ‘All-Hands Week’, which is still a critical part of GUVI’s work culture. This initiative focuses on a monthly meet & greet of all its employees on a predetermined date, with a 360-degree emphasis on work, constructive activities, team-building activities and others. This particular day remains not limited to work or conventional activities, and the initiation of our recreational clubs highlights this fact. Creative initiatives have been the foundation of business excellence, driven by meaningful contributions from all internal stakeholders.

Flexibility equals growth

In 2020, right before the pandemic struck India, GUVI employed 46 people in various capacities. Following the adoption of the remote working model, coupled with innovative educational solutions, GUVI witnessed a significant rise in growth as its valuation rose to INR 120 Cr in 2022, translating to a CAGR of 59.8%. By 2024, GUVI has been able to achieve yet another milestone, as it presently employs over 750 employees, the vast majority of whom hail from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, including its CXOs. Its digital classes have also gained momentum, becoming one of the country’s most sought-after online tech-oriented courses — all of which can be attributed to the rising employee satisfaction, reduced attrition rate and inclusive work environment in the last four years.

While many of GUVI’s peers followed suit during the pandemic by adopting a remote work culture, the vast majority of them have since decided to return to the office. However, the leadership team has decided fervently to maintain its status as a remote workplace. This has allowed the employees to become more productive, in both professional and personal capacities. Additionally, the work-life balance of these employees has witnessed significant improvement, as they are now capable of spending time with their families and friends, handling problems and keeping a healthy routine.

Equal opportunities

A staunch supporter of maintaining a productive work environment, GUVI has always taken pride in the fact that it offers equal opportunities irrespective of age, gender, race and any other prejudices. It has long advocated the inclusion of women in workplaces, including in critical roles. Its remote-first policy has helped it to promote inclusivity, as more than 40% of the employees constitute women, including in the boardroom. Apart from female inclusion, GUVI employs talented individuals who identify as members of the transgender community, and minorities. Furthermore, equal opportunities are also reflected in its remuneration standards, setting benchmarks for a paradigm change nationally. Additionally, GUVI also believes in looking inward to recognize talents for critical roles. For example, Mr. VasanthVijayabaskar joined the company as an intern and has since achieved a meteoric rise to the role of CSO and is a critical part of the leadership team. Numerous others, who joined GUVI during its initial period, have also been identified as critical enablers of GUVI’s existence and excellence, and are presently leading entire teams across verticals constructively.

The remote working model has acted as a major enabler for talents from tier-2 and tier-3 cities to join its ranks. GUVI prides itself on being able to employ individuals who hail from peri-urban and rural areas, who have significantly contributed to ensuring continued success for the company as it presently offers progressive and innovative tech education to an extensive group of linguistic communities in 18+ Indian states and plans to scale in near future. To coordinate among different teams, the company arranges a monthly meeting at its office premises in Chennai, Tamil Nadu (Noida, Uttar Pradesh for employees of the North Indian office). This meeting acts as a way for different teams to get to know each other and speak on performance, challenges and ways to move past them in a roundtable discussion. This effectively identifies any communication gaps and productively resolves them. Furthermore, unwavering support from top CXOs, including the CEO’s office, helps to integrate newcomers effortlessly into the workforce through productive interactions which provides a sense of belonging to the employees, translating to the company’s continued growth.

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