Between 2004 and now, mobile phone services provider Idea Cellular's business, measured by subscribers, has grown 20 times: to nearly 80 million from four million. Enough growth to have made Saumya Singh, Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing, who joined Idea as an intern in 2004, stick with the AV Birla Group company. "At every stage, I had the opportunity to grow, the opportunity for a role change and capability development," says Singh, who now heads "usage and retention" at the company with five people reporting to her.
Idea ranked third in the telecom sector behind Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices. The Tata company declined interviews for this story. Vinay Razdan, Chief HR Officer at Idea, counts its training, a flat management structure, fast decision-making, and career mobility as key factors that work in favour of his company. Employee mobility, for instance, is facilitated by the rapid expansion of Idea's service in the circles it operates in, which throws up vacancies. Idea estimates attrition of 16.7 per cent in its 7,141-strong staff.
Some innovative work practices have been rolled out in the company. An example is the online directory that allows an employee to search for solutions to problems ranging from routine to complex. Also, it permitted two employees to go on a sabbatical with full pay and spend two years with the "Teach for India" initiative. One even got her promotion while on the sabbatical.