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Gung-ho on Life

More than observing work patterns, evaluating output is important.

Saumya Bhattacharya | Print Edition: September 19, 2010

Employee #26 at DLF Pramerica moved to the insurer in 2008 from advertising when his boss at O&M quit. "I always wanted to get into brand management. Here I could do that and set up the brand," says Kanwardeep Singh, Assistant Manager, Marketing, at the Gurgaon firm, adding that what you do at a start-up becomes part of the DNA at the organisation as it grows.

Singh, like many of his peers, has his life figured out at 25. He wants to do an MBA and thinks "2012 is when it will happen and the ground work will start next year". In his sight are Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, MDI, Gurgaon and Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad. "B-school is the most important piece of the jigsaw. It catapults you to a level equivalent to a four-year leap."

The impatience to get on with life shows up in a conversation with him. For one, IT policies of his company drive him up the wall. "Structured processes get on my nerves," he says. "Of course, there is sensitive data and you can have restricted access to Internet, but not allowing social media to marketing guys like me when that is the future of marketing?"

His irritation is being noticed. DLF Pramerica needs to "put employees like Kanwardeep in creative environments and not under layers of processes. It's radical and it's not easy, but it's doable", says CEO Kapil Mehta. Already, the company that has 908 people today is at work. It has open office seating, organises monthly townhalls in the head office and branch offices, and it keeps work hours flexible. "We believe that more than observing work patterns, it is important to evaluate output," says Mehta.

The flexibility to indulge the hobbies of workers such as Singh - making short movies - works, too. Even so, Singh is clear where his loyalty lies at this stage in his career: a workplace that serves his learning needs. If the learning opportunity is huge and the salary gap not too much, he says, he will move to a job even at a lower salary. "He has absolutely legitimate expectations. The battle is in our minds," says Mehta, speaking for a large part of corporate India.

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