Main akela hi chala tha jaanib-e-manzil magar, Log saath aate gaye, karwan banta gaya (I was travelling alone, towards my goal, but then many arrived, joined in till it became a long caravan).”- Majrooh Sultanpuri
A pair of ‘Bansals’ set out to sail the unchartered territory of online retail with the dream to change the way India shops. The journey got momentum with favorable market sentiments riding on cash on delivery model. It all started in 2007 with new books being offered at affordable rates. By 2010 more items made to the product category and presently Flipkart’s product portfolio comprises of Books, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones and accessories, cameras, computers, laptops, laptop accessories and peripherals, pens & stationery, other electronic items such as home appliances, kitchen appliances, personal care gadgets, health care products and Life style products.
Initially funded by its founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, the business idea generated enough interest and venture capital funds started pouring in propelling the growth of Flipkart.
Today it employs over 4500 people all across and is all set to surpass the Rs. 5 billion mark in sales.
The future looks promising and we notice the predictable mergers and acquisitions happening. WeRead, Mime360, Chakpak.com and the recent acquisition of Letsbuy.com all considered a good business move by the experts. Flipkart plans to expand and join hands with more to become synonymous with the shopping experience in India.
So far so good, however all stories have a flip side to it. Mergers and acquisitions means having the workforce join hands too. The single most contributing factor in an organizations growth is its ‘WorkForce’. In the own words of the founder Sachin Bansal “Our endeavor has been to redefine the way people shop in India by delighting them in every step of the transaction, over & above the known benefits of selection, price & convenience that online offers. This obsession with customer delight is what makes us stand apart in this competitive space.” The goal is very much achievable but to have delighted customers it is equally important to have a delighted workforce motivated enough to keep the customers happy and loyal. The HR would need to walk a tight rope trying to create a non-ambiguous work environment where the policies and guidelines are clear to all. The vulnerability in the work environment has to be countered with clearly stated tangible visions coming from the management.
The way the leadership facilitates the mergers and acquisition make whole lot of difference. The critical element which needs their attention would have to be the Business Culture with
Mission: Clear communication from the corner office regarding the organizational goal and long term plans.
Involvement: Engaging the entire workforce at all levels and synchronizing their efforts towards this mission.
Adaptability: To fine tune the efforts towards meeting the changing market needs.
Consistency: To make the processes efficient enough to meet the standards of services and delivery consistent and keep the customer smiling.
To keep the morale high and employees loyal it is important that Flipkart appreciates the efforts of all departments and divisions within the company. Preferential treatment to some divisions, in Flipkart’s case, the technology team with toned down benefits to other departments might create visible cracks in the sail. Technology might be one of the pillars but the organization would crumble without the dedicated efforts from Marketing, Logistics, Customer care, finance, HR, Admin et al. It is imperative that experienced hands hold the sail for long time and guide the next in line to keep the going smooth. Delighting the customer and making the entire online transaction experience hassle free will be a reality always if all the teams’ right from the user interface developer to the delivery boy is aligned to the organization mission.
Flipkart is riding high on its success and there is every reason to believe that the future is bright. The HR team at Flipkart would need to work doubly hard to iron out the creases in the policies to keep the Workforce engaged, motivated and loyal.
Last Updated: October 14, 2012