How This Telecom Giant is Incorporating Start-up Culture

Let's unlearn is often the mantra in the corporate world now

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By Sanchita Dash


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Have a careful listen to the overloaded conversations of millennials and often you will realize that they are only venting their exasperation of being caught in a humdrum corporate world with its matchbox cubicles offering too little space for their creative pursuits.

Now, these conversations haven't escaped the notice of social media or their seniors at work. More and more companies are now focusing on changing the culture and are taking their inspiration from the "start-up way of working".

Entrepreneur India spoke to the Aditya Kohli, Senior VP, Airtel about how the telecom company is infusing the start-up culture.

Say Goodbye to Cabins

The traditional method of working has worked so far, but with new innovation policies, it's time to change the way one works, too. Even when a start-up is acquired by a corporate, one of the bigger issues is that the team with an entrepreneurial mindset will have to let go of their "on-the-go" culture. But now, the same is being incorporated by corporate biggies.

"We have to create an ecosystem that fosters a work culture where our employees are constantly evolving, innovating, taking risks and reinventing to build a world-class organization of the future," said Kohli.

Talking about how they changed the way they work, Kohli said, "One of the major exercises we undertook recently was to create workspaces that foster collaboration and are hierarchy less. This will radically alter our style of operations to be more informal and create more energy similar to a start-up. Today, diverse, cross-functional teams work together in cabin-free open spaces, lounge and bar-stool-styled meeting spaces for collaboration where animated and vibrant walls eliminate sense of boundaries and set in an enthusiastic vibrant atmosphere."

Freedom to do Jobs Never Done Before

"Let's unlearn' is often the mantra in the corporate world now. When they bring in a start-up team to work for a corporate, the team is allowed to work on their own and take their time to get accustomed to the corporate environment. The philosophy behind the same is to see how the corporate can then imbibe from the start-up culture, which is believed to have the strongest principles.

But, this cultural change is not just restricted to the new employees. Their older employees are given the liberty to re-think and innovate at work. "We also inculcate the feeling of self-empowerment amongst our employees, encouraging them to work like an entrepreneur who thinks big and champion ideas. We provide our employees a platform to develop these ideas into reality.

Doing "jobs never done before' is therefore a core brand DNA at Airtel with an aim to lead the fast-past telecom market with innovation. Most of our innovations are a result of this zeal within our employees. Having the entrepreneurial culture as the heart of our organizational culture has also driven greater levels of execution excellence for us," said Kohli.

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 


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