The most important thing employers will have to do is to articulate a clear purpose for their organisation, according to LEAD’s co-founder and CEO, Sumeet Yashpal Mehta. LEAD is India’s first school EdTech unicorn and claims it is improving learning outcomes for 1.6 million students in 4,000 schools across India. “Our focus is solving India’s education problem. LEAD goes to affordable schools in Tier-II and Tier-III cities where fee is ₹1,500-3,000 a month and helps them give quality education,” says Rohit Thakur, chief human resources officer, LEAD.

The company’s human resource policies revolve around the belief that young employees care about ethics and values and choose employers that are purpose-driven, do meaningful work and are ethical.

“People are seeking meaning from work. They have a point of view on whether the company is operating in an ethical manner or in a mercenary and mechanistic manner. They also have a point of view on whether the work culture is extractive or collaborative. The ‘how’ of work is becoming as important as the ‘what’,” says Mehta, adding that it was a sense of purpose that helped bind LEAD’s 1,900-plus employees during the pandemic.

So, how does the company ensure its purpose is aligned with employees’ goals? The company hires people not just on the basis of individual capacity but also independent thinking and alignment with its mission and values, says Mehta.

“Employees are encouraged to frequently visit schools to see what the company is doing. In future, employees will be viewed as enablers of growth and progress, individual progress, social progress and economical progress,” says Thakur, adding that while monetary compensation matters, deeper relationships and strong sense of community and purpose-driven work are essential to thrive.

Chaitali Mukherjee, partner and leader, people and organisation, PwC India, says clear sense of purpose and diversity have become a business need. “The talent today is far more purpose-led because there are too many opportunities for them. If an organisation is not doing things which can add purpose, they’re not interested in working with it,” she says.

LEAD, in order to retain talent, is considering a flexible work environment for employees. “Being more flexible, more open and not being dogmatic that work has to done from office only are the big shifts (since the pandemic),” says Mehta.

The company, founded by Mehta and co-founder and co-CEO Smita Deorah, says it also wants to hire from Tier-III and Tier-IV towns. Backed by GSV Ventures and WestBridge Capital, it expects its workforce to grow by 30-40% in FY23. The company’s academic team has more women while the sales team is skewed towards men. “We have been working to bring more diversity in our leadership team, which is CXOs and VP layer, to make it more gender balanced,” he says.

The company says grooming better managers is one of the best investments. “Leadership development is a big part of our training charter,” says Thakur, adding that they give special attention to training frontline managers.

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