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Not everyone’s firing employees, some startups are making their Diwali brighter

Tarush Bhalla
posted on 11th November 2015
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It’s November and the festive fever is catching up.

With crackers echoing in your neighbourhoods, you know the Diwali frenzy has hit in!

yourstory-Diwali-at-Startups

Venkat (name changed) is all set, clearing important emails and closing processes. His project for a US client just got over and he was just in time to apply for a week-long holiday for Diwali. Of course there was a process to it. He had to go to his company portal, fill up the application, and request his manager, multiple times, to approve his leave request.

As a customary Diwali gift, there is a dry fruit dabba (box) kept at his cubicle, and if lucky he might receive a bonus as well.

Drawing a contrast is his flatmate Shashank (name changed) who is equally excited about driving operations for his e-commerce startup. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a break; catering to the burgeoning orders hitting the scene. Some of his teammates are on leave, but obviously they are expected to check mails.

But he is rather excited to hear whether his organisation can hit the target sales set for this Diwali, which will make his Diwali prosperous!

On two ends of a spectrum, Venkat is enjoying a much deserved break, whereas Shashank doesn’t stop to dream bigger.

This is possibly what Diwali looks like for a startup employee.

In 2013, according to YourStory survey, most startup employees agreed that what drove them to work for their startup was ‘Opportunity to create something new’ and ‘growth opportunities’ which the business provides.

While spreading love and positivity in the ecosystem, we chose to look further and see what our budding startups were doing for their employees and others this Diwali.

Here’s the kaleidoscope:

InMobi

InMobi decked up their office with some bold red and festive yellow fairy lights to welcome their employees. The act of ‘giving’ was the overpowering theme, where every InMobian was gifted a box of sweets, a jar of honey, and a tray of special Diyas. These Diyas were crafted by the NGO, Sandesh, who strive to support and educate individuals with special needs. A mailer with pictures was sent out narrating the story behind the making of the Diyas. Kevin Freitas, HR Director InMobi, told us

We gave every InMobian a chance to bring a smile on another's face. The joy of bringing happiness to another person who needs it itself made this Diwali a special one at InMobi. Each Diya was made by a team of individuals with special needs. As many other organisations give their employees gifts in the form of bonuses, we wanted to give them the joy of giving as it is.”

The decked up InMobi office in Bangalore
The decked up InMobi office in Bangalore

InMobi also gave its employees a holiday for November 11 and a floater holiday on the 10th as well. The support staffs were thanked with a Diwali bonus for their constant help.

Grofers

At Grofers, there were a range of plans and activities to match the festivities this Diwali. They had a ‘photo booth’ in the cafeteria for their employees to click pictures. Other competitions included Diya making, rangoli, and fun games to keep the team engrossed and the employees motivated. The organising team at Grofers said,

“We at Grofers believe these activities not only create a delightful environment but also help employees to not miss their homes during the festive season. We have also organised a team lunch ahead of Diwali. We want individuals to believe that Grofers is not just an office space, but a place for everyone to bond and feel at home.”

The photo booth at the Grofers cafeteria
The photo booth at the Grofers cafeteria

To match the brightness of the festival, the theme colour at Grofers was orange to encourage their employees to wear bright clothes.

“We also want our employees to feel socially responsible. For this, we are supporting an NGO to delight a few other lives as well this Diwali,” added the team. 

Ola

So how was the cab aggregator saying ‘Ola’ this Diwali? Ola joined hands with Urban Ladder to come together to offer gifts – big and small, to decorate and refurbish homes of Ola drivers in 11 cities across India. As a part of the campaign, the drivers were chosen based on their customer ratings on the platform and were gifted beds, mattresses, sofas, dining tables, and other home décor to give a new look to their homes this Diwali.

But that wasn’t it, on November 10, UrbanClap and OLA teamed up to spread joy to their customers in the Delhi-NCR region. On booking ‘Say Ola to UrbanClap Chefs’ on their app, the UrbanClap chef visited a customer’s home and prepared a gourmet meal for just Rs 200. These customers could ask 14 friends to join the bandwagon of happiness.

Decorations at the flagship store of Chumbak
Decorations at the flagship store of Chumbak

Chumbak

With a change in their offerings through apparels, Chumbak chose to be rather traditional this Diwali, with the entire office being dressed up in ethnic wear, followed by an elaborate Puja at the office.

According to Vivek Prabhakar, CEO and Co-Founder, the fun part about it was that they were able to organise this Puja with Hugo, the Chumbak dog who surely wanted to be part of the festivities. He adds,

“We thought the best gift we can give our employees during this festive time is the chance to adorn their homes and outfit with the new range of Chumbak products. So, we are giving our employees gift cards to splurge on the products that they haven't gotten a chance to pick up. What tends to happen is that everyone is always at the store immersed in product, so we tend to forget picking up our favourites. So this Diwali, we thought why not give employees what they love the most at Chumbak.”

Money View

This Diwali was special for MoneyView. They ushered this festive season by moving into their new office premises.

The employees had an ethnic theme gathering, where employees were given gifts to thank their contribution as a part of Money View’s journey.

Vedantu

The theme at Vedantu was personalisation for their employees.

Anand Prakash, Co-Founder, CHO, Vedantu told YourStory

“We truly believed that be it a gift or a service, we should design it in such a way that it should cater to the individual’s needs. So instead of giving out gifts which might not be useful to our employees, we decided to give our employees a.k.a ‘Vedans’, a personalised debit card with a substantial amount which they could use according to their convenience and benefit.”

The Vedantu office with employees
The Vedantu office with employees

uTrade Solutions

Besides the regular competitions, the focus during this year’s Diwali celebrations at uTrade Solutions was to maximise employee engagement. Employees (both men and women colleagues) made rangoli in groups as well as decorated the office. There was a team dinner planned out with gift vouchers from Amazon, along with a box of chocolates to make employees cherish their day

Kunal Nandwani, Founder and CEO, uTrade Solutions told us

“We wanted employees not just get some time off, but also bond with the rest of the team and share a good laugh in a less formal set up. The stronger the bond that is created, the better would be the organisational culture. Diwali also gives us an occasion to light up the lives of the underprivileged. This year, we donated cash, gifts, and clothes to a local charity – Gur Aasra – a home for the kin of martyrs by visiting them.”

PepperTap

PepperTap chose to keep the celebrations rather simple. A Diwali party was organised for all the employees across PepperTap today. With festivity all around, employees were delighted with food stalls, card games, fun games, and Diwali merchandise.

A special Diwali incentive was also given to the ground staff in addition to the Diwali sweets for their hard work.

Navneet Singh, CEO, PepperTap, said

“With Diwali just around the corner, the Diwali party and the Diwali goods came as a feel good factor for all employees. “

Happy employees at the 'Little' office
Happy employees at the 'Little' office

Little

Manish Chopra, Co-Founder and CEO of Little, told YourStory that at Little they were offering fantastic fine dining options for their employees and their extended family and friends.

“We want our employees to spend these festive special moments with their families. We did not want to just give them a gift and limit it to that. We believe in creating these ‘little’ moments of joy in their lives.”

Having given two days off for Diwali, Little had a special Puja organised, where the entire team came dressed in ethnic wear.

Livspace employees at an orphanage in Mayur Vihar, Delhi
Livspace employees at an orphanage in Delhi

Livspace

Livspace employees were dressed in their best ethnic wear and ate traditional food from quintessential chaats to local cuisine, while participating in rangoli competition at their work space

On the occasion, Livspacers in Delhi spent their Sunday with orphans at

Udayan care, Mayur Vihar, Delhi, distributing blankets and gifts. In addition, a continental meal was served to the happy children's surprise. In Mumbai, Livspacers met the at risk boys at the Bandra East Community Centre as a part of their Diwali celebrations.

RoadRunnr

While other startups are thinking of visiting orphanages and old age homes, RoadRunnr is thinking of going green.

Celebrating ‘Green Diwali’, Roadrunnr’s delivery boys will hand-over one biodegradable envelope plantable bookmarks with every order they deliver across Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai.

Viral Chhajer, Head of Marketing & Communications, Roadrunnr, said,

“For Diwali, we will plant five trees for every bookmark planted by a customer. Roadrunnr team looks forward to planting more than 50,000 trees through this initiative.”

Investopad

Investopad was busy gathering Diwali messages and fun from individuals and startups in the ecosystem.

Grabhouse

Apart from the ethnic team and a lot of pictures, Grabhouse chose to give its employees what they needed the most.

The entire team at Grabhouse got a long and happy Diwali weekend from October 11 to October 16.

According to Pankhuri Shrivastava, Co-Founder & CMO, Grabhouse employees were also given Amazon gift vouchers as a gesture to thank them for their hard work and contribution towards the company’s success.

Grabhouse employees dressed up in ethnic wear
Grabhouse employees dressed up in ethnic wear

With so much buzzing around, we would say that if you are working in a startup, there are a thousand reasons to be happy while celebrating Diwali this year.

And, if you think your startup has done something unconventional and wacky this Diwali. Do drop us a comment below, we would love to hear!

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous Diwali!

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