E-commerce market leader Flipkart has launched a financial assistance programme to help its employees participate in any national or international challenge pertaining to their field of interest.
The programme, aptly called ‘Budding Star’, will cover all well-known national and international level sports as well as non-sporting competitions recognised by government authorities, such as Indian Idol, Master Chef, etc.
Eligibility for this programme is restricted to Flipsters, as the employees of Flipkart like to call themselves, who have completed six months with the company. Shortlisted candidates can receive up to Rs 3 lakh in assistance. Flipkart has about 8,000 permanent employees on its rolls.
For Flipkart, delighting an employee is as important as delighting a customer. Satheesh KV, Director, Total Rewards at Flipkart, says, “Research has found that employees with greater autonomy and flexibility have greater productivity. We believe that the people who are able to pursue their passion along with work clearly experience an overjoyed state of mind, which makes them more productive. While most organisations offer benefit programmes for their employees, at Flipkart we emphasise meaningful and usable benefits for employees.”
The programme will not support regional/state-level competitions or leisure and tourist activities. After an employee makes a formal request, an in-house panel will evaluate the application and give its decision within seven working days. Upon approval, the financial assistance will be paid out within five working days.
Satheesh clarifies that all government-recognised activities are covered under the programme. Selection is done on the basis of the individual's passion and years of practice.
Although the programme covers only national level challenges for now, it may also consider state and regional level competitions in the future. “We do have people who have already gone to state level competitions,” says Satheesh.
The first employee to receive the assistance is a long-time mountaineer. She has been working at Flipkart for more than three years. “Next year she is going on an expedition to the Everest. The assistance shall be used for purchase of equipment,” Satheesh adds.
In 2015, Flipkart became the first organisation in the country to provide six months' maternity leave to its female employees, which recently became law. Here, a leave application does not need an approval here if the quantum of leave falls within the prescribed limits. They also offer unlimited bereavement leave. Satheesh says,
Supporting our employees is the most important thing to do. This is also an extension of that. We want to motivate people who are talented and passionate and provide them with an opportunity to pursue their passion. All of these will result in overall satisfaction at the workplace. This programme is a reflection of how inclusive Flipkart is as an organisation.
Recently, quite a few companies made news by instituting leave for women employees on their first day of period. Asked about this, Satheesh says that their aim is to keep the interests of their employees in mind and take steps that are meaningful for them.