Employee benefits: 101

Employee benefits form the base of employee value proposition, or EVP–the commitment employers make to their employees in return for their work and contributions to the company.
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Hello Reader,

The Kota Factory web series, a collaboration between edtech platform Unacademy and The Viral Fever (TVF), became a huge hit when it launched on YouTube in 2019. Its second season was released on Netflix last year. 

Kota, despite the rise in online test prep platforms, remains at the epicentre of exam coaching in India and the latest battleground for edtech startups. Recently, the SoftBank-backed startup announced its foray into the offline learning space, with the first offline Unacademy Center slated to open in the city. BYJU'S- acquired Aakash Educational Services also has a significant presence in Kota.

Despite the scepticism around the fate of edtech startups and pressure from offline institutes, Unacademy co-founder Gaurav Munjal remains optimistic. “Edtech is here to stay. In fact, I am more bullish on it than I ever was,” he asserts. 

Is it time for Kota Factory 3–Rise of edtech giants?

In other news, following the Reserve Bank of India's circular barring non-banks from loading credit in e-wallets, several fintech startups have temporality halted a few services.

Also, at its re:MARS conference, Amazon announced it’s working on a feature that would allow the AI assistant to mimic the voices of users’ dead relatives. 

Hey Alexa, that’s creepy!


Employee benefits: 101 

Employee benefits form the base of employee value proposition, or EVP–the commitment employers make to their employees in return for their work and contributions to the company. 

“A comprehensive benefits package shows the employees that their employer cares about their well-being and motivates them to be more invested in the company,” says Girish Menon, HR Head at foodtech giant Swiggy

A well-designed employee benefits package, according to people that YourStory spoke to, can help not only in hiring talent but also in motivating existing employees. 

This week, Entrepreneurship 101 explores how Indian startups can design benefits packages for their employees, startups that are leading the way, and more.

The checklist:

  • Health comes first. Workplaces that provided health and well-being benefits had 11 percent more engaged employees than those that didn’t. 
  • Upskilling programmes at workplaces keep employees motivated. 
  • ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans), leave benefit packages, as well as other policies at work help, improve employee performance.

Taxi on blockchain

Ever got frustrated after multiple drivers declined to accept a ride at the last minute? While tech-enabled cab-hailing changed the way we commute, a lack of available cabs, ride cancellations, and price surges are making these services increasingly difficult to use in Indian metros. 

Entrepreneur Firdosh Sheikh believes leveraging blockchain technology to tackle the existing challenges is the best way forward. With the Bengaluru-based blockchain project Drife (founded in 2021), Firdosh and co-founders Surya Ranjith and Mudit Marda are building a ride-hailing experience with zero commission taken from drivers, market-dictated pricing, open governance, and transparency.

Meter down:

  • Like on other ride-hailing apps, a customer on Drife has to enter a pickup and drop location to find the nearest drivers.
  • Users are then given the option to view all bids submitted by drivers and choose a driver of their preference. Drivers cannot alter a bid once submitted. 
  • The base pay is calculated based on the tariff rate set by the local government, and the time and the distance involved. 

Worm Rani 

One will usually find Vani Murthy, popularly known by her Instagram handle Worm Rani, busy pottering about her flourishing terrace garden at her home in Malleshwaram, Bengaluru. Her garden thrives with plants and herbs of all kinds, including brahmi, rosemary, basil, curry leaves, and more. 

Vani’s passion for the environment is perceptible through the videos and reels she uploads on social media about composting–utilising every bit of wet waste generated from the kitchen. 

She calls earthworms her “pets,” and delights in running her bare hands through vermicompost bins. Her confident style of presenting and informative reels have turned her into an internet sensation, with over 200,000 followers on Instagram.

In an interview with HerStory, Vani talks about how she found a passion for gardening, finding what a blue tick on social media means, and more. 

Key takeaways:

  • The popular social media influencer recently turned 61.
  • At the start of the pandemic, she says her channel had about 2,000 followers. 
  • She advises women to take it slow and breathe amid the cut-throat rat race. 

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