How PhonePe caters to the learning needs of its tech talent through exposure and mentorship

To create a positive disruption and learning culture, PhonePe has piloted systematic endeavours to accelerate learning and impact.

How PhonePe caters to the learning needs of its tech talent through exposure and mentorship

Wednesday October 12, 2022,

7 min Read

Working at one of the leading payment platforms - PhonePe - means lifelong learning, following one's passion, and enhancing skills while creating value for the organisation. The company’s latest programme – the PhonePe University initiative – is designed to help engineers gain learnings through a combination of mentorship, hands-on experience, and exposure to real-world problem statements.

With ample growth opportunities and learning sessions, PhonePe is looking to hire more talent, diversify its resources, and provide more value to its users.

Let’s take a look at some of the programs and learning models at the company and how they work to achieve the goals of both employees and the organisation.

Building a tech talent powerhouse with PhonePe University

The PhonePe University initiative is designed to help engineers leapfrog into the experience cycle and gain learnings that exist in fragmented pockets in the organisation. It has been developed into an umbrella program to help scale the learning needs of PhonePe Technology team members. The university broadly focuses on two modes of operation — project-based and workshop models. Some of the key programs offered by PhonePe University include:

Learning Groups — The Workshop Model

This program caters to a larger group of participants undergoing a specialised training/course session together as a working group to develop expertise on a technical topic. PhonePe envisioned this program to be a mix of theoretical learning and application-based problem solving, facilitated by in-house subject matter experts. So far, PhonePe’s subject matter experts have coached 280+ engineers across 18 workshops, covering seven topics, and contributing to over 10,000 learning hours. Of these, 30 percent of the participants signing up are repeat registrations and 72 percent of participants have been with PhonePe for less than two years, thereby fulfilling the company’s mission of distributing tribal knowledge in the system.

On-The-Job Project Model

This program has a mentor-mentee approach that allows engineers to solve problems with the help of a mentor from ideation to production. The focus of this track is to help individuals grow in specific areas by assessing their current capabilities, identifying a technically complex problem to work on, defining necessary support paths (including mentorship by a senior member of the team), and skill development for end-to-end project executions. With periodic checkpoints and reviews by the engineering leadership team, candidates are also provided with holistic feedback both on technical and behavioural aspects throughout the journey.

The Engineering Induction

This is a six-week intensive induction program for campus graduates (Bootcamp For Campus Freshers), and an induction program for lateral hires (Lateral Induction Program) with technical workshops and stretch assignments via cross-domain projects. This is a structured program curated with a deep organisational and functional overview for faster assimilation. Both programs provide freshers with adequate context on the organisation, tech systems, and platforms including sessions on computer science fundamentals, design patterns, the architecture used at PhonePe, product and business context, leadership sessions and tech talks.

Promoting Diversity — PhonePe Tech Scholar Program

This program aims to provide equal opportunities to women across Tier II and III institutes to bring more diversity to the tech world. In the final year of their education, women developers can apply to this program. The shortlisted women then go through a rigorous three-month work-integrated learning program powered by Crio.Do. During this online externship program, participants will learn how to improve their foundational skills and work on real-world PhonePe-specific problem statements. This learning opportunity can be a great experience for candidates who are looking to get exposed to the practical side of things, while also getting acquainted with PhonePe’s way of working.

Product Management Kickstarter: Associate Product Manager Program

The PhonePe APM program aims to provide participants with an opportunity to develop their product management skills through a combination of mentor support, hands-on experience, and practical experience in solving problems. It also provides young professionals in other roles in the organisation an opportunity to seamlessly switch over to the Product Management track. There is an opportunity for candidates to work in different pods in planned rotation stints, solving real problems while creating an impact for PhonePe and its customers, along with becoming a part of the PM community at PhonePe. APMs at PhonePe are involved in brainstorming, strategising and building products in alignment with engineers and designers, as well as driving products toward creating the best user experience.

APM Bootcamp

The APM Bootcamp at PhonePe is an accelerated program that emphasises learning, building, creating impact and beyond. Product Managers are committed to creating an environment that makes learning and application impactful. This Bootcamp also provides opportunities to the APMs to grow, both personally and professionally through mentorship and hands-on learning sessions. The Bootcamp is structured in a way that APMs are exposed to learning, and they can also apply those learnings parallelly as they proceed to work at PhonePe. It also serves the agenda for making the APMs feel valued, networked and supported. Product Managers play an active role in providing guidance, and context and helping APMs with direction on how to improve on specific feedback and development areas identified through the program duration.

APM Reviews

All APMs present a walkthrough of their work to an identified product lead each quarter. The primary purpose of this review is to expose the APM to different perspectives. The reviewer is encouraged to act as a sounding board and provide 1:1 feedback towards problem solutions. The reviews focus on progress made on each of the assigned deliverables, suggestions to the APM on approach to problem-solving and execution, and identifying APM’s strengths to assess potential role fit/pod alignment.

Product Design Learning: Design Associates Program

The PhonePe DAP program is a curated one-year learning journey for budding Product Designers (UI or UX). This journey will provide participants with a unique opportunity to develop their design skills through a combination of mentorship, hands-on experience, and exposure to real-world problem statements. The program is a stepping stone to becoming a successful UX/UI Designer at PhonePe. It also sets the bar for what good early-stage design skills look like and thereby raises the bar for the rest of the organisation.

The DAP program starts with a three-week Bootcamp, followed by the opportunity to work in different pods — solving real problems that impact PhonePe and its customers. After a year of learning, rotation and re-assignments, candidates can be considered based on individual aspirations and organisational needs.

Learning as a way of Life

PhonePe Tech University is only one component of PhonePe’s learning culture. One key area of the focus is training the leadership and providing team managers with tools to drive and sustain team motivation and effectively deal with performance issues.

The Manager Capability Sessions include:

  • New Manager Orientation: Interaction with senior leaders covering organisation philosophy, process and PhonePe’s way of working
  • CATALYST: A structured program for developing managerial skills
  • Competency Workshops: Building uniform and consistent understanding of organisation competencies to drive motivation
  • Feedback: Techniques for effective feedback conversations; identifying & managing poor performance
  • The session for CM, ASM and TSM: Customised sessions focused on structured and effective feedback to drive the team motivation

The Learning Assistance Policy at PhonePe provides every employee with up to Rs 5 lakh of reimbursement every year to pursue certified skill-based learning. To learn from some of the best minds in the industry, be a part of India’s one of the leading payment gateways, and work in an organisation that encourages continuous learning, click on Careers at PhonePe.