Paying the Price

adding that the opportunity available to foray into unchartered territories with e-commerce start-ups is a big draw for people like him.

Significantly, most of these e- commerce companies have ex­tremely seasoned HR heads. Consider the example of Yuvaraj Srivastava, Chief Human Resource Officer at He joined the company in May last year and has over 16 years of hardcore corporate experience dealing with industrial relations for organisations such as Asian Paints. MakeMyTrip, under Srivastava’s guidance, has launched
product councils where everything and everyone is reviewed. The benefit is that the younger generation gets instant feedback and the older team members also get an honest opinion hum others on their views and deci­sions. “A top down approach is not the answer,” says Srivastava.

In fact, organisational culture is still a work-in-progress in most com­panies. “We had people walking in at odd times, or taking leave and there was no way of telling them whether it was acceptable or not,” says an employee of a leading e-commerce start-up. “Now with seniors coming


\ in, these issues are getting de- \ fined.”

Paying the Price

: But tenured talent does not / come cheap and is not easily J available. Today, people / with specific domain experi- / ence are commanding any­where between T2 crore and XI crore per annum. “Fact is that in India most professionals do not want to take a haircut on cash component to get a stake in highly valued com­panies. They want it all,” says Kathuria. But growing e-commerce ventures are only too aware about such a challenge and. in fact, are prepared for it. Nidhi Agarwal. founder and CEO of fashion portal, is trying to address the issue by roping in talented profession­als seeking only part-time, consulting roles such as Sarika Grover, the former marketing head at 991abels. com, an online sale portal. “She wants to be involved with different things and I am fine with that, so long as I too get to benefit from her experience,” says Agarwal.

Bansal of Lenskart sums it up. “With more senior talent joining us, we would like to develop a much more professional and customer- focused culture in our organisa­tion. This is already happening by empowering these new senior lead­ers to lead large teams and inde­pendently find solutions to problems without involving the founders.” he says. “I’m also driving a lot more disruption as the senior teams give me confidence to take much bigger leap steps.”

Occasionally, however, the sen­iors can go wrong too. Remember John Sculley, the corporate star who was hired from PepsiCo by Steve Jobs to steer the course of Apple and who ended up firing Jobs! Jobs came back to turn Apple around. Maybe there is hope for Rahul Yadav yet. ♦


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