Graduating from OLX to LinkedIn at Daalchini
The progression of a new member of the Daalchini team.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
It was late 2019 and I was discussing with Naveen (one of our finest operations managers) our next city launch. During the meeting, Joy (one of our best hub managers) knocked on the door, exchanged a few words with Naveen and left the room. They did not even look at me or acknowledge my presence. Sitting on the other side of the table, I had a pleasant feeling. I knew my work was being done. “These guys are ready to take over,” I thought. “I need to focus on bigger stuff, leaving room for them to take this forward.”
My mind flashed back to early 2018 when our team was struggling to find delivery boys for the newly launched venture — Daalchini Technologies. The team found Joy on OLX. I had the opportunity to talk to him at length when we had gone to pick up meals from one of the vendors in Greater Noida at around 6:30 AM. It was 30 km ride in a chilling winter in Delhi-NCR. Smog had reduced the visibility to a few meters on the Noida expressway. Joy paced his bike at around 40–50 km/hr, as he had to pick up meals from two other vendors as well. When we reached the first vendor’s location, I was freezing but he was at ease. Perhaps he had learnt to make peace with the chilling cold; perhaps he had become familiar with the daily routine on the highway. He picked up the meal boxes, put them in the bag and set off for the next vendor. I kept looking at him, mesmerised, thinking, “How can someone be so serious about his job when he is paid in pennies?” During this journey, while others may have taken the opportunity to gripe and complain, he shared his views on how we could improve our operations. And I must admit, some of them were well thought through. Pic: Different steps on the corporate ladder for JoyMonths passed by. The company expanded to new cities. However, Joy followed the same route every day, whether that day brought scorching sun or pouring rain. I was completely overwhelmed by his dedication towards his responsibilities and his attitude towards the work.
It was time to promote him. The next logical position in our organisation was hub manager, where he would have to manage the team of ground forces. However, the biggest obstacle was his education. He has just a class 8th pass. Still, I took the chance and asked him to manage the team for a week. I gave him a laptop, taught him some basic stuff around Excel, route planning and distribution. But it was easier said than done. Joy failed miserably. I asked him to go back to the field. I was pained by my decision, as I had the firm belief that he had the potential to make a difference to the company.
In an era of the highest attrition at this level, thanks to food delivery apps, he had stuck with us as a ground force for over 18 months. This in itself demonstrates his commitment to and love for the company. I tried to analyse where the gap was and how we (the co-founders) could bridge that gap.
We found three major areas of improvement for him. · Soft skills · Sense of hierarchy · Knowledge of planning.
In just few months, as an understudy, he started doing well. His newly created LinkedIn profile announced “Hub Manager at Daalchini Technologies.” It was a small graduation of his profile from OLX to LinkedIn, but perhaps a giant leap in his life. It was also a deep sense of achievement for us.
Joy is not just one of the beneficiaries of our deep-rooted culture of promoting talent. It’s at every level. 100% of our current hub managers were delivery boys at some point in time. 100% of our technicians were delivery boys at the beginning of their career with us. 100% of our on-ground sales guys were delivery boys when they started working with us. One of our ex-delivery boys now manages a small cy in the north. Even Naveen, our star operations manager, who manages 3–4 cities with ease, started as a data entry operator in our firm. And the success stories go on.
These transformations didn’t happen overnight. We put in a lot of effort screening candidates. There were times when people were amused when I told them that we would select 2–3 delivery boys from a group of 60–70 candidates. It worked for us, as it gave us our belief in grooming these resources for the next level. We chalked up plans to help potential employees move up the ladder. We provided the support needed for personal and emotional development. We were working on a culture where people can envisage goals beyond their imagination. We were en route to building a culture of collective and collaborative promotion.
I sincerely believe: “The day you feel that your team does not need you, it’s the best day for you. Your team is ready to take your position. It’s high time to move on to create another value for the company.”
That interaction between Naveen and Joy in the meeting room, where they did not need to acknowledge my presence, reinforced my belief that my work is done. It is time for me to put my energy into bigger things, leaving others to look after different parts of the operations.
Vidya Bhushan — Co-founder Daalchini