Things that don’t evolve die

Interview | Rohit Aggarwal, chief executive officer & founder, Koenig Solutions

An innovative training firm, Koenig serves

people in over 50

countries. The company

provides training on all popular IT certifications and has also been in the top 50 list of GPTW 2013. It is also the

authorised partner of industry giants like Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Vmware and Red Hat.

n For the last two years Koenig has been consistently rated among the top 50 great places to work. What factors do you attribute to it? What are the unique things on offer that make it a great place to work?

We beleive that the single most important determinant of business success is not the human capital but motivation level of the team. Extraordinarily motivated ordinary people can move mountains. Contrast this with achievements of people caught in a de-motivating environment.

Motivation x Skills = Fantastic Results. This is true for every individual and organisation. Self-motivated individuals realise that remaining motivated under all circumstances is in their own self-interest. We try to teach all employees the logic and art of self-motivation. As an organisation, there are two essentials to achieve high level of motivation, one create a merit-based culture and two, facilitate constant learning.

We focus on these and this has resulted in our becoming a great place to work and a magnet for attracting talent. There are many innovations for constant learning. High performers have the most relevant knowledge for obtaining results and can be the best possible teachers. We regularly tap this talent.

Second, every individual accumulates experiences which if shared can benefit the whole organisation. We regularly have sessions to share best practices across the organisation.

Third, there is no bigger waste of time than a meeting without the minutes of meeting (MOM). Verbal knowledge has too short a shelf life. MOMs are diligently prepared and circulated. More than meetings, these have gone a long way in providing skills to people.

Fourth, learning requires motivation and there is no better way to drive academic learning than the age-old method of tests. We conduct ‘surprise tests’ to motivate people to remember MOMs.

Lastly, there is no use in re-inventing the wheel. There is no point in being a frog in the well. Reading is essential for knowing what is already known. It is said that new brain cells and connections are created every time we read. We have inculcated the reading habit in many a non-reader.

n Organisations are focussing on developing their DNA. What is the concept all about and how does it help build a flawless corporate culture. How would you define Koenig’s DNA?

Corporate DNA is business jargon for organisational culture. As Peter Drucker famously said “culture has strategy for breakfast”. The work culture makes or breaks a company. The organisational DNA must be well defined, communicated and preserved. Old habits die hard but if a habit is bad, it must be killed. Thus, it is vital for firms to understand what their culture is, what it should be and take measures to make the switch.

Koenig’s DNA has four important components:

Excellence: For us pursuit of happiness is synonymous with pursuit of excellence. Always improving is a primary driving force for everyone at Koenig.

Innovation: Innovation is invigorating. Anything that does not evolve, dies. By continuous innovation we have been able to create a ‘wow’ factor within the firm.

Happiness: Happiness is the biggest treasure. Staying happy and creating an environment of happiness for everyone is integral to the identity of Koenig.

n This year too, you are in the race for being a great place to work. What do you expect? What amendments have you made to your entire structure? What expectations do you have from your HR?

Though we expect to be in the top 100 companies this year as well, since it is a competition, it will depend upon the performance of others as well.

The most remarkable change in the last year has been to make the organisation flat. Every responsibility has one owner. There is no duplication of effort, there is full empowerment and faster decision-making. The CEO of the company has been re-designated as the chief helper.

Koenig HR works on increasing motivation and skills. Rather than doing this directly, they work through the managers. We have regular workshops in which we discuss Koenig-specific best practices for increasing motivation level and skills of people. By following Koenig’s philosophy of continuous improvement, we hope to have one of the most motivated teams in the world. And then we will move mountains.

n Industry requirements, in terms of skills, are changing swiftly. Please share with our readers the current skill requirement in IT that will help professionals shape their career better?

Virtualisation, cloud technology, unified communication tools like Lync Server, mobile technologies like (Android, iOS), security; Microsoft dynamics, etc, are popular technologies as of now. In the coming period, SMAC (social mobility (Android & iOS), analytical (big data) and cloud (data centre technologies) are going to gain substantial space within the IT World.

n Industry-academia interface is a big challenge that people and organisations face in equal measure. Being in the business of up scaling IT professionals, do you have insights into what should be taught so as to make students job-ready? What has Koenig done to help industry and academia align better?

We place our students. Not just is this effort useful for our customers, it also gives us a lot of information about the skills required by the industry. We receive continuous feedback from the industry about the skills required and we use this information to provide industry relevant training to our

students.

In virtually every country and demography, unemployment and shortage of skills co-exist. We look upon this not just as a problem to solve but also as a business opportunity. We have successfully built many bridges to transport the unemployed and underemployed to be fully employed. We also think the Indian GDP can grow by several percentage points, if the training industry is able to successfully make students job-ready.

shishirparasher

@mydigitalfc.com

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