Naveen Tewari's InMobi has the happiest employees. Here's why

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InMobi, India’s first unicorn seems to be one of the very few startups that have cracked the code when it comes to being the country’s most people-friendly startup.

Over the years, the mobile advertising platform, led by its co-founder Naveen Tewari withstood ups and downs when it came to business with ease but faltered when it came to managing its people.

It was this very problem that the company’s three co-founders set out to find an answer to.

Back in 2012, the eight year-young InMobi’s employee count surged from 200 to 900 in just four months. Leading the new talent was the need of the hour, but the management was failing to do just that. Chaos was prevailing- with employees being given overlapping responsibilities and as a result, there was decreased productivity and unrest among employees. It was safe to say that growth was eluding InMobi.

As is typical of any company environment, InMobi too assumed throwing in a tried and tested set of structures and policies would help boost efficiency of its employees- however they couldn’t be far wrong.

As Tewari and his co-founders found out, they were still not able to successfully manage their employees and thus they decided to experiment.

Moving away from traditional company policies, InMobi played with disruptive, refreshing and absolutely innovative people policies for the next three years and managed to not only stand out from the numerous other start-ups but also ensured that it transformed into an employee-friendly workplace that encouraged ideas and celebrated its people.

To start with, employees at inMobi are not required to take their supervisor’s approval for upto six days of leave- allowing employees freedom when it comes to leaves.

Secondly, the startup has also done way with an international travel expense policy. Employees are free to travel and spend as they please. According to Tewari, it’s imperative that InMobi trusts its employees as much as they do in the company. Additionally, it also inculcates a sense of responsibility in them.

InMobi also has a very unique referral rewards programme. Instead of just handing out monetary rewards to an employee who has referred a candidate for a job position, the company gives out experiences, such as an all-expense-paid trip to Europe or Bali or an iPhone 6, among others. After the introduction of the experience-based rewards, the percentage of new employees hired through employee referrals jumped to 50 percent from a paltry 20 percent.

The startup also follows a phased approach when it comes to maternity leaves. InMobi offers four months of fully paid maternity leave. In the 5th month, mothers can work from home half the time while taking the other half as paid leave. And, finally the 6th month, mothers can spend half the month working from office and the other half month working from home. The company believes this phased approach helps ease the transition process for new mothers to come back into work.

Additionally, InMobi is also part of the growing new-age Indian startups that have realised the importance of being pet-friendly. As of today, Becki, a white Persian cat is as much as a regular fixture at the office replete with a designation- Chief Cuddling Officer. Becky belongs to Rebecca D'leema, a senior manager with InMobi . And, she's not alone. Accompanying her is 25 odd employees who regularly bring their pets to work.

However, the most incredible part of InMobi’s people policy is how the company promotes entrepreneurship. Whenever an employee expresses his desire to quit InMobi in order to start a new venture, the company makes it a point to support them however it can. From offering them free office space in the organisation to letting them brainstorm with their ex-colleagues and eat the free food the canteen offers, InMobi does it all. It’s evident that this policy is personal to the co-founders, especially Naveen Tewari. As someone who has seen the ups and downs of being in a start-up, he and the founders understand what it means to help companies building for the future.

With this, InMobi has set an example that other start-ups are scrambling to follow. To become successful, a company needs to invest and nurture its most valued players- employees.

The only way to build a disruptive company is by winning employees over and InMobi is busy leading the way.
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