14 May Pench – IKAN’s youngest executive Pragathi recounts her experiences
Relocation services or Destination services was a completely new term to me. I was introduced to this industry that had limitless opportunities a couple of months back when I decided to join IKAN Relocations. Just like most laymen, I was under the impression that Relocation comprised of Packing and Moving of House hold goods. My ignorance then met the vast range of services this industry had to offer. For those who are new to the concept of mobility services, a relocation company takes complete responsibility of relocating a company employee (could be new or existing) from their home location to the host location. This could include immigration, managing their temporary stay during the initial stage of their move, familiarising them with the destination city, home finding, school search for their kids, tenancy management (Involves managing all services/utilities while they live here), packing and moving as per their specific requirements and in line with the company policies. The concept of supporting with the transition and providing complete hand holding for the entire tenure of their stay in a particular location is indeed hectic, but managed seamlessly.
I joined a sub vertical of IKAN Relocations, which would be an online portal that is designed and equipped to do all the above-mentioned aspects and even more, at a much larger scale. The idea was to have a cost effective, one stop shop that would address every requirement a person may have while relocating through the use of technology. Apart from the obvious online advantage, the format affords convenience and yields faster results by the click of a button. It is tested and proven to be user friendly for the employer as well, to keep track of the progress for all their employees under one single mobility platform.
I have been working on this project since December 2018, so the Managing Directors decided to involve me as a part of the Annual Managers meet that was to be held offsite at Pench National Park (Madhya Pradesh – India). This meant that all the managers from different locations at IKAN would be travelling to talk about the developments in their location and strategies on how we could take the company to greater heights this coming year.
We reached Pench on the 21st of March, the day of Holi – the festival of colours. I was meeting most of my colleagues for the first time. We were booked at the Pench Tree Lodge where the conference was also scheduled to be held. We flew to Nagpur – a city right in the center of India, and had to take the road for another 3 hours to get to Pench.
Day 1: The first day was mostly to cool off after the early start we all had to travel across from multiple cities to get to Pench. We rested and assembled at the main area where Radhika (Director) organised a few team building activities to familiarise the team. We were divided into 3 groups and given a substantial amount of time to showcase our creativity by coming up with a song or poem which we then had to present to the rest of the team. Needless to say, we discovered the hidden talents of many of our colleagues and the team spirit started to emerge. We also played a host of other games which had us in peals of laughter and of course achieved the ultimate goal of team building. We continued the celebrations with drinks and dinner before we called it a night.
Day 2: This was the start to our conference. Rohit Kumar (Managing Director) presided the session by talking about how the past year has been and gave us a clear report card, highlighting all the achievements we have made as a company. He also introduced us to the various partnerships, new business, awards and recognitions clinched during the financial year 2018-19.
The next session was to be mine. I had to speak about our project, the whole concept behind it, the developments so far in terms of technology, operations, business and strategy and how we intend to scale up the business in the coming years. Mr. Diwakar Gupta (Managing Director) is the backbone of this project. He envisioned this project through its nascent stages and gave us a clear road map to scale it to great heights. This is the game changer, set out to be the first of its kind and redefine the world of relocation. We shared the excitement and fervour we have been working with over the past few months to realize this dream. It has been exhilarating to work on this project and have this opportunity to showcase it to the team and garner their enthusiasm. Diwakar kick started the session by familiarizing the team with the concept. We spoke about our strategy and plans to enter and scale up in the different cities and markets. The IKAN team comprises of the most experienced members of this Industry and it was very important for us to receive validation from them. At the end of the hour we were delighted that we had set out in the right path and our innovation is being awaited with eager anticipation.
Having spent the last few months of arduous effort on the upcoming technology project of IKAN, the next session on i-Track had piqued my interest. We have an internal tracking and management system called the i-Track. A technology platform that allows us to create, log, record, monitor each file serviced by the team and collate all requisite information and pertinent data in one place to effectively manage and generate reports on the program, while also being able to showcase our efficiencies to the relocating employee and client at every stage. I have used SalesForce in my previous organisation, so I can compare some of its features to Salesforce (which is one of the biggest organisations globally). Like SalesForce, i-Track keeps a track of all the work that goes into a file on a daily basis. From the time an assignment comes in, up to closure all information and all the work is updated on this software. This also helps IKAN’s management to keep a track of all the work being done by each employee and ensures that we maintain our service quality commitment towards our customers. A login is also shared with our corporate clients who wish to track progress of the relocation programs for their assignees and the status at any given point of time. I was so impressed with the real time effectiveness of this all-encompassing software and the level of data that is being captured and churned out on a regular basis. What was even more awe-inspiring was that this award-winning technology which surpasses the product quality of many global organizations was developed in-house at IKAN. Rohit and Anuroop also took us through the upgrades that had been made to the software and the plans for future development.
We broke for lunch and then had a panel discussion moderated by Radhika. The panellists were Harveer (GM), Pinky, Pooja, Malini and Sneha. The discussions were on expectation management and corrective measures. They were all given topics and were to talk about what the current processes were and what changes could be incorporated to further enhance the client experience. This was a highly informative session, listening to different perspectives and experiences from veterans of the industry.
This was followed by a session by Vinod (Director) and Rachna. A complete know how of the immigration policies and processes in India, recent updates, introduction to the team and the overall work done for the financial year. Radhika and Harveer then took over to provide a brief overview on Destination Services. Before we concluded for the evening, we had a complete review from Mukesh (Head of Business Development) on the sales achievements for the financial year 2018-19 and the future strategy.
We had a lovely dinner planned for the evening by the resort which was what they referred to as the Bush Dinner. Rustic yet exceptionally organized by the team at the Pench Tree Lodge, it provided the perfect set up for the Annual Award ceremony. Outstanding performers were recognised and rewarded for their exceptional contributions. It was a moment of pride when the Bangalore team won the award for the best Station. We concluded the night on a lighter note with some antakshari, drinks and dinner.
Day 3: Day 3 was dedicated to different stations PAN India to present their achievements of the past year and their strategy for 2019-20. We had Anuroop start the session and he showcased the achievements of the Delhi Team, Gopala spoke about the massive growth that Chennai had seen under his leadership, Pooja spoke about the development of new areas and the scope for new business it brings. She has been a power house in Pune and is leading the team to attain great results. We then had Harveer taking over, the happiest man at Ikan with an infectious positivity. Harveer is the go-to person in the team whatever be the issue. Harveer is based out of Hyderabad but supports the team Pan India. He quickly ran us through the accomplishments of the Hyderabad Station and the plan for the next year. Then came Pinky from the Mumbai office and she spoke about the Mumbai market, target audience and a road map for the future.
Post lunch, we had a session on case studies by Anuroop, Om Prakash, Gopala, Malini, Sneha, Pooja, Pinky, Rachna which was moderated by Rohit, where each of them came forward to share with the team the toughest cases they handled so far and how they resolved this and to ensure top class customer service and client retention. There were some very interesting cases that were resolved which makes me believe that the client facing roles are always the trickiest.
We then had Rohit talk about all our Social Media, Marketing and Promotional initiatives conducted through the year and the response rate for the same. We concluded day 3 and continued with some more team building activities and called it a night after a couple of drinks and dinner.
Day 4: We had a Safari organised by IKAN. The entire team was to head into the Pench National Park by 4 am. We concluded our trip in the best way possible by spotting a tiger at the Park. It was such a beautiful experience where I made new friends, gained an impressive amount of information and insight into the company, had fun, celebrated and enjoyed being in such a fantastic place with some wonderful people. I hope we have quarterly offsites of this kind!