Leaders want their employees to buy into the company vision and mission—but it isn’t easy. E-commerce brand Myntra-Jabong, however, seems to have figured out a way to not just engage its workforce, but also encourage it to take an interest in how the company functions, take more responsibility, and buy into the company’s goal.

“We believe that e-commerce is less about technology and products, and more about the kind of experience you are leaving with. The entire organization needs to be engaged with the same spirit and believe in the ‘customer first’ motto," says Abhishek Sen, vice- president, human capital and consumer experience, Myntra-Jabong.

Sen’s consumer experience team tries to ensure that every customer has a fruitful experience. Sen, who is also in charge of employee experience in his capacity as HR vice-president, decided to marry the two and make each employee understand how important consumer experience is.

The result was MPulse—a week-long activity during which every employee from every Myntra-Jabong office finds ways to improve the customer experience.

“Twice a year, for a week at a time, we bring customers to our offices to look at the kind of products we are selling to them, initiate conversations between customers and brands, and, essentially, brainstorm how we can create better experiences," says Sen. The company calls customers randomly, though not all of them agree to the activity.

Employees then carry out focus group discussions with them to understand why they are shopping at Myntra-Jabong, which products are popular, the issues they face, how the experience can be improved, etc.

MPulse is made up of various initiatives. The Last Mile is an activity where the entire organization is divided into groups, and has to deliver orders and collect feedback. In Bizarre Bazaar, employees are encouraged to become sellers themselves. They sell their own creations—local crafts or food items—to other employees. This helps them understand what it takes to sell and gain knowledge about how to pitch, design and market a product.

The employees, in turn, ask questions about the kind of designs and next big trend they are looking for, how they are faring in other countries, etc. In Brand Watch, vendor brands visit the Myntra-Jabong office and interact with employees.

One of the biggest initiatives under MPulse is Imagination Breakthrough, where teams of employees have to pitch ideas to improve customer experience. The winning team’s idea is implemented on the company’s website.

“It is a huge opportunity for engagement. People get to interact with brands and customers. And while we pride ourselves on our open-door policy, this is still a great opportunity for employees to work alongside their leaders. Each day, at least two leaders manage all the events," says Sen.

For the winners of Imagination Breakthrough, for example, the fact that clients and leaders were judging their project was a great morale boost. “We were recognized for the work we did. Not just that, my three teammates were from different projects in the office. And yet we managed to find time and work together for the same objective," says Ashay Tamhane, senior data scientist with Myntra.

Tamhane and his team created a platform that organizes insights from customers into an actionable format. The platform, Sentient, has since been rolled out and is being used by the Myntra-Jabong consumer experience teams.

MPulse has been organized twice since its inception in 2017, and the plan is to make it a bi-annual event. But every successful event can have its own set of challenges. Getting customers to come to offices for discussions was tough. But the team persisted, finally getting customers who would be willing to attend and share feedback. All 3,000 employees of Myntra and Jabong (Myntra bought Jabong in 2016) come together for this event—making it a logistical and coordination nightmare.

It goes without saying, perhaps, that all these activities have to be carried out without hampering regular work.

“But we realized that what was difficult the first time became better the next time around. The consistent push we got from everyone, and with all the teams stepping up, we managed to do it much more smoothly the second time around," says Sen.

Out of the Box is a series that looks at how leaders and employees go beyond regular desk work to build a team and work together.

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