As we welcome 2016, yet another year of fun and excitement, I wanted to take a moment to capture the two most interesting things to have happened at Indix in 2015, from a people angle.
Well, to start off, let me tell you about our hiring spree for the year. In a competitive tech and startup market, we were able to grow significantly and have a hiring rate of more than 50% for the year. This, I think was no mean feat, given the challenges around hiring tech talent in Chennai. Kudos to everyone who contributed to this effort; we are now a 60+ strong team and are geared for the next phase of growth and innovation.
And what have these awesome people have done since coming on board? Hiring superstars and expecting them to deliver top notch software is a no brainer; however what comes as a proud moment for all of us is the way Indixers managed to come together and get the better of the Chennai floods situation.
It was the evening of November 30th. There were intermittent showers and we had been running cab services for over a week by this point. The heavy rains started and what we thought would be an hour or two of downpour never seemed to end. I realized that cabs could no longer enter or exit from the building. Around 20 people were stuck at the office. What followed next is a story that we will remember for rest of our lives.
I was at home on December 1st, coordinating to set up the “Command Center” at our Chennai office. There were about 20 people staying at the office and we had to make sure we had enough supplies to get through the next couple of days at least. Ramanujan IT Park is one of the best work facilities in Chennai. When most of the IT parks on Old Mahabalipuram Road and across the city were shutting down due to water inflow, and lack of power and connectivity, Ramanujan IT City was running on full-time electricity, power and most importantly, internet connectivity. This way, we were at least able to ensure that people coordinating the relief efforts were able to get in touch with the command center frequently.
We kept count of everyone – people staying in the office and those at home or other places. We tried reaching people through different means; we checked in on people everyday both in the morning and in the evening. At this time, the safety of our people was of prime importance. Slack proved invaluable for us at this time to coordinate efforts and communicate with team members. With most cell networks jammed, people were able to use their data to access Slack.
The relief operations continued. Some of the people had to walk through waist high or even chest high water to come out of their homes and reach the safety of our office so they could have power, internet and good hot food.
Ours was a diverse group. There were people from all parts of the country; people who’d been with us for long and people who’d just joined us a couple of days back. Folks in the office were busy supporting customer issues and were ensuring business continuity. All our services run in the cloud and our infrastructure was always ready. What surprised us was to see how, even during these trying times, our systems ran with 100% up-time on minimal support.
It was truly inspiring to see folks come together and work as one team. People looked out and cared for each other and ensured that everyone was safe and secure. Oh, we managed to get in a couple of Pictionary, Mafia and charades games as well!
It was a wonderful and a proud moment for all of us to see so many volunteers emerge to help out people. We were also housing a few friends and families of our employees. By this time, we had managed to get better at the drill of what was needed and how to get a hold of supplies. All this while, Ramanujan IT park had enough power back up to keep us all warm and connected to the outside world.
After four days of continuous downpour, the rain gods seemed to show some signs of fatigue. On the evening of December 5th, we decided to move out a group of people to Bangalore to keep the systems running. We weren’t sure that the worst was behind us, and we didn’t want to take that chance, as Ramanujan IT park was also not sure about the power backup this time.
However, thankfully the rain stopped and we had full power and connectivity from the week of December 7th onwards. The folks who went to Bangalore worked from there for a week before they returned to join the team back here in Chennai.
We were able to pull together a fantastic tale of team work, support and empathy. Tough times like these show true character and we were humbled and grateful for our people, their kindness and humanity. We hold our values and culture very high and this story would be a long-standing testimony to our culture, a time where the team came together and rose to the occasion; organizational culture values which we truly live by – trust, support, challenge and fun!