- “Out of 2,900 employees in sales functions, we will have over 300 people who are just 12th pass. This is a very aggressive target that we have taken,” says Ankur Sharma, CHRO, Aye Finance.
- Besides providing jobs to the candidates, Aye Finance also sponsors their education and monitors their study status as well. The interns are recruited at the beginning of an academic year so that they can join the college in their city or a correspondence course when the training starts.
- As of now, 200 interns have been already onboarded at the company, and they are currently undergoing training in their allocated branches. For the next year, the company’s target is to onboard 600 interns and to have at least one employee who is a 12th pass in every branch.
Even today, having a degree still has the upper hand in the never lasting ‘degree v/s skills,’ battle. In India, graduation is a default token for most job aspirants to get a start in a white-collar career. Yet, there is a ray of hope for the no-degree holders and youngsters who had to forgo their college-going plans due to financial or other constraints.
Aye Finance, a new age fintech company is hiring the 12th pass candidates as interns in the sales role, as a part of its ‘Learn While You Earn,’ initiative. After the nine months of training, the selected interns not only get converted as full-time employees but also get a degree in their hands, if things go well!
Launched in 2021, the main objective of the ‘Learn While You Earn,’ initiative is to tap young talent from remote villages and towns, promote economic inclusion and provide livelihood to financially disadvantaged families. Talking about the initiative, Ankur Sharma, CHRO, Aye Finance, says, “The organisation has its presence in 396 locations pan India across 20 states. And, most of the employees in the branches at tier-2 cities are the local natives. Thus, we also felt the need to give back to the native communities.”
Thirty-eight interns were onboarded as full-time employees last year through the initiative. As the initiative has positive feedback from the supervisors, Aye Finance is enrolling around 250 interns this year. As of now, 200 interns have been already onboarded at the company, and they are currently undergoing training in their allocated branches. For the next year, the company’s target is to onboard 600 interns, and to have at least one employee who is a 12th pass in every branch.
“Out of 2,900 employees in sales functions, we will have over 300 people who are just 12th pass. This is a very aggressive target that we have taken,” Sharma says.
The interns get a base stipend of Rs 12,500 a month, and on the basis of the collections that they do, they get incentives for that as well. Once the interns are converted to full-time roles, their earnings are close to Rs 20,000 a month, besides the Provident Fund (PF), Employees’ State Insurance (ESI), and other benefits, including salary advance, home loans, etc.
To source local talents, the HR department approaches panchayats, training institutes, schools, and advertises on social media. While selecting the candidates, English fluency is not given much priority. The criterion that the company looks for in interns is that they should be able to articulate well in the local language. The financial parameter that the company sets is that interns should be the sole or second breadwinners in the family.
The shortlisted interns are lined up for two rounds of screening. The first screening round is scheduled with the HR manager, and the second round is scheduled with the branch manager.
The selected candidates are made to go through a series of training before joining the internship. While the initial training for experienced employees is for two days, for the interns it would be for one week in a granular way. Even the branch managers are given training on how to handle the interns, as they need a lot of hand-holding compared to the graduates. During the internship period, the interns are assigned a buddy, who is an experienced employee in the branch to guide them in dealing with customers and sales.
“As the sales domain is a target-oriented job, sometimes, there are heated discussions between supervisors and employees. Considering that these interns are not mature employees, as they transitioned to the workplace directly from school, the feedback and training are given to them with the utmost sensitivity,” Sharma says.
To be full-time employees, the interns have to be at minimum productivity in terms of their disbursements and the number of customers they churn. “In case, someone is just sitting with zero sales for nine months, we identify it as an attitude issue. But we are not penalising any of them if they fail. Even if somebody unlucky fails the exam, we will let them appear next year,” Sharma says.
“So far, we have not really seen people struggling in terms of achievements, because the targets that we have given to them are very minimal. For the first six months, we don’t even track their productivity, as they are in the learning period. So, even if they do one or two disbursements in a month, we let them be there,” Sharma points out.
Assistance to enrol in degree programme
Besides providing jobs to the interns, Aye Finance also sponsors their education and monitors their study status as well. The interns are recruited at the beginning of an academic year so that they can join a college in their city or a correspondence course when the training starts. By the time they complete nine months of training, they would be near their first academic year as well.
The reimbursements of tuition fees are done in the respective months when the interns submit their fee slips. And, the sponsorship of graduation fees continues till they are active employees of the company.
The company hasn’t set any contracts on any compulsory tenures to be served, as it wants the employees to be mentally free. “These are the most loyal employees who tend to stay longer than any other set of employees in the organisation, because they acknowledge that the organisation supported them financially when nobody else would have hired them. We also have sponsored their education, which is a lifetime benefit,” Sharma points out.
On a closing note, Sharma says, “At Aye Finance, we don’t really see any lobbying, diplomacy, backbiting or favouritism. As an organisation, we practise transparency and open culture. This is why we are consistently getting certified as a great place to work and this year we are awarded first place in the BFSI sector.”
Employee training is at the core of the development of the people at Aye Finance. The company provides branch training, behavioural training, leadership training, and upskills the employees with the help of integrated virtual learning platforms. Besides this, the organisation also provides education loans with zero interest to employees, and sponsors the higher education of employees who enrol in Harvard, Stanford and IIMs.
“Everybody in the organisations knows how the incentive programme works and how the increments are calculated. We follow meritocracy and one of the objectives of the ‘Learn While You Earn,’ programme is that we expect these interns to hold supervisory positions in the coming five years,” Sharma concludes.