A year ago, Zoho Corp, a Chennai-based software-as-a-service (SAAS) company, maintained its work-from-home policy, which has been hailed by all for its inherent flexibility. This allowed employees to work from home, in a central office, or in one of the company’s many “spokes” – smaller offices in relatively remote locations that saw a large workforce congregate and work. Today, this policy is changing. Zoho wants its employees back in the office. Sidhar Vembu, co-founder and CEO of Zoho, thinks this could be a big step from an HR perspective.
“As our experiences have evolved over the past couple of years, so have we evolved,” Sridhar said in an exclusive chat with CNBC-TV18“Most of our new hires today are fresh out of college and require a lot of training and soaking up the work culture. That can’t happen remotely.”
There have been reports of Zoho officials being given carte blanche to decide work patterns, pushing employees back to the office. Sridhar said this was done to ensure current employees help new ones feel more welcome in the workplace.
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“We noticed that when we recruited two or three thousand people over the last two years, those people had a hard time integrating into the company,” he said. “I started getting questions at open houses where employees said ‘I’ve been here six months and haven’t met anyone, or ‘I feel isolated and alone’ or “I would like more interaction”.
Sridhar added, “New employees told me they needed the office, and that’s when I realized that experienced employees could contribute by training these employees, which was not happening enough. J So I thought a desktop environment was important.”
Incidentally, Zoho’s enterprise IT software platform, ManageEngine, has decided to expand, announcing plans to open five new centers and hire an additional 1,000 employees this year. ManageEngine, described by Sridhar as “Zoho’s lesser-known cousin,” contributes nearly half of Zoho’s annual revenue. The expansion will be accommodated by new offices in new cities.
“We are planning a hub-and-spoke model where we will build sites mainly in rural areas but not far from cities – sites near Madurai, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore and Trichy,” Sridhar said, “We plan to expand in the North India too. Many recruitments for ManageEngine will be in the metros to support corporate clients in regions like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.”
Zoho is bullish on ManageEngine largely due to the company’s IT management promising rapid growth. “ManageEngine is well positioned in the market, in the enterprise IT management segment and the opportunity is huge for us,” Sridhar said, “We think it could be a $5-10 billion business for We, and we’re investing heavily for the long term, and we’re projecting 20-25% growth a year, and those are conservative estimates, so we could double our revenue in the next three to four years.
First post: STI