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Home > News> Talking Point > When retail offers hackathons, Spanish lessons as incentives

When retail offers hackathons, Spanish lessons as incentives

  • Signing up for training sessions and meeting other new employees helps a recruit understand the company’s culture
  • Getting an insight into an organization’s culture is definitely an advantage

Pranav Chitrio looked for a job that would teach him something new everyday.

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For any fresher, who makes the transition from campus to workplace, it takes time to adjust and fit into the company’s culture. For Pranav Chitrio, software development engineer at Walmart Labs India, this was slightly less intimidating. Chitrio, who has been with the MNC’s (multinational corporation) Bengaluru office for eight months, did a two-month internship with the same organization in 2017. That short stint gave the IIT (ISM) Dhanbad alumnus a taste of the company’s culture.

The right pick

While Chitrio, 22, enjoyed his stint at the US-headquartered technology arm of US retail giant Walmart, it didn’t deter him from sitting for interviews with other companies including Amazon, Google and Samsung. “But since I had worked with Walmart and I liked it, I didn’t want to try something new,” says Chitrio, who took up the pre-placement offer the organization extended after his internship. “During my internship, I noticed that the office culture is pretty open. Whether you are an intern, associate or vice-president of the company, no one has a cabin. Everyone sits together and the belief is to move as a cohesive unit.”

Getting an insight into an organization’s culture is definitely an advantage but what also helped was the ease with which he got along with his team during the internship and later as an employee.

“For a student coming straight from college to a company for the first time, you feel very nervous. You wonder how your manager will be, how your teammates will treat you, whether you will fit in with the team... But the integration was seamless,” recalls Chitrio, who worked with a different team as an intern.

Scope to learn

In addition to having supportive teammates, Chitrio finds that the company doesn’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to upgrading technology skill sets. For instance, when Chitrio started, his team wanted him to do a software development job. But he didn’t know the details of the technology being used. “They organized a training session. For software development engineer, this is necessary as the technology keeps evolving. You cannot be familiar with all the technology that is out there in the industry,” he says.

Almost every month, Chitrio says, employees can sign up for a training exercise, which he finds a boon because the main focus for a fresher, he believes, should be to learn and gain knowledge. “That’s the sort of thing I was looking for and got. So, I am very happy,” he says. In his current role, he works closely with the Mexico team and since a lot of communication is in Spanish, he’s learning the language. He’s also been encouraged to give ideas, and one of the ways he does this is by participating in internal hackathons. “I was recently part of a hackathon and it was a good platform to pitch something new,” he says. He’s also had the opportunity to supervise as well. For instance, his manager asked him to join a hackathon his company was organizing at his alma matter. “The aim was to understand how other people approached our problem statement. Here, everyone, whether a manager, a senior engineer, a fresher or an intern, gets equal opportunity. That gives you confidence and inspiration to go forward,” he says.

Making connections

While the company does a lot to nurture employees’ work skills, the internal Slack channels and the buddy programme have helped him in networking and getting easy access to the leadership and team managers from other teams. Chitrio was impressed that the top leadership does an AMA (ask me anything) in the Slack channel every quarter, thereby, encouraging cross communication. To ensure people communicated their thoughts and ideas lucidly, Chitrio says, training is also provided on how to interact with the leadership in an efficient manner.

Another thing that helped him understand the company’s culture and adjust to the city was the interaction with former freshers (who joined a year earlier) during the three day onboarding programme.

“They guided on the areas we can rent apartments, about the company, etc,” Chitrio says.

Besides work, Chitrio enjoys the routine treasure hunts and quizzes which come with “cool” goodies like chocolates. He loved the fortnight stay at JW Marriot, when he joined the company. “It was an upside,” he says.

He also loves the different cuisines he gets to sample at the cafeteria. “And of course, we have access to all kinds of hardware and software, which is what you need as an engineer,” he says.

Fresh at Work explores what excites new graduates about their workplaces and how they’re learning on the job.

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