Meet Anjan Pathak – the CTO and Co-Founder of Vantage Circle- a global leading employee engagement and wellness platform. He has over two decades of experience in building and deploying cross-channel web applications.
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Anjan Pathak: I am the CTO and Co-Founder of Vantage Circle- a global leading employee engagement and wellness platform. I have over two decades of experience in building and deploying cross-channel web applications.
The initial 17 years of my vocation were spent brainstorming, designing, and architecting multiple e-commerce applications. The cognizance, experience, and insights accumulated over the years have been invaluable in eventually doing what I authentically wanted to do- developing world-class HR technology solutions.
I have spent a significant part of my career, 15 years to be precise, working in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. Upon my eventual return to India in 2013, I have been involved in developing and mentoring the product, operations, and marketing team of Vantage Circle since then. Even today, I consider myself an entrepreneur at heart.
As the CTO of the company, I am responsible for the technological progress and evolution of Vantage Circle. I also played a key role in the design, architecture and technical implementation of the company’s core functions.
Also as a wellness devotee, I am inconceivably energetic about the requirement for corporate wellbeing. I am a passionate global technologist, committed to changing the game for clients and customers.
About Vantage Circle: Vantage Circle is a Global Employee Engagement and Wellness Platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver easy-to-use and effective employee engagement solutions to HR to retain & attract the best talents and create a great work culture.
The company’s suite of solutions, namely, Vantage Rewards, Vantage Perks, Vantage Pulse, and Vantage Fit, is designed to address the conscious need to enhance workforce productivity by presenting a great employee experience.
Vantage Rewards is a powerful SaaS-based reward and recognition platform that is easy to use and makes the employee recognition process easy, fun, cost-effective, and globally accessible. Enable your organization to recognize and appreciate in a meaningful yet seamless way with Vantage Rewards.
Vantage Perks is a comprehensive employee benefits platform that provides exclusive corporate deals, discounts, and cashback on a global catalog of top online and offline brands. Prioritizes your employees’ financial well-being by enabling them to save money with Vantage Perks.
Vantage Pulse is a powerful employee survey tool that lets you collect, measure, and act on real-time employee feedback. Uncover actionable data, predict employee behavior and get an accurate picture of your organization’s employee engagement levels with Vantage Pulse.
Vantage Fit is an AI-based corporate wellness platform that enables organizations to nurture a healthy workforce by enabling a gamified wellness experience for a diverse workforce. Meet your workforce’s wellness needs through team events and incentivize health achievements with Vantage Fit redeemable reward points.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Anjan Pathak: Since the pandemic hit us, we were all homebound and made it our workplace, too. Hence, the first curveball for scalability is remote working. Just because the pandemic is on the verge of ending, we must not stop the remote working culture. It gives freedom and leeway to many working parents who face difficulty managing a work-life balance. But with remote working options, it is possible. A flexible work culture caters to every person at their very own convenience.
Similarly, we can try out a hybrid work culture for employees who can come to the office but not for 5 days, and they can choose when to work from the office and home. This flexibility in work boosts employee trust and morale, and as a result, you get enhanced productivity.
The pandemic also taught us the importance of digitization. Hence, we must never lose sight of the digital world. We must constantly keep our content updated and trendy for every end-user, never to miss an update. It gives your company the limelight it deserves.
And lastly, we must never fail to check on our employees’ physical and mental health while working remotely. Good health is the key to increased productivity, and as an employer, we must always look after our workers’ health. And at Vantage Circle, we do all of this with the help of our agile rewards and recognition program and our wellness app, Vantage Fit. This helps keep track of employee progress and health & wellness.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Anjan Pathak: Digitization is the prime focus in 2022, after the disruption of the economy ever since the pandemic. With the help of digitization, we reach out to a bigger and wider range of customers. Today, almost every person is on social media, at least Vantage Circle’s niche audience. And all our products from R&R platforms, pulse feedback, perks to Vantage Fit, everything runs digitally. The purpose is to make it efficient, on-spot, and instant. After all, recognition delayed is recognition denied.
So, my advice would be to invest more in your content and digital marketing for 2022. It is cost-effective, informative, and quirky at the same time. Pour some extra love and support on your design, content, and marketing team and let them do the visual magic for your company’s success.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Anjan Pathak: If I were, to be honest, the pandemic positively affected Vantage Circle. Instead of a downfall, we enhanced our scalability. Whether it was hiring or website traffic, we saw an increase in both.
We became a family of 1 million users on our platform during the pandemic. Our content and product reached a pinnacle during the covid-19 outbreak, and we welcomed new hires across the country. We catered to many clients. Thanks to digitization.
We cannot deny that because we were all homebound, isolation and mental health did take a toll on our team and us. And we tried to cope with that by organizing digital and virtual events via online sessions, webinars and introducing new wellness challenges in our Vantage Fit app to keep them engaged and healthy. We kept our group engaged, from mindfulness sessions to online yoga day celebrations. Lastly, our on-spot digital rewards and recognition platform kept recognizing our team instantly and digitally.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Anjan Pathak: As the Co-founder of the company, I always tend to think from my employees’ POV. What would they want in a situation as such? What are they going through? Are they thinking just like me? Would they feel the same because of the pandemic if I felt anxious?
And that is when it struck my mind. Mental health is a priority now, more than ever. Some people were stuck at houses all by themselves; some might have been with abusive or toxic partners/family. So, my advice would be to focus on employees’ mental health. Talk to them if you come across employees who might have gone silent or are behaving out of their element. Empathy is the key to building peer relations at work.
As a result, we updated our Vantage Fit app to address mental health issues at work. If workers cannot talk it out, they can always take assistance and help from the app right at a click. There are multiple resources to tackle mental health that employees’ can grab a hold on. The pandemic has made us realize the importance of mental health issues and how we need to tackle them at work without being judgemental.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Anjan Pathak: 2020 and 2021 have been a journey of faith, success, and trust. I trusted my team and clients without whom I wouldn’t be interviewed today. So, for 2022 my team and I envisioned achieving greater dimensions of employee engagement and wellness in the digital world.
We aimed to reach global clients across various countries, and we’re on it already. Right now, we have a solid team of international marketing who are working on translation projects from content to website to product design. And that is our goal to break language and cultural barriers and make our product diverse and inclusive for all.
Also, our prime motive of promoting agile and digital rewards and recognition platforms like Vantage Rewards will always remain constant. Alongside we will also continue to work towards improving workers’ mental health with the help of Vantage Fit.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Anjan Pathak: Overall, I spend around 8-10 hours a day in front of the screen. Considering the workload, I make it a point to spend limited time informing the screen as it gets fatiguing and tiring sometimes. And I advise the same to my team as well.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Anjan Pathak: The best story of persuasion is yourself. If you’re a leader who can communicate with a touch of personal emotion, empathy, and zeal, you have your account built already. All you need is trust. Trust in your team’s efficiency and performance will ultimately reflect on customer satisfaction. So, you can develop your compelling story by being a charismatic and democratic leader who is not self-centered and takes full responsibility, whether success or failure.
Another important aspect of communication is being diverse and inclusive. When you have an equal opportunity policy in your workplace, the dialogue is delivered automatically. A discrimination-free environment is a story of persuasion, equality, equity, and respect. And companies must practice throughout employee experience, from onboarding, their time in your organization, to exit.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Anjan Pathak: Currently, the challenge comes with the benefit of remote working itself. Even though remote work benefits employees in terms of flexibility, freedom, and mental health, employee engagement in remote working is still a challenge.
With remote working, the prime obstacle is keeping track of progress. All we can do is have faith and trust in our team. Also, many remote workers miss out on team-building activities at work. So, involving them becomes difficult sometimes. Also, it is a bit of a hassle for us to connect offline and online with team meetings. For example, remote employees often remain detached from community events like team outings, office gatherings, and offline training sessions. Moreover, employees might feel isolated when people at the office meet over drinks and lunch. Still, they remain at home, hardly getting the comfort of communicating in person, which is impossible over calls and Zoom talks. But, I guess we will figure out ways to conquer the lesser troubles we have with remote working with time.
Earlier, I mentioned improving our employee’s mental health, a challenge. Forbes notes in a study that only 1 in 5 employees said that their employers provided them extra support for their mental health issues. And I do not want to be on that list. Hence, addressing mental health is a challenge because it could be triggering but finding a way out of this challenge is what I intend to work towards.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Anjan Pathak: Since Vantage Circle is a Saas product and is completely digital, my motivation leans towards data analytics, machine learning, and understanding the recent trends of AI.
My objective is to make our product more user-centric, user-friendly and incorporate AI most efficiently. We want to break all barriers to digitizing and humanizing a product by working on user experience and interface.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Anjan Pathak: Instead of saying, “That’s not me,” we must say, “what do you think?”
Yes, employee retention and turnover have good leadership, company culture, equal recognition, diversity, and inclusion. But, what are we doing to make it better? How do we make it best for employees to retain themselves? Have you wondered where do you lack as a company?
Well, this is where our product, Vantage Pulse, comes into play. It is all about employee feedback. When employees can anonymously raise their queries through questionnaires and employee surveys, your job gets easier on the areas you must work to make a great employee experience.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Anjan Pathak: Thinking of running a company and making it a success is a superpower in itself. And it takes courage and trust in your team, without whom you can never achieve the desired goal. Hence, if I were to pick a superpower, it would be gaining impeccable marketing skills.
Yes, marketing skills require immense communication skills and convincing speech, giving you a global presence. And if I mastered that, I would have received my superpower. Alongside, I would love to cut down the linguistics barriers that persist in the business world. India speaks 22 official languages, let alone the rest of the world. Hence, if I had a business superpower, I would love to eradicate linguistic barriers for all of us to understand each other at a go.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Anjan Pathak: Success is taking my company to greater heights and attaining my mark in the global market. When my product and the team gain a presence in the international markets, I, as an individual, succeed. And I shall keep working hard to find my absolute position in the global market. And when I say global market, I mean every part of the world, especially non-English speaking countries. I want Vantage Circle to reach every aspect of the world and make it accessible in every country.
Doing so will create a revolutionary workplace culture where everyone receives equal opportunities and respect. When we remove linguistic barriers, we also break cultural, ethnic, racial and sexuality barriers creating an equitable culture. As a result, we will nurture a culture of recognition, diversity, inclusion, and appreciation irrespective of personal identities.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Anjan Pathak for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Anjan Pathak or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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