In November 2021, PM Narendra Modi pledged to cut down the country’s emissions to net-zero by 2070 at the COP26 Summit, Glasgow. The 2022 Union Budget too saw the inclusion of many sustainability and climate action goals. It emphasised energy transition and climate action as its two focal areas. Green energy and clean mobility systems were termed sunrise industries.
Last year, several companies took immediate measures to meet ESG norms. As per a report in Mint, Reliance Industries LTD, JSW Energy, and HDFC bank are coming up with several ways to go carbon neutral in the next few decades. In a conversation with All Things Talent, SV Nathan, Partner and Chief Talent Officer, Deloitte India revealed that they are committed to dropping carbon emissions by 2030.
Cygni, an EV manufacturing company, too is doing its bit in keeping up with the pledge made by our PM. The firm is encouraging its employees to go for Electric Vehicles and is sweetening the deal with many offers. Venkat Rajaraman, CEO and Founder, Cygni says, “We have always been ahead of the technology adoption curve and we believe that we would continue to be the early adopters of such breakthrough technologies. The main goal is to encourage employees to go EV so that we can reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and also encourage employees to go clean and green.”
This is still a very small percentage in terms of overall adoption because the expectation is that India will transition towards EV in this decade. Cygni aims to be part of this transition to clean energy.
To encourage employees to opt for EVs, Cygni partnered with electric vehicle OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) for bulk discounts on the vehicles for the employees and their immediate families. “Our OEMs have offered us up to a 20 percent discount for this intervention. We have also partnered with the charging station providers to provide the EV charging platform inside our office premises. Essentially this is to encourage EV adoption. We would like to see about 80 percent adoption of EVs in Cygnians in the next twelve months,” Rajaraman informs.
Rajaraman also adds here that the rollout is for all employees at all levels. They already have several electric vehicles that are being used by the employees and more and more employees are also adopting this new way of carbon-free transportation. He believes that this adoption will continue to increase in the coming months.
The rollout is for all employees at all levels. They already have several electric vehicles that are being used by the employees and more and more employees are also adopting this new way of carbon-free transportation.
The budget this year also mentions the rollout of a battery swapping policy which will further boost the cause of clean mobility systems. Cygni has already been working on swapping technologies. “We will put together battery swapping stations and then Cygni will even operate the swapping stations for the employees so that if they do not have time for charging, they can come to take out a newly charged battery for the drained one to use it in their vehicle, while the old battery can be charged in the swapping station,” shares Rajaraman.
In other HR practices, Cygni has also launched an external leadership coaching program with the aim of succession planning. Currently, three leaders are getting coached under special coaching from this external leadership coach. They are planning to have three more leaders in the next quarter. As of now, the roles that are part of this program are AVP – Production, Senior Manager – Production, and Manager – Quality. Explaining it further, Rajaraman adds, “We wanted to bring in the external leadership coach because most of the time external leaders will provide a fresh, outside-in perspective and we also believe that they also look at things more objectively rather than someone from inside. We wanted to groom the next level leaders”.
The external leadership coach is a certified professional who uses proven techniques and makes leaders go through a certain set of processes. They then identify who has the capability and capacity to go up to the next level.
“The key objective of leadership coaching is succession planning. EV is growing at a very rapid pace, and Cygni is following closely behind. We believe that we need more leaders across all the departments as we scale up our operations. While we are also hiring leaders from outside, we believe that leadership grooming from within will be very essential,” Rajaraman reasons.
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From an HR digitalisation perspective, Cygni uses a cloud-based HRMS tool. They have implemented OKRs (The Objective and Key Results) as part of the strategy. The OKRs are all visible across all levels of the organisation, right from the CEO to the Department Heads, to people who are at the lower rung. Everyone will know what everybody else is working on. The organisation believes it will bring a lot of synergy and transparency into the organisation.
“The key objective of leadership coaching is succession planning. EV is growing at a very rapid pace, and Cygni is following closely behind. We believe that we need more leaders across all the departments as we scale up our operations. While we are also hiring leaders from outside, we believe that leadership grooming from within will be very essential.”
“Cygni is a fast-growing startup in the EV space and currently we have about 10 percent market share in the energy storage segment. India has about 300,000 EVs currently. This number is expected to touch 10 million in the next five to seven years which means that we have to grow by almost 30X and we believe that we will have a huge role to play in this growth. All of our investment in terms of leadership coaching, digitalisation is to gear us towards this growth as we go forward.” Rajaraman reveals.
Year of incorporation: 2014
Number of employees: 58
Name of the founder(s): Venkat Rajaraman
Business line: EV Battery Manufacturing
Hiring pipeline: 19
Workforce pie across departments (in percent): Production- 31, R&D – 29, Project & Service- 22, BD- 9, Others- 9
Key HR policies: ESOPs are given to GM and above; using HRMS tool for HR Tech