Since September 2015, nearbuy CEO Ankur Warikoo has had lunch with over 65 nearbuy employees, gorged on hearty home-cooked meals, tried dishes he didn’t know existed and has received love from them, enough to last him a lifetime.
This has only been possible because of the ‘Lunch with Warikoo’ initiative he rolled out in late 2015. He says, “As the company was growing, the functional distance between me and my colleagues was also becoming larger. It is personally very important to me that people love coming to work and I thought the best way to know what is on people’s mind is to give them individual attention”.
The agenda for these lunches is simple: Good food, lots of laughs, getting to know each other and strictly no work talk. “It’s been the most humbling thing I have undertaken. Being part of the lives of my colleagues and hearing about their motivation and their experiences is fascinating. People have cried in front of me, bought me lunch, taken me out for lunch, showered me with gifts and have been super nice and gracious in sharing their deepest emotions”, says Ankur.
nearbuy chief executive of local commerce Ravi Shankar, who much to the delight of the nearbuy employees, recently initiated the ‘Lunch with Ravi’ initiative, agrees with Warikoo. “Every person has a story. I’ve found out what makes them tick and more importantly what makes them twinkle”, he says.
He still hasn’t gotten over his recent lunch with Nizam Sufi from the Mumbai Sales Team. Coming from an economically poor background, he struggled and paid for his own education from class VIII and is the only literate member in his family. Today, he has grown into a leadership role and is in the top 10 percentile in nearbuy. “How can one not be inspired by such people?”, asks Ravi.
These lunches leave not just the cofounders, but also the nearbuy employees, with some food for thought. “We talked about everything nearbuy, from merchants to stress busters, the best of Dehradun and even our personal lives. To sum it up, it was super awesome lunching”, smiles Gurmeet Singh Walia, from the Dehradun local sales team, who recently had Lunch with Ravi. Suhani Dang from the travel sales team in Gurgaon couldn’t agree more. “It was a blessing in disguise when my Lunch with Warikoo got cancelled because that led to a Dinner with Warikoo invite! We had a wonderful time discussing random and not-so-random stuff. Warikoo, being the chilled-out CEO that he is, didn’t let me feel even for a second that I’m sitting with a CEO or even a colleague. It was like catching up with an old friend”, she says, adding, “Super cool, super chilled-out, super humble, super friendly and super amazing — -that’s Warikoo. It was indeed an honour to have dinner with nearbuy’s superhero”.
Meanwhile, the pressure is building up on the rest of the directors — — Sachin Kapur, Sumeet Kapur, Ankur Sarawagi and Snehesh Mitra — -to begin their own lunch initiatives. Well if it wasn’t, we certainly hope they’re feeling pressured now!
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