Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70 percent of large and midsize enterprises will use some form of technology for recognition and reward. But less than 25 percent will leverage its full potential across the different use cases. To discuss the various opportunities technology holds in the space of rewards and recognition, we interacted with Sourabh Deorah, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Advantage Club.
Launched in 2016, Advantage Club runs a corporate discount platform & an end-to-end reward and recognition solution. In August this year, the HR tech startup raised $1 Mn as part of its pre-Series A round of funding led by GrowX Ventures and joined by early-stage investor Sprout Venture Partners, among others.
In this interview, Deorah also shared how Advantage Club is leveraging technology to help organizations enhance their employee engagement and discussed the competition present in the sector.
How would you describe the current state of tech adoption in rewards and recognition space?
In the Indian market, we are still at a nascent stage. There is only a small percentage of companies which have adopted technology as a solution for R&R and only about 10 percent of the potential is being utilized. A huge opportunity in this space still lies untouched and untapped in the country that more companies might start exploring in the coming years.
What are some factors driving the tech adoption and what are the factors holding it back?
Automating and the subsequent ease of use is what is driving the tech adoption, especially when teams are large and distributed. Traditionally companies have been doing R&R manually from decades. But technology is here to save talent professionals from this cumbersome process. With technology, it becomes operationally easier to award, track, and redeem and further it gives a chance to talent leaders and managers to improvize their R&R strategy with analytics and relevant insights.
What is holding the adoption back is the fact that it is a change of behaviour and policies. Just like any tech automation process, this is a change which will take time to become a revolution.
What opportunities does this scenario create for Advantage Club? How is Advantage Club leveraging technology to help organizations enhance their employee engagement?
The corporate market is a $2 Bn market in India alone. Not just large organizations, a lot of midsize companies and SMEs have identified retaining good employees as a KPI, as important as ROI. Recognizing employees on small achievements is a key enabler for the same. This is the opportunity for us and our focus is on helping organizations as they work towards redefining employee engagement.
As tech adoption in the R&R space increases, Advantage Club strives to be at the forefront to lead the initiative in the market.
Currently, we provide end-to-end solutions, right from an exclusive access to corporate perks to a complete budget management solution for awarding employees. This includes features like creating different budgets, awarding employees in bulk digitally using CSV uploads, redemption with discounts and detailed analytics. We also have unique products like an internal classifieds for companies where employees can buy/sell products to each other, and hobby clubs to create communities of like-minded associates to add another layer of employee interactions and engagement.
How is the competition in your sector? Amid such competition, how do you stay ahead of the curve?
There are a few companies in India who are trying to address rewards and recognition as a problem with technology. We are however trying to take a different approach by focusing on employee engagement as a holistic problem in which we provide solutions around corporate discounts, rewards and recognition, building communities through products like classifieds and hobby clubs.
Further, we look to maintain a market advantage by being product and data focused. We believe that one size does not fit all and every organization has different cohorts and patterns when it comes to employee behaviour, and through features like 'trending in your company' and personalization on brand and category level, we aim to provide unique insights for every organization instead of a vanilla app for everyone.
With a recent round of funding, how do you plan to innovate your solutions and expand your business going forward? What will be your key priorities for the next two years?
There are immense opportunities in this space, both in India and internationally. We plan to invest these funds to build better data mining and personalization in the product and also focus on territorial expansion. The idea is to give users a more personalized experience and focus on building much more holistic communities within companies. Our plan is to grow quickly and scale the business in the next two years, and create an impact in the lives of 10x more employees than we impact today.