"Access To Benefits Is As Important As Salary Component" | Times Of India (Interview)

What organizations find difficult to do is to retain their employees and indulge them in employee engagement activities. Retaining the best talent in the organization is considered as achieving a milestone. With India being the center of market expansion (no matter what the domain is) and a lot of opportunities coming up, employees are in a constant search of job opportunities in organizations where they can not only learn and grow but also feel valued. 
To address these issues and solve them on a corporate level, the idea of Advantage Club bloomed. 
Started in 2014 by Sourabh Deorah and Smiti Bhatt Deorah, Advantage Club has been helping corporates hold on to talent through an employee engagement platform to keep employees satisfied. Advantage Club curates various deals and offers for employees who avail them using corporate discounts and cashback offers. The current focus of the company is to start rigorous employee engagement activities at work; Hobby Clubs (creating communities within the organization) along with the Perks, Rewards & Recognition that are already running in the corporates.

"We look at corporate employees as a group of people who are more than strangers, less than friends, in terms of trust.” says Sourabh. Currently working with over 250 corporate partners including Concentrix, Ernst & Young, Amazon, Fidelity and Tata power, Advantage Club is looking to make further inroads into a $3 billion market, a large part of which lies untapped.

On Employee Benefits
Talking about the employee benefits and lapping the idea of starting a company that is solely dedicated to employee welfare, Sourabh quotes, “Back in 2014, I and co-founder Smiti were working for Microsoft and that’s when we saw that the US employees had access to a lot of benefits. This was very important to an employee, almost as important as the salary component and it really made life easier. Typically, in the US, there were specialized third-party companies that would do benefit program management and most of the larger companies would work with one or the other such organizations. In India, that market was very nascent at that time, so it seemed like an opportunity for us.”

The Privilege of Advantage Club
What we do creates a corporate affinity within the organization, in which an employee feels valued. If, say, a person is moving out of an organization, that has Advantage Club and joins another organization that doesn’t have Advantage Club, then that employee should feel that a 10% salary cut is about to happen (without any monetary change).

On choosing Gurugram
Talking about choosing Gurugram over any other place to start with, Sourabh said, “We had an option to plant ourselves anywhere, we did not have any location constraints, but it was a hard battle internally to decide between Gurugram and Bangalore. What we realized was that, in a lot of large companies, the key decision-makers sit out of Gurugram, even if there are large offices in other places. That really pushed us to start in Gurugram.” 

Flexi means job satisfaction
Experiencing the current trends in the corporates and the employee expectations, Sourabh tells TOI that, “Earlier when people would switch jobs, they would think about pensions and retirements. Now nobody thinks of that. Everybody thinks about immediate gratification and there’s a lot more flexibility in terms of taking offs, going on vacations, etc. Earlier taking leaves used to be a very big deal. It used to be an annual affair. But now when you talk to Millenials, they are completely chill about taking a two or three-days off, going on a vacation or planning a trip, and organizations are very supportive as well.”

Advantage Club is the pioneer of the employee benefits space in India. This is a small excerpt from the one on one interview of Sourabh Deorah with TOI.
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