ISHIR| digital transformation services
Rishi Khanna, CEO, ISHIR

For any organization to thrive, an implied focus must be placed on its core strength – its employees. When it comes to employee satisfaction, the aspects of work culture, amenities, privileges, and growth opportunities play key roles. A company that ardently caters to these aspects can evidently be termed as employee centric.

This edition, India’s Most Employee Centric Companies to Watch, exhibits organizations across India, which focus on being the best workplaces for their employees, possessing a forte in inculcating the above mentioned aspects, other than being the experts in their respective markets.

One such company that we came across is ISHIR, a globally diversified leading offshore software development company. Headquartered in Dallas, with a global delivery centre in Noida, ISHIR showcases a strong expertise in custom software development, managed cloud services, software testing, application development services, and automation.

The company additionally offers next-gen Internet of Thing (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Robotics Process Automation (RPA), and Big Data services.

ISHIR is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, AWS Consulting Partner, VM Ware Solution Partner, and Google AdWords Company. It has gained recognition and reputation as 3X INC 5000 as America’s fastest growing 5000 and 2X Fort Worth Magazine Fastest Growing companies. The company is minority-owned and certified by NMSDC and NCTRCA, and also received its SEI-CMMi Level 3 certification in 2007.

In the following interview, Rishi Khanna, the CEO at ISHIR, takes us through the company’s business competency, employee centricity, and his perspective on keeping the business afloat during a global pandemic.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Tell us more about ISHIR and its journey so far.

We are one of the most preferred offshore software development companies with a unique combination of talented people, world-class processes, and robust technology. ISHIR’s business was divested into multiple business entities in 2016 to ensure that we are more focused in the services we wish to deliver.

The business has had its ups and downs based on economic and political changes over the last 20 years. We saw tremendous growth from 2002 to 2007, much like other companies experienced. We saw a flat growth or decline between 2007 and 2010 and since 2011, we have been continuously experiencing growth.

Our focus on core purpose, core values and maintaining the culture of the business along with focusing on acquiring talented people, leveraging their unique abilities, and assisting them in defining their purpose in their life plans, has given us a foundation of great talent and business leaders who are passionate about what they do, and are able to work on the unique abilities to create a path of continuous growth and learning. Our people, our culture and our continuous desire to grow has been the reason for our long-standing success.

What are the benefits gained by your clients/users through your products, solutions, and services?

In our journey of 20 years we must have touched about 1000+ businesses and helped them solve their business challenges and problems in many ways. Our clientele is a mixed bag of small to SMEs to Enterprise level customers. In the IT sector, the concerns of smaller and small-medium size businesses are mostly around budget, timelines, and their fear of lack of technical knowhow at their end and their apprehensions about not fitting into the mold of IT giants, and that’s where we fit in rightly.

We hear them out completely, understand their pain areas, make them comfortable about the solution despite their technological handicap and the budget. We maintain complete transparency with our customers which they love. We do not mind saying ‘No’ to unfeasible projects and immature ideas unlike companies who just want to win a project and leave the customers in lurch.

Similar to this, the big enterprise level customers are very comfortable setting up teams with us and as a testimony to this, they have kept their virtual teams with us for as long as 5-10 years and some are still working with the teams beyond 10 years.

ISHIR is a culture driven company which inculcate its 10-core values systems in its employees and that reflects in their day to day working with the customers and make the relationship with our customers work.

What obstacles and or limitations does the company face while hiring and retaining employees?

We believe in hiring top grade talent which makes our hiring process very thorough yet cumbersome sometimes for the candidates. A candidate must pass through several rounds of repeated grind including technical, cultural fitment and top grading interview before the final selection.

There is no scarcity of IT talent in India, however we want to keep mediocre, short term thinkers and only money driven resources at bay. At least 60% of candidates in the pool are driven by only money, they would play between 2-3 in-hand offers till the joining date of the latest and highest offer.

For such candidates, the company culture, type of work environment, exposure and learning curve do not matter. They will keep you on the toes till the joining date. Let alone the joining date, some of them even join the organization, while they are still negotiating at other places and disappear for few extra bucks within couple of days.

Some Start-ups had given further breed to candidate greed, which is detrimental to the growth of Indian IT sector and its image in global market. For a good and culturally fit talent we are willing to go global now, blurring the geographical boundaries and we have already started doing it.

How do you maintain and drive individuals to build a strong team? How do you inspire and motivate people at the workplace to make it interesting and creative?

We have several best practices to support our mission, vision and support the impact we wish to have on the people we touch and are associated with us.

ISHIR’s best practices are inspired from Entrepreneurs’ Operating System (EOS) derived from Gino Wickman’s book Traction. It enables us to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that we are aligned to our vision, annual and quarterly rocks, and collaboratively resolve organizational issues and challenges that impedes our vision and mission.

Teams attend several meetings in each department and report up to the management through the weekly Management Level 10 meeting. To reinforce alignment, accountability, and planning for the future, we have Quarterly and Annual meetings.

Our teams use several thinking tools offered by Strategic Coach to deliberate and discover the impact to our initiatives and projects.  Once we are clear about the objectives, our teams are empowered to make decisions on their own.

We have rewards and recognition for people who best demonstrate our core values and achievements that are recognized on our internal portal named ‘Excellence’, during our weekly meetings and monthly company-wide HR meeting called ‘all hands’.

Every employee starts with orientation and induction into our unique Onboarding program.  Our Onboarding program includes introduction to our Business Operating system, which introduces our new hires to understand all the tools and best practices our business leverages to stay focused on important rather than urgent and stay focused on outcomes.

We also spend considerable time in orienting our teams to roles, helping them identify their life’s purpose and unique abilities, defining their life plans, personal vision boards, getting understanding of their KPI (Key Performance Indicators) and KRA (Key Responsibility Areas), and setting their Goal Achievement Plans. Our people also leverage opportunities provided by our Leadership Development and Apprentice Program.

What new can we expect from ISHIR in the coming years?

COVID has changed the way people would do business going forward and how the companies would operate. Remote is the new normal and as mentioned above, to rise above the mediocrity and provide the best resources and solutions to our customer, we are truly going ‘Borderless’ now.

Despite our production center in Noida-DELHI NCR, we are picking up resources from PAN India and other parts of Asia, Latin America, and East Europe, without having to relocate them to our office. They can work from anywhere.

ISHIR is poised for an even robust growth in 2020, thanks to acquisition of accounts and consistent service to them. We want to be the top IT talent provider for the world for the short term and long-term needs. With our internal teams and our network of global resources we want to bridge the gap between customers and IT talent.

About the Leader

Rishi Khanna is a serial entrepreneur, thought leader, mentor and founder of Leading Technology companies like ISHIR, ENO8, ISHIR Gaming (which was acquired by Aristocrat Gaming) and ISHIR Octavian (which was acquired by Octavian International).

Mr. Khanna enjoys building great teams and guiding leaders in organizations to become better decision makers, stay strategically aligned and operationally agile. He has a proven experience in building and operating businesses in the US, UK, and India.

He started his business when he was 23, possessing a drive and risk-taking appetite and was seeking freedom to define his own future. He went through early challenges in business resulted from dot com burst in 2000, 9/11 terrorist attack, 2008 financial meltdown and outsourcing backlash. But the business consistently grew in the first few years and he was able to achieve his early goals.

Eventually, Rishi realized he was not living his life with purpose. He was only chasing goals and vision with a flawed premise that when he achieves these goals, he will be happy. There started his journey to discover himself and living his life with purpose, intentions, and impact.

His purpose today is helping every member of the company become the best version of themselves every day, at home and at work. He has built ISHIR around continuous learning, growing, and being intentional about how we live.

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