Walmart's PhonePe assures employees there will be no layoffs, salary cuts

Topics PhonePe | Walmart | Coronavirus

PhonePe also had opened merchant visibility through its platform
At a time when companies are bracing for tough measures to mitigate the impact of losses due to the Covid-19 crisis, PhonePe said that there will be no salary cuts or lay-offs at the digital payments firm.

The Walmart-owned company said it continues to hire and has plans to add about 600 people across areas such as engineering and marketing over the next few months. The firm also said that it would retain its 8,500 off-role sales team and there won't be any layoffs there as well. A majority of the firm’s direct 1,200 employees are engineers, and 25 per cent of them are women.

“We at PhonePe have taken a decisive and swift call to take away the fear of job losses for our sales staff in spite of the uncertainty,” said Vivek Lohcheb, vice president, offline business development, PhonePe. “We have provided our employees, insurance against Covid-19 and allocated a monthly safety budget for staff welfare.”

As part of its strategy to counter Covid-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc on businesses, PhonePe had issued strict guidelines for the staff not to venture in places where cases continue to go up. The Bengaluru-based company innovated rapidly to introduce virtual onboarding of merchants. For instance, since the lockdown, the firm has enabled work from home (WFH) for all 8,500 off-role employees with tele-calling capabilities included in their working application. The challenge was to connect with merchants which it was able to overcome due to the close connect and relationship with the merchants. Besides daily virtual meetings,  the company said it conducts consistent engagement activities to keep the staff motivated.

PhonePe also had opened merchant visibility through its platform. The customers can see stores which are open and operational on the PhonePe app and it is enabling home delivery of their orders. The firm also launched a monthly safety budget for the welfare of the employees so that they can buy necessary safety equipment including gloves, sanitisers and masks.

“These initiatives, complemented via frequent and transparent communications reinforced the trust our employees feel and place in us and helped strip away their insecurities around job losses and salary cuts,” said Lohcheb. “This allowed everyone to get back to focus on delivering the best possible outcomes for us and our partners. In fact, the sales team continues to maintain (high) levels of productivity (throughout the crisis).”

One of the PhonePe sales team members is Chetan Sisodiya from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. During the lockdown, Sisodiya’s entire family was dependent on him as his father’s laundry business was shut. He has been working with PhonePe since April 2019 and the company said it has fully supported him, besides providing salary and incentives. Another sales team member Anshuman Deora from Bhilwara in Rajasthan was quarantined for 28 days by the government. Deora feared the loss of the job, but PhonePe said it supported him and provided him full salary.

PhonePe competes with rivals such as Google Pay, Paytm as well as Amazon Pay and is accepted as a payment option at 10 million outlets across 400 cities in India. It has 200 million registered users and does over 500 million monthly transactions.

This year, PhonePe started making deeper inroads into the country’s financial services market, expected to touch $340 billion in the next few years. At a time when there is a spurt in the number of Covid-19 cases in India, the firm in April announced the launch of a unique coronavirus hospitalisation insurance policy called “Corona Care.” In May, it launched Super Funds, which will help investors identify top equity, gold and debt funds of mutual fund companies.

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