Interview with Anjan Pathak, Co-founder of Vantage Circle
Anjan Pathak is a technology leader with over two decades of experience building and deploying cross-channel web applications.
He is an energetic fitness enthusiast who encourages a healthy lifestyle in all his employees. And this is evident in his concept of ‘Corporate Well-Being’ that emphasizes employees’ mental and physical health.
In the year 2017, Anjan spearheaded the development of a product of Vantage Circle, named ‘Vantage Fit,’ for promoting total employee well-being across organizations globally.
Today Vantage Fit is used by multiple companies across the globe to implement the employees’ overall physical and mental well-being.
He has spent a significant part of his career, 15 years to be precise, working in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.
Upon his eventual return to India in 2013, he has been involved in developing and mentoring the product, operations, and marketing team of Vantage Circle since then. Even today, he considers himself an entrepreneur at heart.
Tell us a little about yourself
Anjan Pathak: I am a technology leader with over two decades of experience building and deploying cross-channel web applications.
The initial 17 years of my vocation were spent brainstorming, designing, and architecting multiple e-commerce applications.
The cognizance, experience, and insights accumulated over the years have been invaluable in eventually doing what I authentically wanted to do- developing world-class HR technology solutions.
I have spent a significant part of my career, 15 years to be precise, working in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.
Upon my eventual return to India in 2013, I have been involved in developing and mentoring the product, operations, and marketing team of Vantage Circle since then. Even today, I consider myself an entrepreneur at heart.
As the CTO and Co-Founder of the company, I am responsible for the technological progress and evolution of Vantage Circle.
I played a key role in the design, architecture and technical implementation of the company’s core functions.
I am an energetic fitness enthusiast who encourages a healthy lifestyle in all our employees. And this is evident in my concept of ‘Corporate Well-Being’ that emphasizes employees’ mental and physical health. I am a passionate global technologist committed to changing the game for clients and customers.
As a wellness devotee myself, I enthusiastically participate in marathons and triathlons. One of my recent achievements includes – bagging the title of ‘Ironman 70.3’, which was held in Goa.
To claim the title, I completed the entire triathlon within 8.5 hours. It consisted of 1.9 km swimming, 90 km cycling, and 21 km running.
In 2017, I spearheaded the development of a product of Vantage Circle, named ‘Vantage Fit’ for promoting total employee well-being across organizations globally.
Today Vantage Fit is used by multiple companies across the globe to implement the employees’ overall physical and mental well-being.
As a wellness devotee, I am passionate about corporate wellbeing requirements. Anjan is a passionate global technologist committed to changing the game for clients and customers.
Could you provide an overview of the company’s mission and the key HR tech solutions it offers on a global scale?
Anjan Pathak: Vantage Circle aims to enhance the employee experience across the globe and its mission is to be among the top three employee engagement platforms worldwide in the next five years.
The company’s suite of solutions, namely, Vantage Rewards, Vantage Perks, Vantage Pulse, and Vantage Fit, addresses the conscious need to enhance workforce productivity by presenting a great employee experience.
The capacity to effectively use artificial intelligence to promote health and wellbeing in the corporate sector, in my opinion, is the most significant advance.
It enables us to improve our abilities to push one another while motivating employees to take an active role in finishing their workouts without neglecting them.
We received one amazing compliment when the Apple conference featured AI squat tracking. This demonstrates how effectively we have integrated AI into our efforts to promote health and wellness.
Moreover, we were also able to implement AI in our Rewards and Recognition platform in the form of text prediction.
This has helped our user base automate the messages while appreciating their fellow peers without worrying about mistakes.
Our main focus has always been to deliver our clients the best platform they can use without facing any issues or hassles.
And using Artificial Intelligence has made us cater to them and provide them an edge in the existing market.
Overall, our ability to cater to our client’s needs to improve employee engagement with the right approach and a cloud-based robust platform has assisted us in improving the quality of rewarding and appreciating the changing dynamics of the company culture globally.
How has Vantage Circle differentiated itself in the competitive HR tech market? What unique features or capabilities does your platform offer to enhance employee engagement and productivity?
Anjan Pathak: Vantage Circle is a leading HR Tech company with a holistic approach to helping companies in four major engagement areas: rewards and recognition, corporate discounts, employee feedback, and employee wellness.
Vantage Circle has differentiated itself in the competitive HR Tech market by bringing about significant changes in the workings of the organsiation.
These changes are the result of rapid digitalization in the present era. Some of the unique features and capabilities of our platform are:
- The integration of MS Teams has enabled the platform to provide a unique solution where clients can reward and recognize while focusing on uninterrupted collaboration. Due to this integration, MS Teams have recognized us as the top 30 partners in the corporate sector.
- Using an inbuilt SOLI(Standard of Living Index) framework that updates dynamically. This gives the clients more flexibility and functionality while rewarding global employees. The SOLI framework auto-converts the reward points and ensures that the right amount is credited based on their geographical location. This also ensures that the Rewarding process is well-balanced throughout the organization.
- Facilitating an AI-backed automatic notification process that prompts managers to reward and recognize their peers without delay. This assures that the managers never miss out on timely recognition and work on an unbiased rewarding process. This creates a work culture where recognizing and rewarding with gratitude becomes a daily norm.
- Automatic text generation with the help of AI while citing a recognition message during the recognition process has encouraged users to write a heartfelt and personalized message while saving time confidently.
- The AI-enabled employee wellness program has allowed us to explore and challenge the complexities of artificial intelligence technology. The drive to do something better for the community helped us create an AI-driven fitness tracker such as the Squat Tracker, which employs high-accuracy machine learning models to assist the user in achieving the ideal squat form. This ensures that they maximize their performance while reducing any chances of injury.
- Focusing more on the cohort analysis of different companies, a comparative analysis can be done on the engagement levels of the respective companies inside the platform. This can also be used to determine an organization’s overall retention rate, which is further used to give them the exact data on the gaps they need to fulfill.
We have also constantly been trying to make the platform more AI-friendly, elevating the overall user experience and enhancing employee engagement and productivity.
Moreover, the usability of the entire Vantage Circle platform with the help of AI makes us unique and innovative.
Additionally, we have been using the standard AIRe framework for our R&R module and eNPS for the Pulse Survey tool to enhance the functionality of our platforms globally.
This has enabled us to provide accurate and in-depth analytics for our clients that can improve their company culture.
Employee well-being and mental health have gained significant attention in recent years. How does Vantage Circle’s platform address these aspects, and what initiatives have you implemented to support the overall well-being of employees?
Anjan Pathak: Employee health and wellness is no more a desired requirement but has become imperative in an organisation. Vantage Circle’s “Well-being” and “Mental Health” solutions are offered through its product Vantage Fit, which is more than a traditional health solution to comprehensively address the concerns related to the overall well-being of individuals.
The application helps organizations encourage employees’ overall health and happiness on all three well-being factors, i.e., physical, mental, and financial.
It also offers a habit-building framework and an engaging leaderboard to promote healthy habits within an organisation.
Our globally inclusive catalog of lifestyle content ensures that employees have access to a wide range of resources to enhance their overall well-being.
In addition to these features, Vantage Fit fosters a sense of community by including community-building features.
Employees can connect with each other, share their well-being journey and support one another. This social element is crucial in enhancing employee well-being and mental health.
Furthermore, Vantage Fit incorporates an industry-leading framework for recognition and incentivization.
We prioritize the employees’ well-being by rewarding them for their efforts and achievements. Through our wellness wallet, employees can earn rewards that can be redeemed from our diverse catalog, providing them with further motivation and reinforcement.
Apart from the digital platform, we encourage in-house activities such as cycling, yoga, and other similar activities.
These activities are aimed at promoting the overall well-being of our employees. They offer an opportunity for employees to engage in physical fitness, relieve stress, and build stronger connections with their colleagues. Providing these activities creates a positive work environment that supports employee well-being.
We believe prioritizing employee well-being and mental health improves engagement, productivity, and reduced turnover.
How do you stay ahead of emerging HR tech trends and technologies? How does Vantage Circle ensure that its platform remains innovative and adaptable to the evolving needs of the HR industry?
Anjan Pathak: Vantage Circle provides a holistic and revolutionising employee engagement platform with unique and affordable options for recognition, well-being, rewards, feedback, and exclusive perks by using cutting-edge technologies.
Its innovative and research-based solutions are designed to unlock employee engagement and unleash employee potential to drive productivity.
One of the important elements that make Vantage Circle stand apart from its rest of the competitors is Its proprietary framework AIRe, developed by their COE-People & Culture Research Department.
This is a powerful tool that helps HR professionals shape their culture. By promoting behaviors aligned with organizational priorities and motivating employees to demonstrate them through social, emotional, and monetary values, AIRe can be leveraged to reinforce key organizational priorities around ESG, Core Values, and Employee Engagement.
This state-of-the-art framework is a free online assessment tool that anyone can use to run a quick, quantitative assessment of their recognition program or even test out a new program design, after which they are assigned an AIRe Score.
Employee recognition is an indispensable strategic lever that HR leaders and executives must employ to drive productivity and organizational success.
Organizations must embrace a comprehensive approach encompassing both qualitative and quantitative aspects to leverage the potential of recognition fully.
By adopting a data-driven mindset and remaining attuned to the latest trends, HR leaders and top executives can create effective and sustainable recognition strategies, contributing to their organizations’ long-term prosperity.
What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur
Anjan Pathak: I arrived in India to start a business in 2003 from the United Kingdom. Within a short period of time, I hired several software developers and rented an office space. Sadly, however, things didn’t go as planned.
Having spent more than 20 years working in the IT and technology sector, Partha and I were confident that this was the field where we could use our experience to make a difference and achieve the goals we had set for ourselves.
Because the right actions, directions, and thoughts were taken appropriately, we could develop, launch, and get to where Vantage Circle is now.
Together with my friend Partha, we launched Vantage Circle in 2010 in Assam, where we both grew up. Since then, we have gained more experience.
I think that developing entrepreneurial abilities takes time and practise. What stood out to me was that I persisted after my initial setback.
What is your vision for the future of Vantage Circle? How do you plan to expand the company’s reach and continue delivering value to your global customer base?
Anjan Pathak: Our Vision: With technology as our foundation, our vision is to create a world where every employee feels valued, engaged, and inspired to contribute their best towards their organization’s success.
In order to appeal to the much more diverse demography, we are attempting to strengthen our market base.
We will expand our efforts to fresh nations where we need a complete employee engagement solution, thanks to enhanced AI and automation.
Our next urgent goal is to eliminate any potential language obstacles by making our platform multilingually accessible.
What advice do you have for organizations leveraging technology to improve their HR processes and enhance employee experiences? What are the key considerations when selecting an HR tech partner?
Anjan Pathak: The usage of the proprietary tool of Vantage Circle will help HR professionals shape the culture of their organisation.
Promoting behaviours aligned with organisational priorities and motivating employees to demonstrate them through social, emotional, and monetary values.
AIRe can be leveraged to reinforce key organisational priorities around employee engagement and other core values.
Vantage Circle launched the AIRe framework methodology to recognize the pressing need for modern corporations to make their recognition programs more measurable, trackable, and quantitative.
It was a groundbreaking and exclusive framework that we were able to come up with after years of research and development.
It is absolutely free to use, where anyone can conduct an online assessment to understand the overall dynamics of their recognition program or even test out a new program design, after which they are assigned an AIRe Score.
The framework assigns an AIRe Score that is calculated across four core themes of recognition: Appreciation (A), Incentivization (I), Reinforcement (R), and eMotional Connect (e).
This framework unlocks the fullest potential of recognition programs within organizations. To make it easier to understand and measure, the framework divides the key elements into two categories: Drivers of Authenticity and Drivers of Impact.
This framework will help oragnisations with a roadmap for maximising the potential of recognition programs by emphasizing authenticity and impact.
What is your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs
Anjan Pathak: Having experience of co-founding and operating three separate businesses, one in London and the other two in India, over 10 years gave me the cognizance of how to make the most of the minimum resources that you have.
Another thing I have gradually discovered over the years is that if you do not plan the financial aspects on a priority basis, you don’t win in business (especially start-ups).
Note that the sole emphasis should be on increasing (and sustaining) the company at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey.
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