People will remember how their organization has acted in these times: Bansi Raja, Gozoop

Gozoop’s Bansi Raja helps detail the different ways the agency braved the impact of the pandemic and thrived despite the crisis.

The last few months have presented unprecedented challenges, ones that left the A & M industry, like many others, reeling to re-strategize, re-organize, and recover. Understanding what it was like at Gozoop, a digital agency by DNA, Social Samosa gets in conversation with the agency’s Chief Happiness Officer, Bansi Raja. 

With a series of recent creative as well as digital mandates, the agency seems to be moving upward. Amidst the pandemic, Gozoop did no layoffs and recently announced performance appraisals. With this Raja explains what went behind the scenes in the last few months, her journey with Gozoop, and the way forward in the industry. 

Edited Excerpts: 

Firstly, share with us your personal journey within Gozoop. 

Gozoop is my first job and first love. I vividly remember when I had come down for my interview, I felt an instant connection with the culture and vibe of Gozoop. I was hired as a Copywriter but naturally started assisting Rohan and Ahmed organize engagement activities and parties. Before I knew it, I was part of the HR team. I haven’t looked back since.

It has been a blessing and a joy to see Gozoop grow through these years – the acquisitions starting with Red Digital in 2013, expanding to Dubai and Singapore, being recognized by Great Place to Work year on year, winning gold at Campaign Asia for our culture, and even all the challenges that made us stronger. Personally, what makes our success meaningful to me is that while we have grown and evolved, our values and principals have remained the same.

How did Gozoop enable performance appraisals amidst the layoffs and pay cuts across the industry?

We have always been a people-first organization. We do the best we sustainably can for our team. Also, we always think long term. Of course, the business has taken a hit, but we don’t think quarter on quarter. We are confident that we are going to come out stronger through this pandemic. Our recent mandate wins – Bisleri, British Council, Oppo, Gulf Oil, etc. – are a testament to this. Our decision on performance appraisals was a derivative of our value system as well as our confidence. 

Our team has shown great character and resilience through this pandemic. Nothing makes us happier than celebrating this culture of performance. 

You recently made an appraisals announcement. How did that happen? Take us Behind the Scenes.

Each organization has its own culture and vision. One thing is certain though — people will remember how their organization has acted in these times. Our vision at Gozoop is to create an environment where top performers thrive and become the best version of themselves.

We’re in the people business and it just makes sense to truly care for your people. We have never blindly followed what the industry does. We try to do what is right and best for our long-term vision of building a culture where our people can do and be their best. For example, we were the first company in India to announce menstrual leaves. There were no precedents. That decision too was a derivate of this same vision and values.

What have been your key learning as an HR amidst the pandemic?

More than a learning, I have had a great revalidation – People are our Biggest Asset. We are thriving through the pandemic with minimal bottlenecks because of the great team we’ve built. We have a core hiring principle; look for level 5 leaders, people with personal humility and an unwavering resolve to do what is right for the company. Such people are intrinsically motivated. All one needs to do is make sure we are not demotivating them. 

Has creativity been restricted among other restrictions of the lockdown?

The way we see it – all organisations are in the same situation. What will differentiate one from the other is its attitude and culture. Despite all the constraints, I think we have done some of our strongest work in the last few months. From our #HumHongeKamyaab campaign for in April to our most recent campaign for GNC #IamPositive, I am very proud of the body of work we have produced. Last week we launched the #DontBeACarelessKhajur campaign, which I personally feel all of us really need to pay heed too considering the rising number of cases. 

What measures did you take to continue nurturing the celebrated culture of Gozoop while being physically distant?

Right at the start, we extended a COVID-19 medical insurance to our entire team. We also promised no layoffs, giving them a sense of relief and security. Through all our many touchpoints, the message was loud and clear; we’re in it together! We stood by our people and are confident that our people will stand by us, no matter what comes our way. 

Is Gozoop looking at onboarding new talent right now?

Pandemic or not, we are always looking for great talent. We have significantly increased our headcount as a derivative of our new mandates and the increased significance of digital in a brand’s life cycle. We are attracting the richest of talent from the industry and we’re building a super creative army. 

I’d like to conclude by saying, while there’s a lot that has changed, there’s so much that hasn’t. There’s so much more we have to achieve and we’re just getting started.