Ixigo: Driving Productivity at Work
Mid Sized – Ixigo
Founded in 2007, Ixigo is an eCommerce website that deals with travel and hotel bookings. An AI-based platform, Ixigo aggregates information from hundreds of travel sites to get its user base of over 150 million travellers collated information on their requirement.
With a revenue of $9.4 million (2018) and a company size of around 100 to 250 employees, Ixigo has made a growth jump of more than 200%.
Building a Billion Member Platform
Ixigo is a travel and hotel booking e-commerce platform based in India. The platform aggregates information like travel (flight, train, and bus) and hotel availability, location, and pricing in real-time. Presently, Ixigo provides comparisons for pricing and booking from over 120 travel suppliers for services like flights, trains, cabs and hotels. They are focused on infusing innovation with services to improve customer experience. Their AI-enabled voice assistant TARA and the stand-alone train app for the Indian railway network enabled with Siri shortcuts and VR features are already live.
With a user base in the millions, the goal to acquire the next billion users mainly from tier 2 and 3 cities, and competition from the rival flight and hotel booking platforms, Ixigo leans on its internal teams to continue providing value to customers and upgrade services to increase user count and engagement. This is achieved by structuring organizational processes and nurturing a work culture that fosters leadership, productivity, job satisfaction, and future planning.
Inspiring Through Leadership
Ixigo believes motivation can be driven by evoking achievement, and their business goals and vision are aligned to inspire achievement among employees. The organization’s goal is to simplify every users’ travel planning and reduce the effort to the minimal. Influencing the user’s effort to plan a trip is a strong motivator for employees to further improve the platform and provide exceptional customer service. The message of customer appreciation is delivered to employees through the leadership team.
The leadership team at Ixigo, which comprises of the co-founders and top-level management, represent the company at national and global level conferences, presenting innovations, ideas and company products. Employees comprehend the impact that their platform makes on everyday users through the message delivered by their leaders, and this inspires motivation.
Driving Productivity at Work
Ixigo follows a four-step structure to define business goals (which are revised every quarter), and productivity for them is a measure of the time taken to achieve these goals and the quality of the result. Organizational goals are set by:
Definition – The goals are defined based on the company’s vision, current market trends and available technology.
Communication – Ixigo believes in maintaining transparency within the organization, and all the defined goals are clearly communicated to all employees and team members.
Preparation – Process, personnel, and talent changes, upgrades and acquisitions are made to facilitate efficient delivery of business goals.
Tracking – Big picture business goals are broken into smaller, measurable goals and tracked. The analytics provides insights that are used to further improve progress.
Productivity is a Function of a Positive Working Environment
Ixigo firmly believes in the philosophy of quality over quantity, and productivity is a measure of how quickly the best viable result is delivered while ensuring the business vision is intact, and employee satisfaction is positive. They achieve this by nurturing a positive work environment and supportive processes:
Goal-oriented tasks – Ixigo ensures employees are not assigned tasks that require multitasking, which they believe negatively affects productivity. They have a structured hierarchy or teams, and employees and projects are divided into single tasks and assigned accordingly.
Digitizing workflows – Ixigo believes in leveraging technology to not only improve customer satisfaction but also reduce employee workload. Their AI- enabled voice assistant ‘TARA’ works as a personal travel assistant for platform users, and an internal version of TARA is designed to be the first point of contact for customer support. In fact, up to 80% of customer queries are addressed by TARA in a fully automated process. Ixigo is investing in implementing technology like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence to improve the platform going forward, and work-life within the company.
Employee up-skilling – Ixigo encourages employees to improve and learn new skills and talents that help them as an individual as well as the business too, through workshops, seminars and online certifications. Employees are encouraged to explore the latest technology and present solutions through ideas and demonstrations.
Fostering a Positive Work Environment
Employees are the backbone of the platform, and Ixigo believes in creating a positive work environment that motivates, engages, and satisfies employees. This inadvertently improves efficiency and productivity, resulting in the growth of the platform. They structure organizational processes to ensure these aspects are met.
Cultivating Accountability – Projects within Ixigo are driven by employees. Teams and individual members are responsible for ideating and directing the project, and in essence, are owners of the product. This fosters a sense of ownership, or entrepreneurship within each member associated with the product/project and increases interest levels and their engagement with work.
Open Door Policy – Members for Ixigo, right from the founders moving down the ladder, follow an open-door policy. Employees have the freedom to approach another member of staff irrespective of their designations, making communication an open channel. This has proven to reduce miscommunication and foster a friendly work environment.
Employee Feedback – While processes are put in place to ensure a positive work environment, Ixigo also conducts a bi-yearly feedback survey to understand from its employees first-hand what environmental factors they find nurturing, and what they want to be improved. This is helping management take concrete steps from direct feedback.
Informal Workplace – Teams are encouraged to conduct games and fun events to maintain positive energy at work. This creates an informal environment where employees, especially millennials and young employees, prefer to work.
Aligning to Future Demands and Technology
The focus for Ixigo moving forward is to leverage modern technology to improve their platform, so existing users derive more value with less effort, and to tap an audience in tier 2 and 3 cities to drive user count upward.
Pushing employees to upskill and learn modern technologies like AI and ML and implementing solutions with modern technologies is Ixigo’s primary focus. The stand-alone railway app and voice assistant TARA are already live and garnering positive results.
Ixigo has also taken measures to further improve the work environment, so employees have an enriching experience at work and stay motivated to deliver. Perks like stock options, flexible working hours, remote working options, extracurricular activities like zumba and yoga sessions, etc are in place to create a positive work environment.