Because People Matter – Capegemini’s E.L.I.T.E Program
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
The Capgemini E.L.I.T.E. onboarding has been a mixture of activities – training sessions, formal and informal interactions with the Who’s Who of the organisation, workshops by internal as well as external facilitators, community engagement, fun-filled outings with the team, and all of this capped by an amazing set of experiences at the lovely Les Fontaines.
Describing the various aspects of this journey, and the key takeaways from each activity would require a separate series of articles dedicated to the purpose; which is why this post focuses on an oft-overlooked but crucial element in the equation – the connect within the cohort. But I get ahead of myself – let’s go back to the start.
The E.L.I.T.E. cohort comprises 19 individuals, each of whom comes with a unique story and one’s own perspective; each is likely to have a unique path ahead. What the program does is to provide a cauldron where these 19 elements can reside, and provide the right conditions for a transformation reaction – including the required ingredients to catalyse this change.
The program has been structured so as to ensure multiple points of contact among the different trainees, right from the get go. We have all been part of a minimum of three teams within the larger group, each team working together on multiple occasions over the five-week period. In addition to getting habituated to working in teams right from the beginning, this helped us know each other a little better. Working on different assignments with varying deadlines not only gave us all a flavour of the usual work-day we would more likely than not be expected to have, but also the much-needed latitude and practical lessons on coordinating with each other while everyone had dynamic schedules and some moving targets. The most important takeaway for me, however, was the rapport I built with my team members.
Beyond these team-based assignments is the element of a common workspace. As far as possible, the group is encouraged to work out of the same space, and the team has ensured that the infrastructure to facilitate this is at the group’s disposal. The idea here is to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration even as we all work on our individual assignments with different teams, post the onboarding. Complementing this is the set of initiatives taken by the eponymous team to ensure we keep learning and contribute to others’ tasks.
In addition to working together, the group connects and cultivates its relationships within by getting together informally – we have gone out together for food, explored a new city, played laser tag, challenged each other over bowling, and what not. The greatest benefit of this, from my perspective, is that we have all interacted with each other in relatively relaxed environs, thus making it easier for us to contribute more freely in discussions at work.
“When people work in Capgemini, they work with friends.” – Abhaya Gupta
The need for relationship-building and networking has been documented well and been talked about at length by business leaders and management gurus. I think it’s only fitting that a long term yet fast paced program that aims to nurture future leaders takes into account the depth of interactions the cohort needs to have among itself.
With the myriad activities and their sheer variety, staying on top of everything can get tough at times; but where’s the fun in easy?