“The establishment of Eka is a magical fable that defies the theory of probability. Too many coincidences and too few explanations. They started this on the 1st of September 2011 – and that happens to be the birthday of the lord of wisdom – Ganesha. Hence the name “Eka”, inspired by “Eka Dantha” – a name of Ganesh. Eka, by the way, is also the name of the finest student of Indian mythology, Ekalavya. There is an interesting backronym for “EKA” – “Education, Knowledge and Achievement” – the EKA cycle, which represents all that Eka stands for. Finally, Eka Also means “1”, the numero uno, a position which everyone aspires for.
ABOUT EKA ACADEMY
Thus, while Eka Academy started its operations on 01 September 2011, the incorporation certificate took an infinitely long time to arrive. It was a frustrating wait. But when the certificate arrived in their email inbox, it was truly magical. It arrived on 11 th of November 2011 (the fabled 11/11/11 date) –and that is the official date of incorporation of Eka. With this, the circle got completed – an organisation, whose name means “1” was also incorporated by the government on 11/11/11.
The primary business of Eka is divided into training solutions, staffing solutions, and consultancy solutions. They provide training across a wide spectrum of media – classroom training, outbound training, job field coaching, and digital/blended training. They have over 800+ empanelled trainers across 40+ locations in the country who can deliver training that is standardized in content, and localized in delivery.
They offer a comprehensive staffing solution – with a complete and end to end HR process outsourcing – from Recruitment to Retirement. They offer consultancy to organizations that would want to implement organizational development programs and set up HR structures, policies, and frameworks. Some of their popular offerings in consultancy areas would be rewards and recognitions, performance improvement and monitoring systems, and appraisal systems.
FLYWHEEL OF THE COMPANY
The founder of the company is Capt Muthukrishnan Iyyappan. He steers the company’s business as the founder and CEO. Capt Muthu had set a lot of maverick culture at Eka, where the employees are encouraged to collaborate, rather than compete. He always motivates his employees to learn at their best – transforming from a “Know-it-all” culture to a “learn-it-all” culture.
Capt Muthu had several interesting tenures in the Indian Army – from having commanded one of the highest posts in the Siachen Glacier at an altitude of 22,500 feet to commanding the troops in the defence services staff college. Also, it is interesting to note that on April 19, 2000, when the first ever suicide attack in the history of Kashmir insurgency happened at 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar, Capt Muthu’s troops effectively and efficiently repulsed the attack resulting in eliminating the terrorists and also preventing them from getting inside the headquarters – which would have been disastrous. He brings in all those experiences and wisdom and weaves it in his training programs.
PATRONS OF THE COMPANY
“The actual goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” – Simon Sinek. Eka, therefore, does business only with organisations whose value and belief systems resonate with that of Eka. Even though they have said “No” to many clients, they still have nearly 300 clients, ranging from multinationals to organizations with a handful of people.
Some of their clients include organisations fromthe TATA and the Birla group, The Reliance Industries, and The Adani group etc.,. They also have international clients like The Central European University, Budapest, and Spotter Inc, Delaware, United States.
THE FACTORS THAT MAKE EKA AN UNIQUE COMPANY
Eka’s programs are designed and developed in-house and are replete with distinctive teaching methodologies (which we call the “EKA” methodology –or the Enhanced Knowledge acquisition methodology) and an intense and challenging learning environment that pushes participants’ learning horizons beyond their pre-existing beliefs.
All the trainers have a very healthy functional experience and training experience and the content is enriched with local and global case studies, business simulations, and syndicated group discussions which will equip the participants with the strategies, tools, and insights required to transform their thinking and achieve ambitious business objectives.
The original programs like ASKOI – help the participants to understand their strengths and areas of improvement – thereby giving them a blueprint for progress Success is developed after very deep understanding and research. Their leadership program called “EKDA – Ek Kartha Dus Avathar” – takes a completely new look at leadership qualities from a refreshingly different perspective. These qualities make Eka completely different from the others.
They have a very unique goal – a goal which they call “A goal of a billion”. This goal states that by 2029 when Eka completes 18 years, they should have “Touched the life of a billion people, created a billion smiles, and made a billion dollars annually”.
They have a plan to achieve it through aggressive geographical expansion, especially in places where English is a native language. They are actively promoting their original programs like the Rishi Series, which comprises 4 mass training programs in design thinking, training the trainer, knowledge management, and coaching and mentoring.
CHALLENGES FACED DURING LOCKDOWN
The two main expenses which gets hit in any downturn are Travel and Training. The pandemic hit them really hard in the first couple of months – because they were not prepared for that. They had all along been focussing and excelling on offline classroom training which was impossible during the pandemic.
They then tied up with an online learning platform and they created content that can be delivered effectively online. They also focussed on their off-roll staffing business. All this helped them not just survive the pandemic but flourish in it. As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGIES
Immersive technologies allow trainers and content creators to leverage an entirely new, novel, and fantastically engaging technology. Training using Virtual reality and augmented reality can now respond to devices in motion (like training in a workshop/factory environment etc), creating an interactive experience for learners that actually has the potential to create and retain the learning for a long time.
Recently, one of their clients had their training cost for new hires in their factory, saved by a whopping 65% over a period of 3 years because of the training modules that they had created with Augmented Reality (AR). These new hires, most of who are machine operators and supervisors, could spend hours of learning using this content without the need for an additional or a dedicated instructor, and their retaining power also was Highest.
Capt Muthu feels that while digital customer experience is the defacto ground for the future players, many organisations shy away from that due to the following reasons:-
- Lack of insights into digitalization
- Too much complexity around understanding the customer journey and thus, customer experience
- Slow digital adoption – both internally (within the company) and externally (within the customer base)
Capt Muthu thinks that training organisations like Eka can help to bridge the above gap through their training and knowledge sharing interventions – as well with their deep insights into customer behaviour.
REWARDING PLEASURE ABOUT EKA’S BUSINESS
Eka is into training as well as manpower services. The most rewarding thing about both of them is the chance to have a perceptible impact on others’ success. They have stories where people join Eka as a junior executive and, in double quick time, rise to leadership Level.
FUTURE ENDEAVOURS – 2023
They have plans to increase their geographic coverage. In 2015, they became the first Indian training organization to have an established presence in Europe, when they opened their subsidiary in Budapest, Hungary. In 2019, they opened a liaison office in Melbourne, Australia. In 2021, they opened their office in Dallas, United States. In 2023, they plan to expand to the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
They plan to start Eka Foundation – to distil ancient Indian knowledge and transform it into modern management science. They also plan to identify and nurture leaders by starting a program called “Leadership Next” – where young working executives under the age of 30 across industries and functions would be identified and nurtured – by giving them world-class training and mentoring, thereby making them leaders in their respective organization as well as the society.
ADVICE TO THE READERS
Capt Muthukrishnan Iyyappan stated “Remember the ASKOI principle – Attitude, Skills, Knowledge, Ownership, and Initiative –for success. You may not have all the 5 factors which will contribute to your success, but at least try to get 3 of them. Success will then be not an option, but a certainty”.