PickMe, Sri Lanka’s home grown technology based taxi hailing service is well into its second successful year of operations.
Whilst they have expanded their network and introduced more user friendly features to their app, their success story lies not just in their daily increasing fleet but their young and dynamic staff. PickMe is the ideal place for techno geeks i.e. app developers to let loose their skills.
The company is constantly on the lookout for talented young people who can find ways to make their App even smarter. As a tech based operation PickMe, gives priority to young people who are skilled in developing software. When the company first launched the hailing service with their app, there had been only 15 people on their staff and they achieved the goal of becoming a credible, established service in a very short time.
Another significant aspect about PickMe is that they are not looking for highly qualified app developers when they are looking to recruit. According to CEO, Zulfer Jiffrey all comers are welcome provided they make the cut.
“Qualifications are just a piece of paper, what matters is their attitude, aptitude, willingness to innovate and learn on the job.” PickMe provides an opportunity to school leavers as well as Degree holders, and has the right environment and infrastructure to guide and encourage them.
Some of the PickMe staffers were eager to speak about the opportunities they had to advance themselves within the Company. Rishoban Jeevamohan, who started out as a beta passenger, joined PickMe as a customer communications executive. “I used to give feedback and reviews regarding the app and then the company approached me and asked if I was interested in taking up a job in communications and I took the opportunity,” he says. According to Keshan Fernando who is a software engineer, PickMe for a one year old start-up has grown rapidly. “We keep working towards taking the company to the next level. We are given many opportunities to grow with the company. Regular appraisals and the training we get help us to succeed in our career. The culture is friendly and the management respects the ideas of employees, which motivates us to do more. Apart from work, we have so much fun together. I believe PickMe is one of the best places to work in Sri Lanka.”
App developers are not the only happy staffers at PickMe. Zulfer says that there is a common misconception that PickMe is a place for tech-wiz’s and IT professionals. “That is far from the truth, technology plays only a 50% role in the business. Operational activities are of equal importance.”
This is further confirmed by staff members who say that company operations are a ‘nice mix.’ They believe that the success of their app is due to giving the operations side of the business equal importance, as the satisfaction of their passengers and drivers has helped the PickMe’s rapid growth. Whilst the Tech side of the Company works year round to fix bugs and introduce more user friendly features to the app, the operations sector works hard to maintain high service and security standards for both passengers and drivers.
Given the relaxed yet lively office atmosphere, all of PickMe’s employees seem to love their jobs. “I really love my job and enjoy working here, I want to work here for as long as I can,” says Neerja Vimaleswaran, a Software Quality Assurance Engineer. She says as a woman in what is considered a male dominated industry; she does not feel unequal to her male co-workers. “I don’t feel any gender inequality here; everyone is just equal.” Neerja who joined as an intern during PickMe’s beginning days, says the interactive and common work setup is a great plus factor for the staff.
The company’s goal is to provide employees with a work experience where they could learn develop and give back to the Company by helping to create positive change.
The CEO says, “When you join a large entity you don’t see the entire picture as there are so many departments and you are confined to just the one part. Whereas at a smaller entity like ours, they get to understand the many aspects of the business; how it operates and how it grows, and become part of that growth.” He adds that anyone willing to learn and is interested in building a career from scratch, be they techno geeks or operational people; PickMe is a good place to start.