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Indian IT firm offers free matchmaking services to retain its employees

By Malavika Pradeep

May 4, 2022

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The Great Resignation is upon us. In India, while most sectors witnessed record attrition rates in 2021, the trend is speculated to worsen in 2022—as 86 per cent of Indian professionals express an intent to quit their current jobs within the next six months. This, in turn, has led to a hiring overdrive among Indian IT firms who will do anything to retain their existing employees—even getting them married. Yep, you read that right.

Sri Mookambika Infosolutions (SMI), a privately-held global technology solutions provider based in Madurai, is offering matchmaking services to its staff—free of cost. Ever since the company was founded in 2006, it has also been providing special increments when an employee gets married. All of this is on top of the fixed six to eight per cent salary jump twice a year.

The result? Attrition continues to remain below 10 per cent for SMI. Today, the company and its associates employ a total of 750 people, nearly 40 per cent of whom have been successfully retained for more than five years.

Established in the small town of Sivakasi, SMI moved its headquarters to Madurai in 2010—while most IT firms prefer relocating to Tier 1 cities like Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu. For SMI, Madurai offered 30 per cent lower operating costs and the location aided its intent to build a community rather than a corporate.

“Our strength was in our giving back and belief in hard work. We knew one cannot build such a community in a Tier 1 city, where everything is commercially oriented,” MP Selvaganesh, the founder and CEO of SMI, told the Times of India. “We chose Madurai since it matched our DNA.”

Charting annual revenues close to ₹100 crores, Selvaganesh admitted to playing the role of a family member in the company he has built. “They treat me like a brother and several of them are from villages, with either aged parents or lacking a proper outlook of the world and unable to find the right match,” he said. “We help such employees through a network of ‘alliance makers’. Weddings are the best get-togethers, the entire team hires vans and attends.” As noted by the Times of India, when the Great Resignation gripped the entire IT industry in 2021, SMI also offered an increment every quarter, with special coverage for top 40 or top 80 employees.

“Employees reach out to me directly when they face any challenges,” Selvaganesh added. “We need to invest time and money to create such bonds and be honest in our approach. Not see everything from the business perspective alone.”

At the same time, however, SMI also preaches accountability and cost control. “We show the door to the bottom four to five per cent performers every year. Majority of voluntary attrition are women who quit after marriage. Even if one includes all that, our attrition level will still be less than 13 per cent, a number that IT companies in Tier 1 cities can only aspire to,” Selvaganesh concluded.

In a country where women migrate for marriage and men migrate for work, this out-of-the-box retention strategy is definitely a way to keep employees from seeking better prospects. Quite literally.

Platonic marriages are marking the end of the nuclear family as we know it

By Svetlana Onye

Feb 11, 2022

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We have long been taught that the main foundation of marriage is romantic love, that we must find the perfect Romeo to our Juliet and live happily ever after with our two dogs and cats, a couple of kids as well as a shared Netflix subscription. But what if we turned those traditional ideas of marriage on their head? What if we decided that we didn’t need to wait for the lover of our dreams before we tie the knot, buy the family home and settle down? What if that notion of romance was replaced by a different kind of love—a platonic kind—and instead spent the rest of our lives with our best friend? Turns out it can be done and it is being done. Introducing platonic marriages and the climax of the nuclear family.

Platonic love versus romantic love

For people like April Lexi Lee, 24, the platonic love she experiences with her best friend Renee is so special that she knew she had found her life partner. Now they live together in Los Angeles. “Renee and I wanted to do life together and be each other’s first of kin,” Lexi Lee told SCREENSHOT. The Singapore-born writer and creative producer has amassed a following of over 48,000 followers on TikTok, many of whom are intrigued by her platonic partnership.

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Reply to @naptimeno hope everyone had a good night’s sleep 🥴🥴🥴@hotmilkwong #platoniclifepartner #qpr #queertok

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For Lexi Lee, the decision to spend the rest of her life with Renee was simple. Their friendship, which has spanned across eleven years, is one steeped in healing and safety, “I credit a lot of who I am today to Renee and vice versa. We’re on this journey to be the best version of ourselves, to heal our traumas and go after our dreams and we give each other the fuel to do that.”

Platonic partnerships are not simply two best friends living together but partners who build their lives together—sharing finances, making significant life decisions in consideration of one another and all other major components of marriage without the romantic or sexual aspect involved. “Your life partner doesn’t have to be your lover,” Lexi Lee explained, “I want to come home to Renee because it’s two different criteria to being a good life partner and a good romantic partner. We don’t have to force lovers into the life partnership box.” And these two aren’t the only ones.

Jay Guercio, 24, is legally married to her platonic best friend Krystle, 29, and together they are raising a teenage boy. Based in Tampa Florida, the pair are a testament to the fact that our best friends can truly be our soulmates. “During quarantine, she was the only person I let myself see because the risk of getting COVID could not be compared to the risk of not seeing her,” Guercio told me. For her, romantic love cannot be likened to the transformative growth she continues to experience while in partnership with Krystle, “I’m a hopeful romantic but it’s based on chemicals that may one day fade, based on a physical or emotional attraction that isn’t necessarily stable but my friendship developed and grew and cultivated into something very stable.”

Both Lexi Lee and Guercio are polyamorous, choosing to pursue multiple relationships outside of their partnership. The permanency of the platonic partnership they share with their best friend allows them to have more stable romantic relationships too. “My platonic partnership with Renee improved me as a romantic partner because I already know I have a life partner at home and so I don’t need any more from someone I’m romantically involved with,” Lexi Lee shared. To Guercio, monogamy is simply a construct that doesn’t work for people. “No one person can fulfil another one person’s desires or needs completely,” she said.

The dying idea of the nuclear family

Platonic partnerships and polyamory are ways of loving and living that threaten the very idea that the nuclear family is the natural mode of a family unit.

Doctor Haley McEwen, a decolonial researcher and lecturer, has published work that points out the colonial origin of the nuclear family. In her work, McEwen provides context to the reality that the nuclear family is fused with notions of gender, racial hierarchy and civilisation. “The idea of the nuclear family is seen as apolitical and ahistorical which it is not,” McEwen explained, “It has been used in the interests of certain groups and power and has a deeply political history implicated on political and colonial conquest.”

The nuclear family was used as a tool to destroy many traditional African kinships during colonisation where polygamy and platonic partnerships, as well as communities, were found to be the norm. “The nuclear family served a particular function to insert people into capitalism machinery. It was used as a measuring point—measuring civilisation to construct indigenous and African people as inferior,” McEwen said.

In David Brooks’ article for The Atlantic titled The Nuclear Family Was A Mistake, the writer also discussed the brittle nature of the nuclear family and the danger it poses to community-building. Brooks mentioned how the nuclear family created a shift from big, interconnected and extended families to smaller, detached nuclear families and how this affects the most vulnerable of society—from the working-class to the poor—who need forms of kinship which are more expansive to be supported and ultimately survive.

The nuclear family, which is the greatest asset of romantic love, appears to be impractical for the changing times we are in. It evades community and interconnectedness—while historically representing how racism, homophobia and sexism have built many of the traditional markers of family, love and identity that no longer suit humankind today.

Platonic partnerships are a rebuttal to the nuclear family, they represent the communal love that friendships thrive on and prove that such a love can be a safe place for children to be brought up in, animals to be owned and houses to be shared. It is liberating in ways that romantic love is not because platonic partnerships allow romance to exist simultaneously outside of it, creating family units that are widespread and, therefore, long-lasting.

The future of love

I encourage anyone reading this article to ask themselves if they could build a life partnership with their best friend, someone who’s been there for them through thick and thin, their source for laughter, tears and joy.

“I didn’t want to wait for a romantic partner to sweep me off my feet and help me to create the beautiful life I knew I could live,” Guercio shared, “Why shouldn’t I build the life I want with Krystle? We both deserve it.” And that is exactly it, there is no need to wait for romance if you want to build a life of your dreams with someone by your side. As relationship anarchy takes reign, it is time to reconsider what type of love truly liberates you in your journey.

 

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