BlackPepper’s work culture positions it to garner opportunities in Silicon to System design space from global semiconductor companies


BlackPepper’s work culture positions it to garner opportunities in Silicon to System design space from global semiconductor companies

“Great places to work” are built by the experience of employees during their day-to-day work and not just by setting Employee Engagement programs and a checklist of Employee benefits.

 A great workplace as defined by an employee reflects:

  • How much of TRUST the employee feels for the company and its other employees
  • The level of PRIDE an employee carries while representing the company – both internally and externally
  • How much the employee ENJOYS coming into the workplace each day.
  • A great culture is the foundation for success – for them and for their customers and partners.

The CEO Magazine is ready to list its annual compendium of the Best Places to Work, an award listing based on reviews from company employees. Taking note of this year’s winners got me thinking: What are these companies doing differently to earn such high praise from their teams? Finding and retaining talented staff adds immeasurable value to a brand, and providing the benefits that matter most to teams are keys to making that happen. BlackPepper Technologies Pvt. Ltd., a trusted design partner for global top 10 semiconductor companies, has been recognized to be a provider of a wonderful work culture for its employees.

There is a tectonic shift happening in IT with technical complexities increasing day by day. Realizing this and understanding the wide scale need of newer cutting edge technology, BlackPepper, a global Product Engineering Services Company, focuses on high end Semiconductor System designs. BlackPepper leverages its two core assets – Lean Tall Engineering (LTE) and EYWA. LTE or Lean Tall Engineering is a focused return to first principle engineering tenets of yesteryears where a single engineer was massively multi-skilled rather than skills and capabilities being sliced and diced across a slew of less experienced engineers. EYWA is a home-grown technology framework that removes sub-optimality from the design process. It is a unique combination of technology components that melds principles of network protocols, human capability mapping and physical resource modeling into one integrated platform. With unflinching commitment, BlackPepper has been continuously in the process of innovation, customization, re-engineering, process optimization, localization, and cost rationalization to overcome various challenges in these areas.

 BlackPepper aims to democratize innovation by transforming ideas into tangible products and inculcate the spirit of innovation among all. The company is setting new benchmarks in quality, reliability and turnaround time (TAT) using proven engineering and management techniques, which have become the way of life for Pepperites.

BlackPepper’s success can be attributed to this culture. The company has people whose sole job is to keep employees happy and maintain productivity. It may sound too controlling to some, but

it is how this world-changing organization operates.

The CEO Magazine recognizes BlackPepper as one of the Great Places to Work for its employees. This accomplishment is a testament to their strong global culture and a reflection of the passion and commitment that their employees bring to work every day. BlackPepper’s employees are the heart and soul of a go-beyond culture that enables the company to attract and retain world-class talent and drives the company’s competitive advantage. Their commitment to shared values unites them and fosters an environment in which innovation and teamwork thrive.

Creating an innovation-driven environment in which employees thrive contributes directly to the success of their customers as well as partners. Being a great company to work for makes them a great company to work with. Inspired and happy employees make success happen for BlackPepper’s customers and partners around the world. At BlackPepper, they share a vision to be a model company. This vision drives the company to deliver the best possible results for the communities they serve by living a set of core values. The people at BlackPepper believe that being a model company means winning in the marketplace with integrity and honor.

The CEO Magazine interviews Mr. Hari Krishnan Puravankara, Founder & CEO of BlackPepper Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

 TCM: Does the company have a stated set of cultural values for its employees?

Mr. Puravankara: At BlackPepper, we are moving with a mission of creating an organisation that is fundamentally rooted in hardware and recognized as the gold standard in product realization. BlackPepper runs workshops called “Yes, I am BlackPepper!” for our employees which supports our Mission, shape the culture, and reflect what our company values mean.

We link our values & culture to our behavioral competency framework – every Pepperite (we prefer to be called) has Customer Centricity, Effective communication, Learn-ability and Leadership (CELL) deeply embedded in them.

TCM: What does it take for someone to be successful here?

Mr. Puravankara: BlackPepper has been successful in delivering high-end semiconductor solutions by building, nurturing and developing high-performance teams. Our world-class engineering talent is handpicked from top semiconductor companies across the world. We constantly groom our engineering teams under the concept of Lean Tall Engineering™ (LTE) – more engineering capability per engineer.

To be successful in BlackPepper, one must have strong engineering capabilities, passion for excellence and BP Values – and above all, be a fine human being.

TCM: What kinds of employee achievements are recognized by the company?

Mr. Puravankara: Our Reward & Recognition programs are linked to a talent management philosophy which helps employees to know their potential and tread the path of success. PREP, our recognition program, enables leaders and employees to recognize each other – across Business Units, Band levels, Customer projects, and reward them for great work and efforts.

We recognize Pepperites’ achievements

  • For success
  • For excellence including knowledge and skills
  • For innovation

TCM: Can you describe the environment here?

Mr. Puravankara: To us, titles and designations are irrelevant extensions. We are keen on creating and nurturing a culture of professional and personal excellence that goes far beyond the regular call of duty. We are ever ready to lend a helping hand, whether it is for a social cause or for a colleague who is tackling a challenge at work.

BlackPepper is built on family values rather than conventional corporate priorities.

 BlackPepper is a forward-looking organization with an inclination towards employee engagement built around credibility, pride, fairness, learning, recognition, and camaraderie. To help employees identify with the company’s values and goals, we developed an efficient employee engagement plan based on the extensively researched Great Place to Work (GPTW) framework.

The plan, which was finalized during early 2016, aims at building and nurturing a culture that:

  1. Reflects transparency and is boundary-less
  2. Encourages learning aligned to business needs and objectives
  3. Recognizes and values Pepperites for their skills and depth of knowledge
  4. Nurtures high-performance among Pepperites
  5. Creates an environment where Pepperites take pride in their work

TCM: How does the organization support its employees’ professional development and career growth?

Mr. Puravankara: The Learning Academy of BlackPepper (LAB) is one of our earnest efforts to provide continuous learning and development opportunities to Pepperites. It focuses on imparting technical and behavioural knowledge, covering a wide gamut of enablers and business programs tailored to the company’s goals.  In order to make it more engaging and constructive, it is gamified, made accessible across devices, and extremely interactive.

Our leadership team, in partnership with HR & L&D, brainstormed and designed it with an objective to augment the skill sets of the resources in line with the requirements and in turn build our Lean Tall Engineering™ (LTE) framework – more engineering capability per engineer. With the help of the Learning Academy, we aim to create a knowledge pool of trained Pepperites.

Together, these Pepperites will not only provide the skills required for the new practices at BlackPepper but will also cater to the manpower needed for customer projects.

  • We constantly groom our engineering teams under the LTE framework.
  • Young Leadership Program (YLP) is a multi-touch point program tailored for Pepperites aspiring to be Leaders. It aims to bring a mind-set change in Pepperites, and equips them with tools and knowledge required for the new, complex gamut of responsibilities.
  • Career Progressions are proposed looking at on the job development: Technical capability, coaching by leaders, Competency level enhancement, and Customer interface accountability.
  • Learning and Development is part of our Talent Transformation interventions. Our internal leaders and external facilitators partner with us to transform our Pepperites. We follow 70/20/10 approach for transformation as below:

TCM: How would you characterize the company’s overall management style?

Mr. Puravankara: At BlackPepper, we truly believe in a flat organization. We believe in the philosophy of collective entrepreneurship and encourage an environment where every single Pepperite is encouraged to think freely, innovate tirelessly, question fearlessly and be deeply involved in every facet of the BlackPepper story.

We strongly believe in in the power of an idea – by bringing Beautiful minds into BlackPepper and giving a wonderful atmosphere to Explore the impossible, Expand the mind and Innovate the future, we can create most innovative, cost effective, and commercially viable products to create huge impact on society.

TCM: What is your company’s approach to team building and career development?

Mr. Puravankara: We assign mentors during the induction of new Pepperites. We include team building learning as part of our CELL competency framework with many case studies and experiential learning. We encourage Pepperites to have weekly sports activities for team building. We orient people managers frequently on how to manage and motivate teams, and incentivise the best performing teams.

TCM: How does your company respond to and overcome failures?

Mr. Puravankara: At BlackPepper, FAIL- stands for “First Attempt In Learning”. Whether it is an engineering problem to be solved, a financial situation to be tackled or a business strategy to be made we allow each Pepperite to experiment, make mistakes and learn from that. The culture is to make sure we constantly experiment and innovate but to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

 TCM: What are the Milestones of the organization?

Mr. Puravankara: BlackPepper Technologies is a new generation, Silicon to System Design Company, focused on providing differentiated product & engineering capabilities for global semiconductor companies.  The company is poised to become a $1Bn valued Company by 2021.


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