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Labs 10% Programme inspires learning and exploration

March 26, 2018

Labs 10% Programme inspires learning and exploration

Many major tech companies allow employees time out from their core job to create and experiment on their own. Such programmes have famously resulted in products such as Google’s AdSense and Gmail. They have also been the reason for some employees leaving their work to pursue their ideas as independent startups — causing some companies to rethink this experiment in employee initiative.

Labs, though, holds no reservations about giving employees free-reign to explore and learn independently. Every employee is allowed to spend ten percent of their time on independent projects and self-improvement. Octopus even encourages and assists employees in pursuing their own startups through its Octoden programme.

And Labs recognises many of the best creative minds in tech have a strong desire to pursue their personal vision, gain career independence and learn new skills. Accommodating those interests helps attract and cultivate talented and highly engaged employees.

“Here in Labs we strongly believe that everybody should constantly be working on self-improvement, learning new skills and gaining new experiences. We don't want to just be a job, but a stepping stone in your own adventure.” — Morgan Sowden, CTO of Octopus Group

The 10% Programme at Labs allows employees like Parija Thakur, Tester at Labs, to upskill by giving her the opportunity to study Python alongside her regular testing responsibilities. With the assistance of online courses and peer coaching, Parija has been able to progress from manual testing into automation testing.

“Parija is making a great attempt at learning Python,” stated Suma Arora, Team Manager for Labs Testing. “Being a novice to programming, she was less confident of her programming skills initially but I can see her working outside her comfort zone and making every possible attempt to build her skills.”

Labs holds regular “Show & Tell” sessions in which employees can show off their 10% projects. “It’s really empowering to showcase your work,” stated Parija. “That’s when you realise how appreciative others around you are of your work.”

Parija claims the Labs 10% Programme has taught her the importance of upskilling within a constantly changing technology environment. “It is a great initiative that Octopus has undertaken. Unlike any other firm, Octopus truly invests in its employees.”