Interview: Tarun Gidoomal, Next Jump

Interview: Tarun Gidoomal, Next Jump

Tarun Gidoomal will no doubt be a name or a face that you recognise- his recent appearance on the Forbes 30 Under 30, where he was identified in the c

Tarun Gidoomal will no doubt be a name or a face that you recognise- his recent appearance on the Forbes 30 Under 30, where he was identified in the category of Europe – Retail & Ecommerce (2017) aged just 26 put Next Jump, where Tarun runs UK operations, firmly in the spotlight as a place that champions success.

Tarun was listed in the Forbes 30 under 30

With everyone wanting to know the secret to his success, we decided to catch up with Tarun on everything from his school life to his ethos. what’s next for Next Jump and the 3 lessons he’s learned that have shaped his outlook on life.

Congratulations on the accolade. How do you feel about the acknowledgement?

At first … surprised! But I think now that the dust has settled, I’m feeling grateful – particularly for the mentors I’ve had at Next Jump. They have believed in me, pushed me, supported me in good times and the bad.

I’m also feeling motivated. The award was full of individuals and companies who are changing the world, and I recognise that this is just the beginning for us on our journey to do that.

Can you tell us about how you got to this point – what have been the moments that have propelled your career at such speed?

I joined Next Jump in an entry level role, straight out of university, in our Customer Services Team. A year later, I joined a sales team, which I was then given the opportunity to run when my manager left the company.

What struck me was that in most companies, my manager would have been replaced with a senior lateral hire. Instead, I was given the opportunity to prove myself, and more importantly, the coaching & room to fail which allowed me to grow into the role.

There I helped contribute and grow the business, and was subsequently voted by my colleagues on to our Leadership Team – MV21 – and started co-running our UK Office with Henry Searle.

I’ve been fortunate to have people who have believed in my potential, as well as being in an environment which allows me to fulfill it.

What drives you? Have you been brought up with a really strong work ethic?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs… so I get my work ethic from them. Both set of grandparents set up and grew businesses across India, Africa, London and the Middle East.

I was the odd one out in my family in that I joined Next Jump (as opposed to starting my own business or joining the family business), but it did ingrain an entrepreneurial mindset in how I approach my work.

The most defining moments in my life was when I lost my parents at a young age, and moved to Dubai to live with my uncle. For a long time, I was a frustrated kid, underperforming inside and outside the classroom. I ultimately came to recognise that what defined me wasn’t the setback, but how I responded from it. I feel my driving narrative is to try and live by that example on a daily basis, and help others overcome their own setbacks in life.

What are you most likely to be doing outside of work?

I’m an avid Arsenal fan – so that does add an unnecessary area of stress into my life! I also love travelling and experiencing new cultures (this year it’s Israel)

That aside, you can often find me at Barry’s Bootcamp!

What lessons have you learned along the way?

3 lessons stick out that have shaped my outlook;

“Grow where you’re planted.” It’s advice I got when I started at Next Jump. I learned that irrespective of what job I was doing, applying a “CEO” mindset would serve me well when other opportunities became available – as it gave others confidence in my abilities.
“Vulnerability is the most accurate measurement of courage.” The biggest transition I’ve had to make as a leader is learning the cost of bottling up my emotions and not openly exposing my feelings with those around me.
There’s only so much I can achieve myself. Growing up I learned that I have to take care of myself… and I became very good at this! But in my adult life, I realised I can only go so far with that mindset; and that only with a team am I able to make a real dent on the world.

Can you tell us a bit more about Next Jump – it’s history and where it’s at now?

We were founded in 1994, by Charlie Kim, as a college coupon business. Around 2000, we entered the corporate space, working with organisations to help their employees save money. This e-commerce platform, PerksAtWork, is now driving over $2.5bil in sales this year, and is our core product.

            Perks at Work

As we started investing more heavily in our culture, it started showing up in our business results, and we received much external recognition for our approach. Most notably, a group of Harvard Professors identified us as 1 of 3 “DDO’s” (“Deliberately Developmental Organisations”) globally – company that puts the growth of its people ahead of the growth of its profits.

We were then featured in HBR’s book “An Everyone Culture” – their lead title in 2016 on the topic of leadership development and organisational culture. We now work with non-profits, government agencies, startups and FTNE 1000 companies to help them build cultures of leadership development.

What about the culture of the business?

Our culture is centered on developing ourselves (we call this “Better Me”), for the purpose of helping others (“Better You”).

“Better Me” includes initiatives which upgrade not just our skills, but also train our judgement, help us manage emotions better and improve our character through our work. This is the basis of growing leaders.

“Better You” is then how we use the profits from the business to better serve our communities, and help other organisations change their culture. This includes our Adopt-a-School initiative, where we have adopted PS119 in the South Bronx and Netley Primary School in Camden, to support their students, teachers and parents by giving our time & expertise (like setting up coding classes, teaching students how to set up a business, staff wellbeing programs).

On a day to day basis, we try and inject a lot of fun (meaning a lot healthy competition, including our annual dance battle in New York! ) as well as a sense of family into what we do.

 

What does the future hold for Next Jump?

We are building technology to try and change workplace culture at scale. This includes launching a suite of mobile apps to help companies attract, retain & develop their talent (facilitating ways to give continuous feedback, thanking colleagues, improving hiring processes etc).

For us in UK – we’re also working towards growing & expanding our footprint in Europe (and beyond)… and we’re in the midst of upgrading our office space, to take the lead from our NYC team and build a “Flagship” office, which is representative of our culture.

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