The mission of AES is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living in India through collaborative, practical, and hands-on learning experiences for diverse citizens and organizations.
Building upon big ideas, such as permaculture, interdependence, and systems-thinking, AES uses place-based education as the context to enable sustainable and vibrant communities. We envision all people and organizations in India understanding, embracing, and internalizing a commitment to care for the life and land around us in a systemic and integrated way.
Our values are an integral part of AES culture. We believe that defining a robust company work culture is a key element to the success & delivery of our services.
Fair Share & Equality
Fair share means taking of what we need and sharing what we don’t whilst recognizing that there are limits to how much we can give and how much we can take.
Within our organization, this means that we’re not seeking exorbitant salaries, just enough to enable us to thrive and continue fulfilling the mission of the organization as well as our personal goals. It means distributing resources and wealth to our employees based on their commitment to our organization, not their pedigree. It means cooperating with one another so nobody feels they are shouldering too much work themselves.
Care for the Earth, Care for the People
Care for the earth means provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. Care for people means provision for people to access those resources necessary to their existence.
Within our organization, this means that our operations should have minimal negative impact on the Earth’s natural environment. Day to day, we reduce our consumption as much as possible, endeavor to buy local produce/materials, eat in season, and use public/sustainable transport methods whenever possible.We also treat everyone with whom we interact with the same level of respect: be it customers, employees, vendors, or other stakeholders. If people’s needs are met in compassionate and simple ways, the environment surrounding them will prosper.
Use & Value Diversity
Our company culture is what makes us successful, and in our culture we celebrate and embrace our diversity and each person’s individuality. We want people to express their personality in their work. To outsiders, that might come across as inconsistent or strange. But the consistency is in our belief that we function best when we can be ourselves. We want the individuality in each of us to be expressed in our interactions with each other and in our work.
Human diversity is also key to creativity and a vibrant organization. Therefore, we encourage healthy debate and employee input through events like open forums.
Similarly, in our work, we should always try to incorporate a wide variety of customers, sustainability projects and learning approaches. This is not just for the sake of it, but because diversity can act like an insurance policy - if one approach or customer vertical fails, another may succeed.
Commitment to Learning, Innovating & Growing
We think it’s important for people and the company as a whole to be bold and daring. We want everyone to be fearless. We want everyone to embrace their mistakes & failures, because if people aren’t making mistakes & trying; it means they’re not taking enough risks.
We encourage people to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. We do this because it will help our team to develop and improve their decision-making skills, as well as their knowledge and commitment to sustainability.
We never want to become complacent and accept the status quo just because that’s the way things have always been done. We always are seeking adventure and having fun exploring new possibilities. We believe in continued education and learning by all employees to ensure that we always stay on the cutting edge of our mission.
By having the freedom to be creative in our solutions, we build a culture of constant innovation and growth. We approach situations and challenges with an open mind.
To WOW, we must differentiate AES, which means do something a little unconventional and innovative. We must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever we do must have an emotional impact on the receiver. We are not an average company, our service is not average, and we don’t want our people to be average. We expect every employee to deliver WOW.
Whether internally with co-workers or externally with our customers and partners, delivering WOW results in word of mouth. We deliver WOW with service and experience, not with monetary compensation, like discounts. We seek to WOW our customers, our co-workers, our vendors, our partners, and in the long run, our investors.
Importantly, this means choosing quality over quantity when it comes to working with customers and partners.
Transperency & Authenticity
We believe it's a huge competitive advantage when everyone knows what everyone is working on and getting done, how much everyone is being paid, and how the business is doing on a while – as these things build trust, ownership and camaraderie on the team. Therefore, we believe in making available all the information required for meaningful and genuine collaboration, cooperation, and collective decision making. Moreover, every employee should know the who/what/when/how/why of big decisions so they can continue to feel important and involved at AES.
Transparency and authenticity must also be practiced with our customers. Therefore, we should never promise something we can’t deliver. We should always assume that our customers are going to share their experiences with the world, so we must align their expectations before they engage with our services.
Balance Life & Work
We strongly believe in accommodating the personal needs our employees, and encouraging life-work balance.
As a startup, we do expect employees to work hard, work long hours, and occasionally, weekends. We balance this hard work with unlimited sick and vacation days, flexible work locations and hours, family events and activities, and job sharing.
We recognize that life-work balance feeds passion for the workplace and contributes to a better overall work environment and morale. We also recognize that without time to reflect on the past, and/or time to explore the diversity of life, innovation and creativity are stifled. Therefore, we believe with a strong culture of life-work balance, employees are happier, more committed, more productive, and therefore will likely stay with the company for a longer period of time.
Build a Fun, Empowered, Collaborative Family
We want to create an environment that is friendly, warm, and exciting. We encourage diversity in ideas, opinions, and points of view.
We know that the best leaders are those that lead by example and are both team followers as well as team leaders. We believe that in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up, meaning by those on the front lines that are closest to the issues and/or the customers. The role of a manager is to remove obstacles and enable his/her direct reports to succeed.
The best team members take initiative when they notice issues so that the team and the company can succeed. They take ownership of issues and collaborate with other team members whenever challenges arise. They have a positive influence on one another and everyone they encounter. They strive to eliminate any kind of cynicism and negative interactions. Instead, the best team members are those that strive to create harmony with each other and whoever else they interact with.
We believe that the best teams are those that not only work with each other, but also interact with each other outside the office environment. Therefore, we are more than just a team—we are a family. We watch out for each other, care for each other, and go above and beyond for each other because we believe in each other and we trust each other. We work together but we also play together. Our bonds go far beyond the typical “co-worker” relationships found at most other companies.