In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Shantanu Das, CHRO, Amway India shares the essential practices that the company follows globally. He highlights the current state of talent in the retail and FMCG industry and key focus areas for the year 2019.
How do you create a common culture in Amway, an organization which is spread across the globe?
The culture is inclusive enough to have an open, transparent and yet a result-oriented culture with strong bonding and feelings for each other. Reward and recognition for right behaviors and embracing the company values and a culture which is universally applicable gets automatically set in. And our values are not just to be put up for display, but we live these values within the associates and externally – with both our employees and ABO (Amway Business Owner) Leaders. Whenever a business policy or practice is designed at Amway – we first think – which of these value/s will get further strengthened by it? If we do not get an answer, we do not go ahead with it. And that is what results in a uniform culture across all countries and affiliates as it is built on the same foundation of the shared values.
Are your HR policies in this region synchronized with the global HR policies?
We, at Amway, have a unique blend of practices and policies standardized across the globe and at the same having a high degree of flexibility to customize where necessary and relevant to the local affiliates. While verticals like performance management system, job evaluations, job gradation, etc. are standardized, at the same time leave policies, travel policies, relocation policies, fun at work agenda varies from market to market. We also strive to bring in innovation in our people practices to remain ahead of the curve in the industry we operate in though as a rule, we align with the global team before rolling out. In that respect, we are very tightly knit as a global HR organization.
Can you provide an overview of the talent landscape in the retail and FMCG industry?
As we are a direct selling FMCG company, we are truly unique in our talent composition! The nature of our products and the sales focused organizational approach classifies Amway as an FMCG company and our distribution model is based on direct selling where a distributor sells directly to the end-customer, therefore making us a direct selling company. We have taken an omnichannel approach to reach out to our distributors and our preferred customers, i.e. through online sales which are almost 35% of our total sales and through the brick & mortar channel as we have 120 plus stores.
We have a prerequisite for a diverse talent pool to cater to our organizational needs. Nearly one-third of our workforce are women, and about 45% of our talent is U35. Considering the above, getting the right fit is critical. We have addressed this issue to a significant extent by continually upgrading our people practices year on year. We have now been certified as a “Great Place to Work” for three consecutive years in a row. We also keep participating in compensation benchmarking exercises to make sure ours is in line with the best in the industry.
What are the values that you consider in the hiring process?
The core organizational values arriving from the Founder Fundamentals are:
• Personal Worth
• Personal Responsibility
And the above values are in the very DNA of the Amway world, and our competencies are resultant of the above values and well-defined and non-negotiable! Our selection process has a significant weight on fitment to Amway Values.
What have been your core people strategy drivers?
People Strategy cannot exist in isolation. We have a very well drafted, simple and clear strategy road map with respect to our people policy with a clear alignment to business strategy and results. Our interventions generally fall in the areas of people capability building, operational excellence, energizing the culture & enhancing the manufacturing people experience. All of them are directed towards specific business outcomes. For example, under our capability building vertical, we proactively rolled out a change management learning exercise ahead of a significant business structure change. This was aimed at empowering people to become change agents and thus when the structural change happened, associates were more acceptable to it and handled it in a very positive and constructive manner.
What are your key focus areas for Amway in 2019?
While we continue to focus on our strategy drivers mentioned in 2019, we are also looking at relooking at our organizational structure and constantly tracking people productivity. The relooking organizational structure does not mean downsizing! It means having the right people in the right roles. A proper structure facilitates productivity where the right people operate in the right roles. So that is the most significant area of focus. We plan to concentrate on our capability building exercises to enhance productivity. From an external industry perspective, we continue to focus on becoming one of the best employers in the country with a robust value proposition.