Article: Redefining the “box” – Britannia’s transformative people practices

Strategic HR

Redefining the “box” – Britannia’s transformative people practices

In a candid conversation with People Matters, Ritesh Rana, VP-HR at Britannia gives a sneak peek into the organization's people practices and tells us about the unique culture of Britannia for Britannians.
Redefining the “box” – Britannia’s transformative people practices

Having a foothold in the food industry for over 123 years, and being adorned with the 'Most Trusted Food Brand' title for many times now, Britannia has grown in leaps and bounds. Today, Britannia is a leading food company in India with over Rs 8,500 crores in revenue that delivers products in over 5 categories through 4.2 million retail outlets to more than half the Indian population. We all know the brand but what makes the brand successful is something that Britannia has been quite reticent about.

To know more about Britannia’s people practices, what makes them a product leader and a trusted brand as an employer, People Matters reached out to Ritesh Rana, VP-HR at Britannia to know more about the company and its people practices. 

Q: What defines the culture at Britannia? 

A: We believe that the work environment plays a pivotal role in attracting new talent and retaining top talent within the organization. Career development, recognition and new opportunities are parameters that any job seeker uses to evaluate one’s consideration set of potential employers.

It is critical to bring together highly talented people into a creative and collaborative work environment to ensure a constantly motivated workforce. 

It is this environment that makes daily challenges enjoyable and rewarding. A non-conducive environment that doesn’t add value to an employee only leads to attrition at all levels. Therefore, our unique culture of ‘Britannia for Britannians’ has taken our agenda one step ahead by instilling a healthy balance of values and quality of work through on-the-job learning opportunities. Through this, the organization aims to motivate young talent to build diversity in their careers and look for all available growth options throughout their careers. The culture has been practiced over the years to ensure growth of the individuals into true “leaders” with a fine balance of talent, efficiency and work-know-how.

Q: What are the people-centric initiatives that are unique at Britannia?

A: A fully charged work environment with high levels of clarity and transparency leads to more efficiency which eventually ensures greater individual and collective output. This, of course, reflects on the performance of the organization. We believe that this has been true for Britannia over the last 3 years, the time we began the transformation journey on people practices. The company’s reputation and financial performance and equity of employer brand Britannia have grown hand in hand. 

A healthy work environment eventually leads to increase in work efficiency and productivity of output by raising employee morale and thereby creating a stress-free environment to work in.

Engaged employees help bolster the bottom line of a company, build the reputation and brand of the organization, as they stay longer and strive harder to perform. 

Some of the key HR initiatives are:

“Britannia for Britannians” initiative 

The organization aims at providing career opportunities to its employees as the focus is to grow people from within and expand their learning through job enlargement. We take constant bets with people and support them while they grow in the roles. 

Ensuring the width of the job role and an incredible learning curve

We encourage our employees to try new things and experiment with their roles. We have a very informal structure which allows people to have easy access to the leadership team. This culture is an outcome of our constant employee orientation over the years. 

Britannia “Young Manager Council”

We are one of the very few large enterprise workplaces in the country where four distinct generations (Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y) work side by side. Gen Y is often characterized as confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented, have high expectations of their employers, seek out new challenges and a larger scope of work to quicken their learning curve. For an employer, it is critical to create a workplace culture that takes advantage of their ‘achiever’ mentality by presenting employees with plenty of challenges, goals and targets. They must also ensure that these link to measurable, tangible criteria by which they can be evaluated.

In an endeavor to design young future leaders in the organization, Britannia is working to define a constructive feedback mechanism. The idea behind this initiative is to encourage young managers (under the age of 30) /management trainees/new joinees to understand the business well and provide feedback. The young managers provide feedback on current market trends, through their distinctive lens. This helps us stay in tune with the changing preferences in palates and their dynamic lifestyles while it keeps them intricately involved in new product launches right from the R&D stage till the launch. 

Q: From the people-function perspective, what are the key elements that enable a business to be successful?

A: Recruitment of right talent; Encouragement through various developmental and growth opportunities; Practicing and nurturing an empathetic environment in the organization; Building a leadership team that role models astute business thinking; and top class corporate etiquette are some of the elements that are required for success.

Q: How important is diversity at Britannia? 

A: The diversity of our people is part of what makes Britannia exceptional. Individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds, unified by our core values position Britannia to deliver better outcomes with the best mix of world-class capabilities and experience. The focus of our Inclusion & Diversity program is to make Britannia’s culture of diversity central to the way we do business, enabling us to serve our consumers, develop our people and improve our profitability.

We started our journey on the Diversity & Inclusion Agenda (Gender Diversity) a couple of years back and have had strong women role models in Leadership roles.  We follow a pragmatic and comprehensive approach towards building an inclusive and diverse workplace. Our intention is to increase the overall baseline including representation of women, particularly at executive levels and leadership teams. Similarly, our diversity targets are more holistic and help us measure and improve on all aspects – recruitment, engagement, attrition and promotions across levels. Our recently launched, Research and Development Centre at Bidadi, Bangalore is a live example of gender diversity at work in manufacturing units. With more than 40 percent of female work force, this is one of our endeavors to promote women employment opportunities across different profiles in the organization. 

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Topics: Strategic HR, Culture

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