We live in a world now where in spite of easy internet access, the lives have become more inclusive with constant lockdowns and persistent COVID-19 waves. People Matters asked Dr. Nirav Mandir, Chief Human Capital Officer of Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. (SRK), who has shouldered the strategic responsibilities for SRK’s Global HR, IR, Administration, HSE, CSR, and Compliances on how EX programs can be accentuated with a mix of familial & religious values of the community and how HR analytics is enabling companies to create a foolproof EX programs.
Here are the excerpts -
How is Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. (SRK) managing employee engagement in the current world of work?
At SRK, employee engagement is paramount. Employees and their family members are engaged through various activities. SRK’s work culture is built upon values perceived from the principles of “Bhagwat Geeta”, hence an annual spiritual event is organized for all employees including their family members. We believe that human beings without values are a beast. The preachings can guide employees to lead a good life because we firmly believe that until and unless they don’t cherish the personal life, they can’t justify their professional life and respective portfolios.
Along with the same, our buddy pair programs are also the catalyst in the process as it creates informal development of the workforce along with their strong emotional social bond with each other. They push each other towards their growth and develop their skills regularly by discussing their challenges faced during the day which ultimately creates a healthy competitive environment.
Sense of transparency and honesty develops a sense of pride and happiness.
How can leaders be proactively involved in tailoring the EX programs?
We have already pivoted our employee experience program on top of everything that we do, as we believe that our employees are our family members. We deeply believe that “We are highly indebted to the family of our staff as they have blessed us with good human beings who are contributing to the success of SRK. For us, our member’s family is equally important as the member of our own family”. So our company is rooted in generous practices. Top Management believes in the same philosophy and pro-actively participates in arranging the employee welfare schemes and activities.
With the help of ‘Kaizen’ techniques we enable suggestions of our employees to create the best experience for them. We anticipate the neutral feedback of the employees while we take any decision for our company. We don’t believe in a boss culture in the company. Department heads are directly approachable for grievances or required help as the employee experience is our priority since the inception of the company. During this COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, when our entire operations were shut for more than three months, the organization was releasing the salaries and did not lay off a single employee. There was no cost-cutting of the employees as we put weightage to the fact that if an organization leaves and employees during a tough time then that organization is not doing the justice to their employee centric approach.We are deeply influenced by our family spirit.
In order to drill down and prioritize different employee needs and different types of support, we generated numerous ways to reach out. Talking about the current situations, we even created covid isolation centers for employees and their family members. Along with that, we also initiated a vaccination program during the second wave. We have already covered more than 50% for the free vaccination drive in association with the Surat Municipal Corporation.
The HR industry is readily adopting people analytics. How can businesses learn from analytics to improve EX?
We have a staff strength of more than 6,000 members. Our HR Analytics indicates that the average tenure of a staff member within SRK is almost more than a decade. The average age of an SRKian is 34 years. It is ultimately the strengths of strong character, tenacity, and adaptability of an employee which help us to perform better in business. So based on the facts and figures we have obtained from the analytics we tried to provide the best engagement experience to our employees. Our in-house ERP helps us to track their feedback, their anxiety, and their problems during the pandemic.
We follow the Quadruple Bottom Line approach which is based on 4P’s. The 4 P's stand for the People, Profit, Planet, and Purpose. We believe in the slogan that health is wealth hence, we are very much particular about the health of our employees. We maintain the health index of our employees and keep tracking it to maintain their lifestyle. Not only this we look after their families too as we believe that SRK itself is a big family.
During this pandemic, our company was highly vulnerable as it was not possible for us to explore the immediate deployment of automation into manufacturing practices (e.g., collaborative robotics, autonomous materials movement). The manufacturing of diamonds has not been done in assembly-line process. It’s actually happening in a cluster & it is a zone-driven process. So to resume the work with more than 6,000 employees by keeping Health & Safety in mind was the biggest challenge. But with the help of HR analytics, we re-strategize our functions by providing them a pure and healthy environment. The purpose behind such was to have pure transparency. With the help of HR analytics, We have achieved the Industry benchmark with the average attrition rate of less than 1%.
How is your organization executing EX initiatives to cater to the digital, more hybrid, and inclusive culture of today's times?
Engaging the workforce during the pandemic era was a crucial task for us. We craft luxury products, which can’t be done remotely like within the service sector. But still we have tried to accept the WFH model for the profile which can be functioned remotely. So it is an achievement but for the other profiles it was the biggest challenge to engage them at home without allocating any work. We felt that old ways of working won’t work in the new normal, but we nailed the way we initiated multiple virtual cultural events to engage our staff members. We were even looking after their development under which we also arranged many soft skill & behavioral sessions for them. With the convergence of new technologies like Cloud, Mobile, Big data & AI, We redesigned our processes and policies. From hire to retirement, so many functions got initiated virtually. We have a gamut of digital collaborative tools like virtual video conferencing, virtual whiteboards, design thinking tools, file-sharing, chat-bot, and voice tools that have empowered employees to be agile and work seamlessly by collaborating virtually.
Competition for talent has played a major role in putting the focus on EX programs. What would you advise your fellow leaders to keep an eye on when they execute their own EX programs?
So we don’t really face such cutthroat competition as we are in a distinctive segment. Even though we try to focus on several points like one has to be optimistic in the toughest time, people who believe in anything is possible, actually put in the efforts to make it possible. Hence we have developed a respective culture where even our tagline indicates ’I am nothing but I can do anything’.
But on a general level, the methods used by an individual that helped him/her succeed, especially those methods that have also been replicated by others with immensely successful results, are a good blueprint to follow.
Apart from that, we believe in the significance of time. Our time on earth is so limited that we believe that the right time to begin anything is ‘now’. Procrastination won’t get you anywhere. The more you realize that time is limited, the more you will be motivated to start or keep working on your goal or your dream project or some other dream before it becomes too late.
Do you feel there is a need to explore more avenues to make EX programs more impactful? What kind of parameters come to your mind?
HR has to be committed enough to put their best to transform this crisis into a glittering opportunity but it would not be possible without walking the extra mile with a prudent approach
- ∙ Re-Calibrate the HR processes (As a part of reducing the operating cost)
- ∙ Focus on employee engagement (To aver the sense of belongingness)
- ∙ Adopt the Fact-Based approach (To be continuously relevant)
- ∙ Affirm the Culture of Care (To make them feel one)
This time has compelled all of us to sail into uncharted territories with innovative persuasion. We all are very familiar with the universal truth that “To achieve an extraordinary thing, one has to pursue extraordinary deeds.” So to treat everyone with respect and love is the key to achieve a better EX.
Know more about what’s new in employee experience at the People Matters Employee Experience India Conference on 10th June, 2021. Register Now! link-https://www.ex-conference.com/