Article: Amway India’s strategies for building an engaged and thriving workplace

Strategic HR

Amway India’s strategies for building an engaged and thriving workplace

"In this dynamic approach, younger employees mentor, fostering more than just skill development—a lively exchange of ideas creating an environment where insights flow freely," says Ritika Malik, Vice President of HR at Amway India.
Amway India’s strategies for building an engaged and thriving workplace

Amidst the global transformation of employee well-being initiatives, the challenge lies in identifying and implementing the best and most effective programs that employees can leverage for a stress-free and productive work life. Furthermore, the evolving landscape, which demands upskilling for emerging technologies, has taken a toll on productivity, as employees grapple with the acquisition of new skills. Consequently, it becomes the organization's responsibility to provide a conducive learning environment while ensuring a supportive work culture for its employees.

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Ritika Malik, Vice President of HR at Amway India, shared several initiatives and strategies that have successfully contributed to building an engaged and thriving work culture.

Here are the edited excerpts: 

How does Amway India approach the creation of a comfortable and conducive work environment to enhance employee well-being, reduce stress, and boost engagement? Please share effective practices that ensure a balanced and supportive work culture for employees.

Our employees are at the heart of everything that we do. Being one of the leaders in the health and wellbeing space, we at Amway constantly strive to ensure the well-being of our employees. Towards this, we have meticulously designed a spectrum of initiatives committed to fostering the holistic health of our employees. 

  • Optimal U program is an initiative, under which we provide free annual health check-ups irrespective of employee’s age, Amway nutrition supplements like multivitamins, omega and protein for daily consumption across offices, well-equipped gyms, recreational areas, etc. This stands as a testament to our commitment to ensuring our employees have access to a multitude of resources to support their health & and well-being. 
  • We take Mental Health seriously and have curated mental wellness sessions under the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to enable our employees to feel equipped to take care of their wellbeing. 
  • We recognize the power of flexibility in shaping a balanced life and have embraced a hybrid work model and flexible hours, empowering our employees to navigate their schedules with ease. For employees at our employees at our manufacturing unit, we’re creating more flexibility around shifts and a greater emphasis on work-life balance.
  • To create an atmosphere of fun and engagement at work, we have a cross-functional employee-led committee named “Sampark” which organizes fun activities, celebrations, outings, etc to ensure employees are engaged and motivated.
  • Recognition is a key element of our culture. From celebrating service milestones to annual recognition programs, we have a full range of options to recognize and reward employees. The annual Red Carpet Awards is an annual event where we celebrate and recognize individuals & teams who contribute to business success. We also have SPARK – a global reward platform that allows instant recognition across levels. 
  • Parental Support: To ease the journey of a new parent, we offer an on-site creche facility and innovative flexible leave options, to help them balance their work-life commitments.

Our approach is not just a strategy; it's a commitment to prioritize the well-being of every individual who is a part of the Amway family. 

Can you provide insights into how Amway India fosters a culture of empowerment and ownership for its employees? What strategies have proven effective in this regard?

We want every employee to look around and be inspired, which we know looks a little different for everyone. No matter where they work or the role they serve, our goal is to provide them with a working environment where they can find balance and thrive. 

  • Organization Design has been used to build structures that encourage empowerment and agile decision-making. Flat structures and open communications allow greater accountability and responsibility across roles. 
  • Employee Listening Strategy has been designed to ensure we have open and honest two-way communication. Our culture and employee engagement survey run twice a year helps build a robust feedback flywheel with results followed by employee decided and led actions. 
  • Monthly employee town hall for open and direct conversation allowing employees to better understand our strategy and how they contribute to driving it.  
  • Our Leaders embody our Founder's Growth Mindset demonstrating the principles of ‘Lead with Heart’, “Love to Learn’ & ‘Live to Serve’. They're mentors and allies invested in the growth of our talent across levels to help employees feel encouraged to express their ideas and take initiative without the fear of failure or judgment.
  • Cross-Functional Projects: We encourage diversity in experiences through cross-functional projects as an opportunity for our employees to broaden their perspectives.
  • Connect with Senior Leadership:  Frequent interaction with the leadership team organized for new joinees as well as key groups like top talent, early in career talent to help build perspective and give them exposure to the leadership of Amway and spark a desire to take ownership of their own growth. 

These strategies collectively craft a culture of empowerment and ownership at Amway India. Here, every employee is not just a part of the organization but an active participant in shaping its success. It's more than a workplace; it's a community where voices are heard, ideas are valued, and everyone takes ownership of their roles and contributions.

In the context of Learning and Development, please explain how ‘reverse mentoring’ is implemented at Amway India and its impact on employee development and knowledge sharing within the organization. 

Fostering a culture of continuous learning is a priority within our team. Through our Learning Academy program, we've embraced the innovative practice of 'reverse mentoring.' It's not just about learning; it's about the exchange of wisdom within our own ranks. We leverage the expertise of our internal talents to share insights on everything from navigating social media platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn to AI tools, recognizing that even our seasoned leaders can glean valuable insights from our younger team members. By encouraging cross-generational knowledge sharing, we ensure that everyone, regardless of their position, has the opportunity to learn and grow in our ever-evolving technological landscape.

In this dynamic approach, younger employees become mentors. It's not just skill development; it's a vibrant exchange of ideas, creating an environment where insights flow freely. 

Elaborating on the roles and initiatives of Amway India’s DEI Council, please share insights on how diversity and inclusion are integrated into the overall business strategy and day-to-day operations and how it has positively influenced the organization's culture.

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) vision reflects aspirations that spring from our heritage. From the beginning, Amway Founders emphasized that the Amway business is for everyone. They were pioneers in bringing people together from all walks of life in an inclusive way, resulting in Amway’s extraordinary success. And, today, we want the same for our employees and therefore in 2021 with focused efforts our DE&I Council was set up. We don’t just speak about DE&I but also have to embed it in every process and de-bias our culture as far as possible. Our strategy rests on 3 strategic pillars - inclusive and accountable Leaders, A culture that includes everyone and a diverse workforce to support a long-range business plan. 

  • Our DEI efforts are focused on increasing women's diversity and early in-career (under 30 age) employee talent pool. Some of the initiatives taken by DEI council towards this goal are:
  • DEI Scorecard, DE&I metrics are an indicator of the state of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Amway. It helps our organization assess DEI outcomes and progress against our aspirational goals. It is jointly owned by our leadership team. 
  • “Be You” Campaign - When we say “Be You”, it’s a reminder to employees that they are valued, and they belong. It goes beyond a simple campaign or employee training - it's our vision! As part of our culture evolution, we are working to help every employee feel safe being their true, authentic self. 
  • DEI Enabled Awards, a special award recognizing functions that are doing well on the DE&I aspirational goals as part of our annual R&R program has brought in the required focus & and drive. Two new categories– “Women Achiever of the Year” and “Young Achiever of the Year” Award were also introduced as part of the DE&I focus. 
  • Plant Packaging Line Operations by an exclusive women crew - Our Plant has various policies in place that promote healthy gender diversity. In our continuous endeavour to improve and to set benchmark practices, we embarked on a path-breaking journey to run a production line with 100% women staff. 
  • People with Disability Hiring – With an aim to provide equal opportunity for People with Disability, for the very first time we have deployed three employees on the shop floor with Speech and hearing disability. 
  • Inclusion Network - WIN (Women Inclusion Network) and AYP (Amway Young Professionals): The inclusion networks are an internal business-aligned resource group or community that encourages personal and professional development where we learn and grow from one another. 

Our gender diversity & retention have improved significantly and currently, we have a 27% women workforce which is amongst the highest in the industry with retention of 89%. The current early career ratio is 38%. Top talent includes 30% females and the new hires (women) ratio is nearly 50%. 

This commitment to diversity and inclusion isn't just a value on paper; It's a holistic approach that has transformed our workplace into a more innovative and collaborative space. 

What specific benefits and support does Amway India offer to its female employees, and how have these measures enhanced the workplace experience for women in the organization?

At Amway, we are committed to providing a safe, secure, and inclusive workplace for all women employees from diverse backgrounds. Some of our key initiatives include:

  • Career Counselling: Routine career counselling programs intended to guide and encourage women employees to take the next step in their professional development. 
  • Including women employees in the Extended Leadership Team: We believe that inclusiveness is one of the key factors for business success and have inducted young women employees into the Extended Leadership Team at Plant. 
  • Policy Prohibiting Discrimination & Harassment:  This policy serves the purpose of clearly defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviours.  Amway is committed to provide a healthy, safe and conducive work environment for all and has zero tolerance towards harassment of any type, including unwelcome action or exclusion of a person based on any characteristic. In compliance with ’The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) 2013’ Act, we have Internal Committees under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) at the workplace for each region where employees can report any related matters without fear of retaliation
  • No Excuses: The No Excuses initiative aims to ensure employees are aware of acceptable workplace conduct and make it more inclusive for employees from diverse backgrounds.
  • Gender Sensitization Program: The objective of the program is to appreciate Gender diversity and develop a greater understanding of how “Unconscious bias” and subtle workplace undesirable habits affect their women colleagues. 
  • Women-centric policies also ensure a better work-life balance for women & promote inclusion in the organization. The objective of these initiatives has always been to provide an environment for our women colleagues to balance their life stage needs. Some of the key women-centric policies include:
  • Maternity Reconnect Program to support female employees in their maternity journey. Female employees are assigned a buddy before they proceed on a maternity break to keep them informed and engaged during the maternity leave. 
  • Conveyance Facility: To ensure safety and security, all female employees are eligible to take an office cab facility during working hours and while travelling. All female employees starting to or leaving the plant after 7 pm till 6 am are given doorstep pickup and drop facility along with a lady security guard. 
  • Special Travel Allowance: We offer travel reimbursement for pregnant women employees for the last two months of pregnancy. At the plant, we offer cab facilities for the last three months of pregnancy. 

Sharing success stories, please provide insights into how the culture and practices at Amway India have impacted employee productivity and motivation.

One of the best testimonies of the positive impact is the Amway Culture & Engagement Survey. It is designed to listen and learn our employees' perspectives on Employee Engagement, Change Management, DEI, Wellbeing, Business Strategy, and our Founder's Growth Mindset Principles. These surveys provide us with a continuous stream of employee insights. 

Our culture lays heavy emphasis on demonstrating a growth mindset and all employees are expected to display a strong sense of ‘We before Me’ in everything that they do. Our annual incentive plan supports this by ensuring all eligible employees receive the incentive linked to organizational rather than individual performance. This shifts the way employees think and encourages curiosity, innovation, and collaboration and employees are motivated to give their best without the fear of failure. 

Our Spark Reward and Recognition program is a vibrant and quick online platform where both “Thank You” Cards as well as “SPARK award” with linked points are available to all employees in order to recognize/ appreciate colleagues/ team members.

What is the "Fail fast, learn fast" philosophy at Amway India? Please elaborate on how it contributes to innovation and resilience within the organization. 

At Amway India, the "Fail Fast, Learn Fast" philosophy is our compass for innovation and resilience. We empower and inspire our team with the freedom to drive independently, fostering commitment, satisfaction, and increased productivity. One striking example of the "Fail Fast, Learn Fast" philosophy is Amway India's Innovation Board, through which we encourage employees to share new and innovative ideas. A lot of impetus is given to inviting ideas on process improvements and organizational challenges through the Innovation Portal regardless of employee’s grade, hierarchy, or tenure at the company. This allows for a diverse range of opinions, ideas, and perspectives, and employees are made a part of Amway’s strategies and challenges. Embracing discomfort, taking risks, and adhering to "Fail Fast, Learn Fast" allow us to help employees adapt rapidly.

The rapid integration of new technology into employees' functional routines has been of paramount importance. With virtual working, there are massive efforts on digitization and bringing in key changes in employee experience.  When we see few efforts do not yield the desired results, we are resilient enough to bounce back with a backup plan.

What initiatives does Amway India have in place to upskill its employees, and how do these initiatives benefit both individual employees and the organization as a whole?

At Amway, one of our cultural pillars is ‘Love to Learn’, where employees are encouraged to get outside their comfort zone, take risks, learn fast, and never stop doing what they love! Employees are provided opportunities, platforms, and a culture that encourages them to become avid learners, pursue their passion, and spark potential in themselves and others. Some of the key initiatives include

  • Enterprise Top Talent Program
  • Big LEAP- Top Talent Development Program 
  • 3rd Perspective brings the "outside" perspective to Amway through credible external speakers.  This unique forum is meant to inspire and develop employees and challenge them to think big and beyond. 
  • Amway Leadership Certification Program (ALCP): This is a global virtual program designed for mid-level leaders to enhance their Leadership Skills with the objective of helping leaders more effectively get work done through others and across cultures. It is run globally in partnership with Davenport University. 
  • Skill Block program at Plant –is designed for plant Technicians to help them chalk out their career in Amway and move from one role to another, gaining experience and learning with monetary benefits. 
  • Early in the Career Talent Program at Plant, is an effective Talent identification and development strategy in order to create a bench for entry-level leadership roles which includes talent identification, and development of their technical and leadership skills. 
  • MentorcliQ - It is a mentoring program that leverages technology to match a mentor to a mentee based on their expertise and requirements respectively. This helps in the overall professional and personal development of both the mentor and the mentee. 
  • On-Demand learning through online platforms provides employees access to a wide array of online learning programs, and leadership labs having numerous self-learning videos, and modules on a wide range of subjects. 
  • Corporate Education Sponsorship is a policy designed to support and encourage continued education and learning among employees by pursuing formal education in line with their current roles or likely next role. 

Our commitment to upskilling is a symphony where each note resonates with the belief that when we invest in our people, we are not just shaping their future; we are fortifying the future of our entire organization. It's our commitment to growth, innovation, and a workforce that's not just ready for the challenges of the future but thrives on them.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Culture, #Wellbeing, #HRCommunity

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