Article: Work-life balance AND success? Pepperfry's HR leader reveals how

Strategic HR

Work-life balance AND success? Pepperfry's HR leader reveals how

Joee De Choudhury, Head of Human Resources at Pepperfry, shared insights into talent management and development amidst changing people and work priorities.
Work-life balance AND success? Pepperfry's HR leader reveals how

The need for work-life balance and well-being is growing among employees worldwide, especially in India, where concerns about the balance between work and personal life are increasing. It's crucial for organisations to address these concerns and implement effective work policies and support initiatives. Joee De Choudhury, Head of Human Resources at Pepperfry, shared insights with People Matters on how Pepperfry manages its workforce, which includes both permanent and temporary workers across 500 Indian cities. She discussed employee priorities regarding work-life balance, talent gap management, and skill development.

Here are edited excerpts:

Redefining priorities - Employee self-care, wellness programmes, and mental health initiatives

At Pepperfry we have consistently endeavoured to seamlessly blend work and personal life, not just for our younger team members but for everyone within the company. This initiative begins by assigning them roles that resonate with their passions and skills, ensuring they recognise the significance of their contributions and fostering an environment conducive to continuous professional development. Moreover, we prioritise the physical and mental well-being of our workforce. To support our employees, we've forged partnerships with organisations offering Employee Assistance Programmes, delivering confidential counselling and assistance for both personal and work-related challenges. Additionally, we've launched the​ Pep Health Club, tailored to enhance physical wellness among our staff. Central to our ethos is the cultivation of an open and supportive culture. We advocate for transparent communication and nurture an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing work-life matters with their managers and HR professionals. This approach underscores our unwavering dedication to the holistic well-being of our workforce, regardless of their position within the organisation.

How Pepperfry’s employees achieve work-life balance through flexible work arrangements? 

These initiatives have not only boosted productivity but have also made a significant contribution to employee satisfaction and their overall well-being.

One notable success story highlights a team member who successfully balanced caring for a family member while excelling in their role, thanks to our flexible work policies. With the option to work remotely and adjust their hours as necessary, this employee managed their responsibilities effectively without sacrificing work commitments.

This experience underscores the crucial role of flexibility in enabling employees to navigate personal and professional priorities seamlessly.

Bridging the talent gap with temporary workers amidst challenges..  

In most industries, a diverse workforce encompassing skilled, unskilled, and semi-skilled personnel is essential. At Pepperfry, we streamline the recruitment of unskilled workers by collaborating with contractors. During negotiations with contractors, hiring and termination terms are thoroughly discussed and finalised, minimising challenges. For semi-skilled and skilled workers, we maintain a longstanding pool of individuals who have been with us for years, ensuring operational smoothness. Our team includes skilled carpenters responsible for product assembly. When seeking new talent, we draw from our pool of experienced carpenters who have either previously worked with us or in related industries. We adopt a proactive approach by staying in touch with former employees and individuals in the local job market with relevant skills. This strategy significantly reduces the risk of disruptions to our overall company performance.

Extending skill development and well-being support for temporary workers 

Pepperfry prioritises internal growth and development within our organisation. To support temporary workers, we implement a thorough training programme collaboratively designed by both the leadership team and the ground team. The leadership team gains insight into the challenges faced by temporary workers through direct participation in their tasks for a day or two. Based on this first-hand experience and feedback, training sessions are tailored to address specific needs. Additionally, monthly refresher sessions are conducted to ensure ongoing skill enhancement. We actively encourage temporary workers to showcase their abilities, offering them the opportunity to transition into permanent roles within our company. There are numerous instances where temporary workers have progressed to become team leaders, exemplifying our commitment to fostering internal talent.

Additionally, we prioritise the well-being of all employees, considering ergonomic factors to ensure their comfort and safety during work. Furthermore, our leadership team maintains regular weekly communication to address personal concerns.

We advocate for adhering to designated work hours, avoiding overtime, and encouraging quality time spent with their families. To alleviate stress, we organise weekly events and fun activities, fostering a positive atmosphere in the workplace. Additionally, we strive to match individuals with roles that align with their interests, enhancing job satisfaction and overall well-being.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Talent Management, Learning & Development, Life @ Work, #EmployeeExperience, #HRCommunity

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