GCPL masters the art of employee retention

Rica Bhattcharyya, Economic Times, 13 July 2015

MUMBAI: 37-year old Somasree Bose Awasthi joined Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL), directly from B-school and has now completed 12 years with the organisation, where she also found her soulmate. Having been with one organisation through her entire career span so far, Awasthi has gone through the various personal life stages of marriage, pregnancy, child rearing while in this organisation and what has retained her at GCPL is the support that she has constantly received from her employer to achieve her career ambitions and balance it with personal life. "I was promoted when I was 7 months pregnant. It never came in the way of my professional achievement and recognition," says Awasthi, who now heads marketing for brands such as Cinthol, Aer, and Protekt. "There is a very high level of empowerment here," says Awasthi, who is the youngest member of the Godrej Leadership Forum.

It is this culture of empowerment, recognition, engagement and happy work environment that makes GCPL a great place to work. "For us the critical things are (spread on) three dimensions-- of being able to provide our employees with great careers, great rewards and great engagement and also a fourth dimension of a great environment," says Vivek Gambhir, managing director, GCPL.

All this is the cumulative effect of a series of people initiatives undertaken by the company over a period of time, some of which have been strengthened in recent times. For example the company's approach to recruitment, when it rolled out an innovative campus initiative called LOUD (Live Out Ur Dream), to identify some of the most passionate and creative individuals and the kind that would be the next generation of Godrej employees.

"While we started this, two years back, we have strengthened and reinforced it," says Rahul Gama, executive VP-HR, GCPL. In its first year, LOUD attracted a lot of attention from B-Schools. Through the programme, Godrej recruited 12 summer trainees, out of which 6 joined Godrej as management trainees in 2014. After a great success on campus last year Godrej LOUD was back with a bigger and better impact this year.

Also, with growth internationally and in India there are multiple opportunities available and one of the propositions that GCPL talked of is providing early opportunities to people and taking bets on people early. This year, GCPL started a programme called the 100 leaders programme, the idea of which is to integrate talent right across the globe in GCPL.

"We wanted to give visibility to roughly the top 100 people in the organisation and once we have visibility we want to take charge of their development, career, growth and strengthen the entire leadership pipeline," says Gama.

Another area of focus for GCPL is diversity and inclusion. Last year, it rolled out a diversity council that looks at overall diversity initiatives, planning, etc, across the group.

"We also have working groups for women, new parents, etc," says Gama. Another initiative called Careers 2.0 is for second career women and there are specific time bound projects that can be undertaken.

Gambhir says, "One of the key aspects of our vision is to foster an inspiring place to work where people should generally feel excited to come to work on most of the days."

"We will only grow when our people grow," adds Gambhir.