At GCPL, work matters, not attendance

Soumya Gupta, Mint, 22 January 2018

Godrej, the quintessential locks and safes firm, has long transformed into a conglomerate with interests in almost all major industries. Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) is ranked among the top 10 manufacturing workplaces according to the Great Place to Work Institute study.

What's the nearly INR 5,100 crore company's secret?

It's the long group heritage of setting standards for how it treats its employees. For instance, in 2017 the over 100-year-old group made headlines when it announced that it will work with the United Nations to counter discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in business and the workplace.

GCPL benefits from the group's vision that emphasises a 'holistic employee', recognising that people who work for the company have responsibilities and goals outside of narrow work targets.

"In the last four-five years, we actually articulated three core principles-tough love, your canvas, and whole self," said Rahul Gama, head, Human Resources at GCPL.

"Tough love is about challenging and pushing people, and focusing on developing them," he said, while Your Canvas is about providing employees with a chance to expand their roles and responsibilities in the company. "We are uniquely positioned because we have a presence in geographies outside India. What we provide to our talent is that if you are willing to take a challenge, then this place will offer it to you. Since we are part of the larger Godrej Group, it's not just GCPL, it's across agri, chemicals, real estate, that is the promise of a career."

GCPL staff can get a chance to work for the firm in its Indonesian and African markets for instance, or even move to roles in other Godrej group firms. The aim is to allow everyone to have opportunities to learn.

GCPL is just as invested in helping employees balance the personal and professional. "Whole Self – is the understanding that you bring your whole person to work with your responsibilities and your personal problems," Gama said. This is why GCPL's systems work on trust, Gama says. The company does not enforce an attendance policy allowing people to work from home as long as they work on their targets.

Such policies have helped GCPL achieve significant diversity targets. Among its 12,099 employees today, the number of women making up the workforce has gone up from 10.9% in 2010 to 25.4%, while women in senior leadership now represent 20.5% of the total, up from 4.2% in 2010.

GCPL's management continues to review the company's people management closely. "Managing our human capital is one of the most important priorities for the leadership," said Vivek Gambhir, MD and CEO of GCPL. "The GCPL Global Management Committee has defined 6 key roles for itself," he said, including commitment to the GCPL motto of "Making goodness" and shaping workplace culture aligned to "The Godrej Way", he said. Senior leadership spends 30-40% of its time on people-related issues including monthly reviews and an annual individual career planning discussion with employees among six other key activities throughout the year.