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HR Policies at the Landmark

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The HR policies at the landmark group are well in place for their employees who are instructed to maintain dignified level of professionalism.

Aptly setting the context, Venkataramana B, president (Group HR) –Landmark Group shares: “Our focus on nurturing employees to foster personal growth and development as well as offering job specific training plays an important role in equipping employees to face day to day challenges at work. We have an internal job process named ‘launchpad’ which provides all employees the opportunity to apply for internal vacancies before talent from outside is sourced for any vacant positions. This program enables employees to choose their areas of interest and switch to different roles within the organisation. This has allowed the organisation to retain employees and has provided employees growth opportunities within the organisation.”

With this particular option available, the issue around attrition is well taken care of. Elaborating on this, Venkataramana shares, “We place high emphasis to control attrition and retain employees. Over the years we have been working on all factors that cause attrition and have been able to bring down the attrition rate drastically year on year. The annualised attrition percentage has dipped from +90 percent in 2008 to 48 percent in 2013-14. The industry average is around 80 percent.”

MOTIVATING THE EMPLOYEES

With umpteen options now available for employee motivation programs, no company today can take refuge in the excuse that there is scarcity of time and finance. HR experts have gone way ahead in customising programs to suit the company’s need and at the Landmark group too, the HR team has taken utmost care that they leave no stone unturned to ensure their employees are well pepped up to carry on their assigned tasks. Venkataramana explains further, “Our key focus areas have been to align employees with the vision and values of the organisation. The aim is to inspire and motivate people to put thought, feeling and passion in their work.”

The group has gone ahead to introduce various programs such as ‘play in a day’, which is based on the street play methodology. ‘Corporate Theater’ is an innovative and informal learning methodology that is being used to educate, enlighten, entertain and engage the employees. Then there is ‘value campaign’, which celebrates one of their four values every month.

Each value has a colour associated with it and every week a ‘value’ is celebrated with various engaging activities like wear your colour, value on your desk, value on your canvas. According to Venkataramana, this activity has helped in drilling down the value and exploring the various dimensions of what the value entails.

Adding further on the various activities carried out for the staff, he shares, “I Love Landmark Group – a campaign connecting employees of Lifestyle, Max, Splash and Home Centre includes activities such as ‘click with style’ –photo booth, collage competitions, fashion show, T-shirt design contest etc. This gives employees an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity combined with their love for the Landmark Group.” This gives employees an opportunity to demonstrate their To ensure that the floor staff is charged up and geared to take on the day ahead at the store, managers address all employees as part of the morning briefing in a common forum where they discuss updates on business, strategy for achieving the daily sales target, market scenario and competition. The floor is then open for questions, ideas and suggestions. This is an important ritual each morning and is never given a miss.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS

A pat on the back to appreciate any milestones achieved when done at the right time can do wonders to boost the employee’s morale. Talking about the way in which appreciation is demonstrated at the Landmark Group, Venkataramana reveals, “Celebrations of both personal milestones and organisational success are built in a way that people work together and develop a strong organisational identity.

In such scenarios employees have a sense of belonging and feel proud to be associated with the organisation. We started celebrating popular festivities such as Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ayudha Pooja, Diwali, Christmas, New Year and many more. Each employee’s birthday is celebrated along with other engagement activities every month. Indeed these celebrations have triggered greater levels of bonding with the organisation. We also celebrate Retail Employees Day (RED) on 12th December across all stores and offices with great enthusiasm.

The day is dedicated to our front line employees who serve our customers with a smile day in and day out. The objective is to bring smiles to the faces of the frontline staff and thank them for their selfless and untiring effort which has made a significant difference to all our lives.” Adding further he said, “During the special day, a big thank you is conveyed to our retail employees through our recognition program where loyal customers are invited to felicitate the awardees.

Also the families of staff are personally invited by the store management team to attend the celebrations at the store. We also have an array of cultural events giving an opportunity for the employees to showcase their talent. It is truly heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and talent displayed by our employees during these cultural programs.”In addition, the senior management team from corporate and regional offices visit the stores to thank the employees for their exceptional customer service and hard work. This year, something that really struck an emotional chord was a personalised SMS from their business head at the start of the day. The SMS was sent to all the employees through an SMS blast.

On the activity undertaken at the corporate office, Venkataraman adds, “Even at our corporate offi ce, we invited all of them to express their appreciation through a special “Thank You” wall. As employees penned down their personalised thank you messages to our front line team, we saw how much their efforts meant to the corporate team. By celebrating RED, we acknowledge the role, importance and contribution of each employee towards our success which makes Landmark Group a great place to work and shop.” People Oscar, is the structured reward and recognition program under which there are various categories that make a difference such as ideator award, value champ, best customer service representative, best cashier, best department and many others to reward, motivate and engage employees whilst installing a performance drive culture in the organisation.

OPEN DOOR POLICY

An agitated employee can harm the reputation of the organisation to a considerable extent. Thus it is imperative for each organisation to have a foolproof redressal system in place to tackle employee grievances. Venkataramana explains, “The management places a lot of emphasis on listening to employees, wherein employees are encouraged to put forth their concerns or grievances. Our grievance redressal process – ‘here to help’ is a forum for employees to voice their grievances. As part of the ‘here to help’ initiative we have created a platform wherein employees can share their concerns without fear or inhibitions.

The key factor of ‘here to help’ is that employees can reach out directly to me.” Divulging on more details about the initiatives put in place, Venkataramana says, “One of the key initiatives we have introduced is connect over coffee – the skip level meetings which serves as a tool for fostering two way communication. These are conducted quarterly to encourage dialogue across all levels wherein the skip level manager meets with their team outside the office premises are held with an objective to have a free and frank interaction with employees and to seek their inputs on various issues. This has helped in developing a strong rapport and a more open and transparent culture within the team.”

The group has also devised a novel way to pass on various HR initiatives undertaken while the employees are on the move. It serves as a ready reference for them. Revealing the details, Venkataramana shares, “We have handyman, our internal HR guide which orients employees to our work culture, history, core values, business principles and way of working. Handyman is a pocket size booklet which the employees can carry around with them and refer to it for clarity on our policies and procedures.”

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