Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) prides itself on the parent group’s reputation for progressive human resources (HR) policies. Over the years, the packaged consumer goods maker has sharpened its focus on inducting women in senior management as well as ensuring groups of women participate in on-ground sales teams and in the shop floor, where they are rarely seen. In an interview, Rahul Gama, head of people resources at GCPL, explained how the company manages diversity and challenges its employees to do more. Edited excerpts:
How has GCPL set itself apart consistently as a great place to work in?
I think the Godrej Group and GCPL in particular have been at the forefront of a lot of HR practices in India and across the world. For quite some time, the group has been known for its people philosophy. That heritage is in the organization, which is almost 100 years old. In the last four-five years, the heritage already existed and we actually articulated the employer value proposition. It was based on three simple things—tough love, your canvas, and whole self. What this has done is ensure that everything that we do— whether it is hire, what we promise the people who join us, what we promise the people internally and make it come alive, is centred around these three things.
Tell us more about these three principles?
Tough love is all about challenging people and stretching them and also ensuring that we focus on growing them.
Your canvas—we are uniquely positioned because we have gone global.
We say if you have it in you, if you’re willing to take up a challenge, then this is the place that will offer it to you. Since we are part of the larger Godrej Group, we can promise a career across other verticals.
Whole self is an understanding that you are someone who brings your whole person to the office—with your responsibilities, your personal problems, etc. How does Godrej help you live your whole self, which is not just your responsibilities to your company and yourself, but also to larger society?
How does this translate into policies?
For example, some of our changes are around flexibility. We do not have an attendance system. There’s flexibility for people to come in and leave as long as they are doing their work. We did away with a quota of sick leave. Now we say, you’re sick, you could be sick for two days, you could be sick for 15 days. As long as you’re genuinely sick, the organization will support you. The shift has been trust-based.
How do you ensure diversity in the workplace at all levels?
There are four focal points we work on. First is hiring, by recruiting women in the senior management or level 3 and level 4. With more women in senior positions, automatically there is a trickle-down effect. We try to find a lady for a position before we close it, without compromising on quality of course. We understand that it is difficult because the number of women in the workforce is low. Both Vivek (Gambhir, managing director and chief executive officer) and I have a diversity dashboard that is really talking about what we are doing to improve diversity. We drive focus from the top by handpicking 20-30 high-potential women in the organization.