Retailing is people intensive business and the productivity as well as welfare of the employees at every level reflects the wellbeing of the business. Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd. is a multi-format, multi-brand, labour intensive retail business. Retention of customers is critical to the retail business and human resources are a critical input that determines customer attitude, preference and loyalty. Hence, Lifestyle International constantly develops and incorporates human resource management programs that help to retain, develop and encourage their employees. Given that multiple functions of the business must work together to ensure success of any initiative, it is important that all employees of the business are on the same page in terms of the objectives of the company. This case enunciates a series of human resource initiatives that the company has put together to ensure that there is no dilution of the values of the company such that they are retained and percolated across the system. The acclimatization to the values and processes of the business starts from induction itself.
Several initiatives such as the ‘buddy system’, the ‘get connected’ process, in-store training and new manager orientation are geared towards careful and complete induction of the new employee into the company. The company believes that it is important to ensure percolation of culture within the organization and hence programs such as ‘Connect over Coffee’, open houses, ‘People Pulse engagement survey, ‘Landmark way or working’ code of conduct and ‘Here to Help’, Whistle Blower Policy, Smiley Kiosks to measure happiness quotient, Facebook@work for employee engagement and Saturday meet initiatives have been instituted to help employees from any part of the organization to understand the ethos of the business.
In order to improve and facilitate performance of employees, schemes such as Landmark Development Program, Fast Mover Development Program, Education Assistance program as part of performance appraisal have been instituted. The Maxcelerate Program is an appraisal management system that moves away from the traditional normal curve based appraisal format to increase joint accountability across functions. For example, both finance and sales are held accountable for profitability of specific product lines. Besides ‘Key Effort Areas’ being defined in performance appraisal, joint accountability is also established.
In order to appreciate their employees, awards such as Lifestyle People Oscar Awards and Max People Icon Awards, Clash of Icons, Make a difference, Incentives and Long Service awards are given to deserving employees. In order to celebrate and reinforce values of the company, House Concept, Family Fiesta, Kids and Spouse Day at work, Retail Employees Day, Maxtravaganza, Max Fashion icon and Max Loves Music are organized. Besides these, the company also has other annual events like Landmark Premier League, Landmark Carrom, Badminton & Table Tennis Tournament and Diwali Dhoom, which are eagerly awaited by employees and are organized with much gusto and enthusiasm.
In order to incorporate a culture of inclusion, the Swabhiman Program, Max mastermind and Lifestyle ka Genius, Project runway, Play in Day, Max Career Passport and LIFE Program, gamified learning opportunities and a culture of continuous improvement along with management buy-in have been incorporated. All these initiatives have helped in increasing employee engagement and improve customer retention, profitability as well as revenues. From being just a 2700 crore company in 2011-12, the company is now a 6000+ crore growing at a rate of over 25 per cent CAGR. This growth has been supported by the HR function both in manpower planning as well as people development and engagement.