Balachandar N, group director-HR got a small Café Coffee Day team to share their experiences working with the brand and talk about their happiness quotient.
In a B2B conference, one usually expects a senior industry leader to come and share her/his views. However, it was a pleasant surprise to see the top boss taking a backseat and allowing his employees to speak and share their experiences. The audience which included senior HR leaders listed in rapt attention to the views expressed by CCD employees from across levels.
The idea was to let it all come straight from the horse’s mouth. After all, the subject of The Happiness Conclave—organised by HRKatha, at Bengaluru on 29 April, 2016— was ‘employee happiness’.
The session by Balachandar N, group director-HR, Coffee Day Group, turned out to be quite interesting, interactive and innovative.
Bala (as he his popularly known in the industry) got a small Café Coffee Day team to share their experiences working with the brand and talk about their happiness quotient.
Bala began by clearing the misconception that CCD outlets are franchisees. He clarified that every CCD store was company owned. CCD has around 10,000 employees on its payroll. And it is no easy task to keep such a huge workforce happy and motivated. It becomes more challenging for a company such as Cofee Day group, where a major chunk of employees is out at the various stores, some even in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
However, according to its employees present at the Conclave, CCD is doing a very good job at keeping its staff, even in the remotest of stores, happy and motivated.
Bala admitted that CCD also faces a big logistics challenge as it has smaller stores where the employee strength is between 4-20 people and everything is transported from its cooking facilities.
Also, the employees on the floor come majorly from rural India for whom the whole hospitality industry and the concept of coffee chains are new. CCD offered most of them an opportunity for dignified labour, weaning them away from the interiors of the country where life was difficult in multiple ways.
The team shared that CCD’s effort to give them clear growth paths and appreciate good work was what made them happy to be employed there. Every individual is appointed in a role or place that best suits her/his ability and preferences. A lot of focus is given on training and development.
The employees appreciated the fact that the company, through its area managers, ensures that they have a link with the senior management. The area managers not only address their grievances but are also responsible for their growth. A weekly meeting of area managers with other leaders is organised to address the issues and/or ensure that all employees on the floor get their due.
Each senior member of the team, including the CEO, visits all the stores and kiosks in the country frequently. This practice gives the employees on the floor a chance to interact with them directly.
According to the team, there is no dearth of appreciation for good work at CCD. They are well taken care of and they pass on the resulting happiness to their customers. In Bala’s own words, “one of the key things to ensure happy employees and a positive work culture is a clear growth path. And seniors should work to ensure that their subordinates have full faith in them. Giving responsibility at a young age, appreciating, acknowledging and rewarding quickly, and having a defined career and personal growth programme will pave the way for happiness as a culture for any organisation.”
(The Happiness Conclave organised by HR Katha was held at Taj Vivanta, Bengaluru, on April 29, 2016. The sponsors and partners for this event were The Fuller Life, NHRDN-Bengaluru Chapter, PeopleWorks, Giftxoxo and Kommune Brand Communications.)