How Raymond is developing future leaders

As per the CHRO, the Company follows a mix of build and buy when it comes to selecting leaders at Raymond

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Like many other organisations, skilling is an integral part of Raymond, the branded fabric and fashion retailer in India, which has over 20,000 employees working in the Group.

Raymond has two marquee leadership-development programmes in the Company. One is the ‘Emerging Leaders Programme’ (ELP) and the other is called the ‘Raymond Leadership Academy Programme’ (RLA).

These programmes started almost six years back at Raymond. In the last two years as well, when most companies were focusing on the safety and wellbeing of their employees, Adhir Mane, CHRO, Raymond Corporate, shares that Raymond never lost its focus on developing leaders at the firm.

Developing leaders in all domains

Both RLA and ELP programmes are meant to develop leaders all across the organisation. The organisation has employees working in its corporate offices, as well as its garment-manufacturing facilities. “Many leaders and future leaders have emerged from our manufacturing unit in their respective domains,” reveals Mane.

Therefore, RLA and EPL are both designed to develop future leaders from all management domains such as sales, marketing, HR and so on.

While RLA is meant for junior experienced employees with at least two years of experience, the EPL is for the senior-level managers in the middle management of the company.

Both RLA and EPL programmes are fairly long, where the participants spend two years while also working in their original roles. To be a part of this programme, the participants are first assessed on their performance in the company and secondly, psychometric assessments are conducted.

“Our marquee leadership development programmes help us to identify the best talent within the organisation and then develop them into brilliant future leaders’

Adhir Mane, CHRO, Raymond Corporate

Mane shares that currently, 150 people are undergoing the RLA programme and about 35 people are part of the ELP at Raymond.

Under these programmes, Raymond has tied up with global universities such as University of Cambridge. The focus of this programme is based on three areas of leadership — leadership of self, teams and the organisations.

The modules for the programmes are designed and co-created by the HR at Raymond as well as the learning & development (L&D) team in collaboration with the faculty of these global universities.

Extensively designed on a classroom-based learning methodology, the classes for EPL and RLA took place virtually during COVID-19.

After undergoing these programmes, all participants of the EPL programme are promoted and deployed into key and critical leadership positions in the Company. On the other hand, those part of the RLA programme move up the ladder into senior mid-level roles.

“Both these programmes at Raymond help identify the best talent within the organisation and then develop them into brilliant future leaders,’ shares Mane.

Raymond’s EPL and RLA are both great examples of how the Company truly believes in developing leaders internally, but as per Mane, the Company follows a mix of building leaders and buying leaders from outside.

When it comes to some skills such as data analytics, talent is not available internally at Raymond. In such cases, the Company prefers buying talent from outside. “For niche roles and skills, we hire leaders from outside,” asserts Mane.

Upskilling at the stores

As a fashion retail brand, the Company has more than 1500 stores in 600 towns across India. There is a huge workforce working at these stores of Raymond Lifestyle. To continuously skill people at the stores, Raymond came up with the ‘One button connect’ initiative, where all learning was just one click away for the employees.

An online learning was designed for the employees at the store, so that they can learn by watching small byte-sized videos sitting at home. “During the lockdown, this initiative was the key to keeping our employees engaged at a time when most of the stores were closed,” says Mane.

“Being a large workforce scattered all around the country, it is difficult for everyone to gather at one place. The one-button initiative has been a success within this workforce,” admits Mane.

Currently, the adoption rate of the ‘one-button programme’ stands at a healthy 75-80 per cent in the organisation.

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