Flipkart’s Big Billion Days may be just about lucrative deals and a shopping bonanza for customers, but for the employees at India’s popular e-commerce marketplace, it means months of hard work before and even after the sale. People in the corporate offices put in extra effort to ensure everything at the back-end runs smoothly and the delivery force, which doubles its usual capacity during the festive period, makes sure the goodies reach buyers on time. These collaborative efforts are essential to make this event the success that it is.
Human resources at Flipkart go the extra mile to make employees feel engaged and appreciated. According to Anurag Verma, senior director-HR at Flipkart, the ground staff working in the warehouses, as well as the last-mile delivery agents are extremely crucial to the business. Therefore, appreciating and rewarding their efforts is a must.
Flipkart has Spot Awards, as part of which the delivery staff and warehouse workers are rewarded for extraordinary performance. For instance, during business as usual a Wishmaster, the official term for the Company’s delivery agents, may deliver 45 to 50 packets. This figure may increase to over 70–100 packets during the Big Billion Days. “The extra effort that our staff puts in during TBBD is lauded through a system of reward points, which they can redeem for goodies including watches, movie vouchers, food and Flipkart shopping vouchers,” Verma explained.
“We do not want anyone to be rash while out delivering for us, in the interest of their safety and the public’s. Wishmasters must wear helmets if they are on a bike and are not permitted to carry a load above a predetermined, safe level. For us, safety is the key factor, important above all else.”
To ensure that employees are not incentivised to put themselves and others in danger to collect rewards, the Company has instilled a few practices. One of these is a feature in the Wishmaster app that tracks speed and movement, as well as stringent limits on the maximum load any delivery agent is allowed to carry. They are also given reminders and trainings on safety measures and the importance of following traffic rules.
As Verma explained, “We do not want anyone to be rash while out delivering for us, in the interest of their safety and the public’s. Wishmasters must wear helmets if they are on a bike and are not permitted to carry a load above a predetermined, safe level. For us, safety is the key factor, important above all else.”
The points system is also tweaked to make sure that it doesn’t reward the delivery made in one go, but rather the average over several trips. “Our aim is to reward our people for the extra effort or hours put into the job by them at this pivotal time, and not for completing their targets by driving rashly or overburdening themselves.” Verma adds.
In addition to the points system, Flipkart tries to innovate with the food it provides the ground staff, and also conducts Yoga and stretching sessions as stress busters for employees on the floor.
What of the ‘Flipsters’ working behind the scenes at the Company’s headquarters? The sheer scale of an event like this means round-the-clock work for many at Flipkart. While the energy is palpable and contagious in the lead-up to the big day, the momentum needs to be kept going. The best way to do this is to ensure that everyone is well taken care of, well fed, and well rested.
Verma added, “BBD also requires Flipkart employees at the headquarters to spend late working hours and during the event, most of these employees stay at the premises. To motivate and energise such staff Flipkart ensures that all the needs of the employees are taken care of. Those in need of stress busting can choose between massage chairs, zumba, gaming zones, or a quick pick-up game of basketball on the roof. This year, we arranged for a stand-up comedy session by Vaibhav Sethia, as well as cotton candy and live music. There were 24×7 tuckshops, midnight snacks, and cake and wine to celebrate wins.”
All these initiatives are geared towards keeping employees happy and motivated during times that there’s more work than usual. Flipkart has shown that it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that their employees are happy and taken care of in times of stress.