Two years ago, logistics company DTDC set up a trust shop at its Goregaon office in Mumbai that had a refrigerator filled with non-alcoholic beverages and a cash drop box where employees had to put their money for every drink they took. The fridge was restocked every morning irrespective of the cash collected. To date, the money received tallies with the price of the beverages consumed by the employees. "A strong workforce is the backbone of any organisation and a loyal workforce is the key to success," says Shiv Rawat, General Manager, National Human Resources, at DTDC. "The idea is to find out how trustworthy our employees are and how they would perform unmonitored." It also explains why DTDC is in Business Today's listing of Best Companies to Work For.
The Transformation and After
DTDC has undergone a transformation after French courier major GeoPost acquired 42 per cent stake in 2013. At the time, Reliance Capital Private Equity Fund exited the company by offloading its stake to GeoPost that operates in India under the brand name DPD. "We have learnt a lot from the DPD group in terms of knowledge and processes," says Abhishek Chakraborty, Executive Director at DTDC. As on March 31, 2017, the company posted a profit of `200 crore on revenues of `1,050 crore. The business mix has changed as well, with the focus on parcel delivery instead of mail delivery. While mail delivery accounted for 70 per cent of DTDC's business nearly five years ago, it has now come down to 20 per cent. On the other hand, parcel and express delivery businesses account for 80 per cent of DTDC revenues compared to 30 per cent five years ago.
"We operate in an industry where cost is rising but courier charges are falling. So, I have to do more with less," says Chakraborty who invests in performance and does not shy away from distributing profits to deserving employees. The move has seen a positive impact and attrition has fallen to 15-20 per cent from 30-35 per cent.
DTDC shortlisted 45 of the top 200 senior employees and engaged them in a nine-month development and coaching programme. It involved assigning a coach who monitored their work on a weekly as well as a fortnightly basis. "The results were encouraging. We could see a difference in employees' approach towards their work, subordinates and contribution to the company," recalls Rawat. The company then chose 235 from a list of 2,000 employees and asked them to go through the same exercise, which was customised for DTDC. "Now we encourage our employees to do an MBA or a course related to supply chain management. For this, we have tied up with Amity Business School," he says. As training is opening up ample growth opportunities, the company is able to retain 90 per cent of the employees, adds Chakraborty.
The company currently spends 3 per cent of its profit on employee training, development and other activities. As a result, revenue per employee rose from `77,787 in March 2017 to `94,778 in December 2017. Engagement initiatives such as HR Apke Dwar and Engagement Factory have seen more women joining the DTDC workforce. Today, 11 per cent of the DTDC workforce is women against 4-5 per cent in 2013.
"The freedom to take decisions even at a trainee level is why I joined the company. I heard about it from my seniors and experienced it when I joined DTDC," says management trainee Hiral Kapasi. Tushar Kudalkar, 45, has a similar experience. From the position of a courier boy in 1991, he rose to head the operations team today. "It has been a fulfilling journey for me. The confidence shown by my seniors during the initial days has helped mould my career," he says.
DTDC has also created an Employee Benevolent Fund for the blue-collar workers to support their requirements in case of medical emergency or children's education. "One per cent of the company's revenue goes to the fund," says Chakraborty.
"Although demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax have affected the industry, we have been able to grow due to focussed performance and hiring the right talent," he points out. To optimise productivity and rewards, he has introduced the 2*2 performance matrix, which means when there are three employees in a department and two can do the work of three, the company retains two and distributes the salary of the third between those two employees. "This will increase volume and along with our B2C focus, we will double our revenue in the next three to five years," he adds.