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Home > Business > Special

Godrej plan: Get paid before a job

Tarun Narayan | May 05, 2006

The Godrej group has introduced a drastic change in its recruitment practice for front-end sales executives. It has launched the "Godrej Sales Academy" which recruits a bunch of college graduates, trains them, and subsequently hires a certain percentage (in many cases its 50 per cent) of all those who get trained for a full-time position within the company.

It's a win-win for even those who get rejected simply because they too receive a certificate of training from Godrej along with those who get selected for the job. They also a receive stipend of Rs 6500 per month during their training period. The academy is on similar lines to what NIS Sparta and other such training academies offers.

The only difference is that those who are getting trained at Godrej receive a stipend while others have to shell out a whopping Rs 50,000 for such a training. If you do the math, Godrej incurs the following costs. The stipend paid to the 30-odd trainees for a six-month period works out to Rs 11.70 lakhs {(Rs 1.17 million), excluding the infrastructure and faculty costs}.

The cost, however, is recovered by way of tangible and intangible benefits in terms of sales executives who understand the company work and sales culture besides loyalty. "Almost two years back, there was a high rate of attrition within the company. Many of our employees were going to telecom companies since there was a boom in that sector," says Sumit Mitra, vice president, Human Resource, Godrej Consumer Products.

It didn't make much sense to hire from other FMCG companies either, because most of the candidates would rotate within the four or five companies that are there in the FMCG sector.

For example, if Godrej hired someone from Dabur, staffers from Godrej would in turn get hired by Dabur. Moreover, in the earlier system there was another drawback. During those days, the company would hire MBAs from B and C class campuses.

"We found they didn't really have the aptitude or attitude to do a job that involved walking in the hot sun and visiting various shops," says Mitra.

That's where the company decided to change the whole recruitment model. Instead of targeting MBAs, the company has begun targeting college graduates. These graduates are invited through an advertisement for a walk-in interview and those who appear for these interviews are put through an Assessment Centre - an HR tool to assess candidates.

As they progress through the training, the trainees are made to handle projects in upcountry locations. After four months, the person is given charge of an independent territory. The company then starts absorbing some of these candidates for a full-time job within Godrej. "This program instills a Godrej way of working amongst those who have the possiblity of being hired within the organisation," says Mitra. The absorption is typically done by assessing the candidates' productivity, the number of outlets that the person had covered, reporting frequency among others.

Aneeta Madhok, Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, at Narsee Monjie Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, says, "The practice is innovative and the positive side is that the candidates will enter the world of work with a proper training that gives them a set of skills."

However, she feels it could turn out to be a negative experience for the rejected candidates since everyone would eventually know that the person had not received an offer despite undergoing a training at Godrej. While this argument has its merits, the next time you chance upon this advertisement from Godrej, it may be worth a second look.

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