Marico: Driving Meaning at Work and Creating Future Leaders

by | Meaning at Work

Performance Leadership & Meaning at Work – Marico  

Remarkable Achievements and Leadership in the Digital Age 

The homegrown FMCG major – Marico is currently India’s leading consumer Products Company operating in the beauty and wellness space. It is present across 25 emerging markets of Asia and Africa and has nurtured multiple brands in the categories of skincare, hair care, male grooming, fabric care, health foods, and edible oil, etc.   

Now standing at US$ 1.05 Billion turnover, Marico’s sustainable growth story chronicles an empowering work culture that encourages employees to take complete ownership and make a difference to the entire business ecosystem.  

Employer brand – Driving meaning at work for employees 

Founded in 1988 by Harsh Mariwala, the purpose of the company is not to exist for their business promoters but all the stakeholders. Mariwala has led several transformations at the company infusing agility, discipline, empowerment, focus, and shaping various learning experiences from his professional life.  

At Marico, ‘Will’ is more prized than ‘Skill’, because they believe that people with the right will, learning agility, and achievement orientation will be able to make a difference. Even Marico’s most prestigious OC awards are based on the values displayed by the employees and their will to Make a Difference”, rather than business performance.  

According to the Great Places to Work Institute’s list, Marico has made it to the eighth place amongst the best manufacturing companies to work for. At Marico, they don’t have employees, they have a group of members who take ownership and are determined to prosper and grow with the company. The members are empowered with the freedom to fulfil their aspirations and maximize their true potential.  

The company is employee-centric and works hard to create winners from within who can mentor the future leaders. The company employs various programs for the upliftment of their millennial workforce and managers  

Programs for the Millennial Workforce 

  • The B-School competition: Inter B-School participation in the annual Over the Wall competition’ leads to the interaction and insightful feedback from the senior leadership team. 
  • Volunteering and social initiatives: Members are encouraged to get involved in various CSR activitiesPaathshaala Funwala is an initiative where employees help school-dropped out girls to enroll back and excel.   
  • Follow your passion: The empowered culture and flexible working hours encourage employees to follow their passion outside of work and make a difference.  

Programs for Managers 

  • Lead with impact: The leadership development program helps leaders focus relentlessly on improving skills, take accountability, and impact decision-making.   
  • The Mentorship Program: The Marico Innovation Foundation (MIF) is established that works in collaboration with social enterprises, encouraging employees to excel in pre-identified challenges.  
  • Internal coaching and mentoring initiatives: Through this, learnings are passed on to relevant teams to bring great value to the table.  

Retaining Top Talent 

 Marico goes beyond the traditional methods to incentivize and retain talent. It is a flat organization which gives immense freedom to all its managers to experiment, take risks, focus on excellence with clarity of thoughts, and nurture talents to maximize potential. 

The empowered culture enables them to work with full decision-making authority and do a holistic job rather than just executing the decisions. Their 360-degree feedback process is one of the signature practices where new leaders receive detailed in-person feedback from various members. These insights set them up for long-term career development at Marico.  

The top management is also involved in selecting young leaders to work on key initiatives for culture-building, sponsoring, and mentoring Think Tanks, and mentoring teams to harness new business ideas.  

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The Emergence of Marico’s Novel Leadership Outlook 

Marico is a growing FMCG giant that reported an 11% rise in its consolidated net profit at Rs272 crore by the end of the third quarter. But this growth comes with many challenges.   

  • The rapidly changing market and technology expect the company to change to outperform and flourish efficiently. Under such conditions, it is the role of the leader to anticipate challenges, take ownership, and instil the changes in others. 
  • Another challenge was that as you scale up, how do you retain the DNA of a smaller organization and the agility that comes with it?  
  • As the company entered new business segments, young members were given more responsibilities and were expected to work with agility. But as they were delivering well in the business and functional domain, the company realised the employees were facing challenge with people skills and emotional intelligence.  

To overcome these challenges, Marico implemented LEAD – learning, encouraging, and development talent program as well as leadership development program to help the leaders stay agile. The company also came up with a ‘70-20-10’ model that focused on – 70% on-the-job learning, 20% through mentoring, and 10% through interventions for a strong leadership journey.  

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A Look into the Future  

Marico has three key objectives to build a diverse and inclusive workplace.  

  • Encourage creativity and innovation for strong business results  
  • Focus on an empowered culture and teamwork to achieve goals.  
  • Hire talent that represents members of different genders, sexual orientations, abilities, educational qualifications, and more. 

In the coming years, the leadership program is expected to evolve and make the leaders future-ready. Some changes will be: 

  • Democratised leadership training: In future, the leadership training will include members across levels and allow self-driven mission-leading teams. 
  • Undertaking coaching: Managers will identify gaps, educate, and build a rapport with their team to achieve goals faster. This will help retaining talents, and cultivate an environment of growth and innovation. 
  • Instilling a growth mindset: Leaders will have the ability to take more risks and adopt strategy to develop a critical mindset amongst others as well.

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