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Setting Trends, Bettering Yardsticks


Setting Trends, Bettering Yardsticks

As one of the first and biggest department store chains in India, Shoppers Stop isn’t just a retail brand but a beacon for its peers and competitors alike. Shoppers Stop has been featured among India’s Best WorkplacesTM for Women 2022, and India’s Best WorkplacesTM for Retail 2023. Shoppers Stop has numerous learning, development, and recognition programs for employees across levels, to align them with the strategic focus of providing a world-class customer experience.

“I am not a commander giving orders to others but as a leader, I give advice to others. This is a great place because here everyone co-operates with each other & keeps one goal in mind to achieve – organization goal like a common people.” – in the words of a Team Leader, Customer Service Desk.

Happiness Cheques

An important aspect of building trust is recognizing the efforts of our employees in real-time. A pat on the back from a manager can go a long way in keeping people motivated and happy at work. With the idea to create something that appreciates great efforts and small achievements, and adding to the concept of Instant Rewards, they introduced the Happiness Cheque Book. While the Happiness Cheques are non-monetary, they are curated keeping in mind the thought of Reward and Appreciation.

This initiative appreciates employee efforts and extends the benefits to their loved ones who are an integral part of their lives.

A fair and transparent work environment goes a long way in creating an emotional connection with the organization. Employees at Shoppers Stop have strongly endorsed the impartial, unbiased, and family-like workplace culture –

The foundation of their everyday communication is represented by ‘Dilsay’ – a bottoms-up communications platform.

Being an action planning initiative, this platform is in tandem with Functional and HR Heads to facilitate engaging two-way communication. It is a structured mechanism to collect ideas, concerns, and suggestions, and evaluate the same. Dilsay encourages managers to ‘listen’ and employees to share their ideas as well as their concerns. The purpose is to communicate to the people that their suggestions and opinions matter. Using this app, they identify the root cause of the underlying concern and work towards resolving the same.


The process of sharing ideas and concerns is kept simple. Employees can scan the QR code, which is available at various locations, fill in all the details, and submit their thoughts. After submission, these inputs are collated, sorted, and shared with the relevant SPOCs for further action. Employees get periodic updates about their inputs. The ideas and concerns received through this platform and their progress is reviewed and presented to the CEO and the leadership team. To ensure that this becomes a continuous and consistent process, they also host monthly reviews, and the dashboard numbers are presented during the Management Committee Meetings.

Every quarter, the most impactful ideas are nominated by the jury to be a part of the Golden Mirror Awards. These ideas could be related to revenue generation, cost saving, process improvement, social responsibility, customer experience, or employee experience. Dilsay not only gives employees a voice but also makes them a part of defining the future of the organization.

The Golden Mirror Awards has been a popular recognition program that started in 2014. Held on a quarterly basis across India, the award is presented to employees at a regional and national level. Immaculate knowledge, pristine store management, and above all, providing a delightful experience to customers are what make Shoppers Stop a trusted brand. The Golden Mirror Awards recognize the people who make all these things possible.

golden mirror awards

Another recognition program introduced is peer-to-peer badges. The objective is to recognize outstanding work put in by employees across the organization. Whether it is to help a fellow employee in time of need or come up with a brilliant solution.

“I have seen many times my head of the family – my unit head & my HR always encourage the associates, not like staff but like a family member. We are under one roof, recognizing the associates for their good work.” – says a Junior Store Officer.

Baby Kangaroo

To capitalize on a base as high as 70%, of the front-end associates and nurture them as future managers, Mr. B S Nagesh incepted the Baby Kangaroo program in 1996. Over the years, the program has churned numerous capable and efficient associates. This comprises a nationwide assessment center for all front-end Customer Care Associates who have completed 2 years in the organization. More than 1,700 associates appear for these assessments annually or biannually basis the requirement. Those clearing the assessment undergo a rigorous 9-month stint in diverse functions – before the successful ones are designated as “Customer Care Associate & Department Manager”. Similarly, development programs are aimed at developing the associates who clear their next level of assessment centers to become Retail Operations Managers (ROM) and Unit Heads respectively. The programs intend to hone, nurture, and recognize talent from within the organization.

Not the one to rest on past laurels, Shoppers Stop has introduced contemporary programs to keep up the ante on learning for talented young leaders through workshops and coaching on Design Thinking, Executive Presence, and many other present-day themes. In partnership with Great Place To Work® and Great Manager Institute®, more than 200 people managers have undergone the Great Manager Certification Program. The certified managers are all set to become culture role models for the people. The range of programs helps amplify the associates’ learning, and add value to their role, helping Shoppers Stop build a succession pipeline.

Every year, on December 12, Shoppers Stop celebrates Retail Employee Day, dedicated to the customer-facing champions, where a host of engaging activities are planned for them.

One of the industry-first initiatives Shoppers Stop introduced was how their employees identify as Customer Care Associates first, and not as their designation. This has helped the organization go devoid of the sentiment of being above one another within the organization. Right from the MD and CEO Venu Nair to the Department Managers, everyone identifies first as a Customer Care Associate. This stems from the feeling that in our hearts we are people who love serving customers. “When we speak of an experience that we want to deliver to our customers it is Nothing But The Best. We work hard and leave no stone unturned to do it well. Our deep-rooted customer-centric culture inspires our associates to be committed and go beyond what is expected.”- Venkatesh Raja, Chief Human Resources Officer.

With the pandemic, the importance of safety and well-being has come to the forefront more than ever before. The Human Resources team at Shoppers Stop took up the responsibility of promoting an environment of calmness while also engaging the leadership to respond with timely, accurate, assertive, clear, and consistent communications from across all levels within the organization. Through SSConnects, they safeguard people’s interests which strengthens the bonding and leads the Associates to reciprocate the trust and faith that Shoppers Stop has invested in them.

While society often looks at marriage or childbirth as a stalling period in women’s lives, Shoppers Stop, through the Second Innings program, has given women an opportunity to rejoin the organization without skipping a beat. They extend job opportunities across verticals and offices to women and provide them a platform to restart their careers with the organization. Women get assigned a workplace ‘buddy’ for a month from the existing team, to ease their journey as they transit back into their professional workplaces. The Women Engagement Committee introduced the 12 days a year Menstrual Leave and sanitary pad vending machines to help women take care of their health. Shoppers Stop has partnered with ProEves, a child services management agency. Employees can enroll their kids, aged 6 months to 6 years and to give working parents a sense of security, the organization also contributes towards the day-care expenses.

Shoppers Stop has made a signification contribution to PANKH – Wings of Destiny, which is an initiative by Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) and Youth 4 Jobs Foundation (Y4J). The initiative aims to train people with disabilities (PwD) and provide them with employment opportunities in the retail industry. The initiative thus aims to create sustainable livelihoods for PwD and promote inclusive growth in the retail sector.

To sum it up, an inclusive workplace culture, where employees belong and contribute across the organization and leadership believes in putting people first and customers foremost. Since its inception, Shoppers Stop has paved the way for providing a world-class experience not only to its customers but also to treat employees with respect and integrity. By encouraging, an agile, innovative, and digital mindset among its associates, Shoppers Stop has built and sustained an immense amount of credibility. With a shared passion for breaching boundaries and providing endless possibilities to all its stakeholders, Shoppers Stop is ready to take on the challenges of the future, here and now.

"Authored by Kanul Goenka, Senior Project Manager - Consulting"