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Skilling the unskilled by Karan Kothari Jewellers

Retail Jeweller India

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By Manoj Chakraborty

With five showrooms across Maharashtra and a staff strength of 350, Karan Kothari Jewellers is looking at an upward graph. With innovative inventory and marketing strategies, there is one other thing that this jeweller focuses on — the employee. This has paid off, and how.

According to Pradeep Kothari, owner of Karan Kothari Jewellers, employees are the most important aspect of any organization. They are the face of the brand and the warriors who bring in profits with their unique approaches and innovative marketing skills. When an employee feels valued, they stay; otherwise they move on to greener pastures. In private organizations, we generally see a high attrition rate that goes to 25-30%, whereas in corporate, the rate is much lower owing to discipline and an organizational structure that plays a key role.

“To keep the attrition rate low, in 2006, we brought in a new policy that makes the staff feel more like a family. The management provides lunch for all. The senior staff regularly interact with the junior members and share their experience. They have also made our inter-branch communication strong, so that a common message goes out to the management in a stipulated time,” said Kothari.

As part of its employee outreach programme, Karan Kothari Jewellers conducts training exercises involving reputed labs and industry consultants.  Akash Prem Jain, principal adviser of  APJ Advisory, said, “We did an extensive product training and also worked with the management on re-establishing the CRM department, customer complaint cell and telecall centre.”

Karan Kothari Jewellers also has an in-house team that organizes monthly trainings to keep employees updated about the latest happenings in the industry.

As part of the programme, the jeweller organized two-and-a-half-hour online training sessions through video calls during the lockdown. It started on March 24 and continued till June 5. “We did not want the staff to be clueless about their future, or live in fear of job losses. As shops downed shutters, it was normal for them to worry, and so, it was important to lift their mood and get them ready for the post-Covid world. The online training programme included everyone, from the peon to the senior executive. The management also helped with mobile phones and gadgets,” said Kothari.

Apart from product knowledge, which was at the core, the sessions also focused on personal grooming, law training and motivation. As part of the legal training, new rules and regulations concerning the jewellery industry (such as rules regarding deposit schemes) were discussed.

“One of the key highlights of the programme was promotions. After the stores reopened, few of the lower-ranked employees were promoted to salesperson levels. Training has not only upskilled employees, but also helped them move up the ladder based on merit,” said Kothari.

During the pandemic, Kothari decided to involve all of the staff in training, which allowed the juniors learn about products and the skills needed for the trade. Generally, at the end of each session, the employees had to take a written and practical exam. “We could see the gaps narrowing down in the written tests. We identifies 7-8 juniors who had the caliber to contribute more to the organization and promoted them,” he points out.

Karan Kothari Jewellers has seen an improvement in the conversion rates after the training sessions. The order ratios have also improved by 15-20 per cent year on year basis. As far as attrition rates are concerned, the company has been able to lower it by 15-20%.

 

As published in The Retail Jeweller India magazine

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