Aarti Industries’ humanised approach to employee relations

Mumbai-based B2B manufacturing company, Aarti Industries, which deals in chemicals such as benzene intermediaries, pharmaceuticals and surfactants, claims to go all out for its employees.

In its 16 manufacturing units, the Company employs around 13,000 people, including 5000 permanent and 8000 casual workers.

Not have the permanent employees received their increments and promotions, the casual labourers have also received their dues, claims the Company. While the casual labourers who can come to the factory and work, receive their full pay for each day’s work, the

Company claims that those who are unable to attend their shifts are paid the minimum wage as per government norms.

Aarti Industries resumed operations for the chemical division from mid-April, after around two weeks of downtime albeit with reduced workforce. As of now, the organisation is functioning at 50-80 per cent capacity across its plants.

The 8000-odd contract labourers who primarily work in operations, maintenance and project-based jobs, are picked up in buses from their homes every day.

While the health guidelines have been circulated and safety norms adhered to, as per government directions, the Company is taking care of its workers in the plants by providing free food as well. The food in the cafeteria, which was earlier subsidised, is now available free of cost to the workers.

Need-of-the-hour medical facilities are being provided to the workers. Aarti industries also has its own 24/7 operational health centre with its in-house team of doctors and nurses to take care of the staff at the plants.

For the corporate employees, work from home had started from March 16 onwards.

Employees who did not have the device or the technology to work from home were provided with laptops and required access by the Company.

Some engagement as well

Close to 500 plus employees who form around 10 per cent of the total workforce, are working from home.

For those working in isolation from their homes, Aarti Industries has initiated a range of activities to keep their morale and motivation high. In the month of April, 16 sessions were held by coaches for the employees, where pertinent topics and issues such as taking care of oneself physically and mentally were discussed with the senior leadership sitting in.

Moreover, the leadership has been in constant touch with the employees throughout the entire period. Manoj Kumar Sharma, CHRO, Aarti Industries, personally held around 50 sessions in the month of April alone.

Aarti Industries has further organised fun and engaging contests for the employees to participate in. The ‘Aarti Got Talent’ is a series organised by the company, part I of which included employees competing in painting, dancing, poetry, mobile photography and singing competitions. The contest was wrapped up by April 17.

For the part two of the series, employees sent in childhood pictures of themselves for a collage which was later posted on the Company intranet. In addition, employees formed teams and created fun videos and skits for a category called ‘Team Skit Shoot’.

In addition to all of the above, the Company has included a ‘lockdown special’ in the company newsletter, where employees share their own stories. Under the theme ‘Stories Worth Sharing’, employees share their experiences of overcoming challenges and celebrating achievements, such as learning a new skill.

“We are resolute about conducting our business in an environmentally and socially-responsible manner and are proactively looking for opportunities to contribute towards the development of our community and society. We are not doing anything extra or unusual. The steps we are taking for our people and beyond, reflect the culture and values at Aarti. Even in a non-COVID situation, we would have continued to take care of our people in the same manner. This is in our DNA. It is the foundation of our organisation,” concludes Sharma.

Some social activity

Employees across the organisation, right from the chairman to the technicians, have voluntarily donated to the PM Cares fund. There are employees who have planned their donations for the entire upcoming year in an incremental manner, starting from one day in April, two days in May, three days in June and so on. A spokesperson for the Company mentions that one of the employees in the IT department has planned his donations for 78 days throughout the year. As on April 30, around 1000 employees at Aarti had donated.

Not just its own workers in the plants, but the workers in and around the plants who are not employed by the organisation are also being taken care of by Aarti Industries. Grain kits have been distributed amongst the neighbouring communities around the plants, including food rations. Safety equipment, such as masks and sanitisers, have also been provided to them. The areas in and around the plants and the local communities have been fumigated for additional safety.

Sharma says, “At Aarti Industries, we take pride in living by our values. One of our core values is Care, which underscores our commitment to care for our people, our stakeholders, our environment, our society and our community.”

“During this unprecedented COVID -19 situation, we have taken various initiatives to care for and serve our neighbouring communities.  Some of these initiatives include de-sanitisation, grain kit distribution, and medical support. All these are in addition to our well-structured CSR programmes”, claims Sharma.

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