The Hindu autumn harvest festival of Diwali is a time of family, feasting, and gifts. Employers typically give salary bonuses and gifts. However, Savjibhai Dholakia, chairman of Hari Krishna Exports Private Ltd., a diamond company in Surat, India, has set a new standard for company Diwali gifts, gifting over a thousand employees jewelry, houses, and cars.
“I gave Diwali gifts to 1200 employees to appreciate their loyalty," Dholakia told one paper. "Whatever my company is today it’s because of my employees.”
After several slow years, the company’s employee loyalty program—said to be the first such program in the world’s diamond industry—was established two years ago to reward employees who met target goals and to cultivate employee loyalty and retention. The first year, three employees received gifts of cars. Last Christmas, seventy-two employees received Chevrolet Beats. This year, 1200 of the company’s 6000 employees—from managers to diamond polishers to cleaning staff—received gifts of cars (491), houses/flats (207), and jewelry (570). The car this year is the Fiat Punto Evo, even if most employees do not know how to drive.
The company, which exports finished diamonds to more than fifty countries, recorded profits of 600 billion Rupees or $9.8 billion this year. All the gifts cost 500 million Rupees or about $8.2 million all together, about 400,000 Rupees or $6,500 per employee.
Casting some light on his personal rags to riches story, Dholakia, called "Kaka" or "uncle" by his employees, who dropped out of elementary school and arrived in Surat as an entry-level diamond worker, said, “Had I been highly educated, I may not have given away so much.”
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