What ailed Penguin Apparels? To begin with, in November 2015, absenteeism at a rate of 17% was crippling Penguin Apparels’ sewing lines on a daily basis. The numbers are resoundingly low for a factory which has been running 14 buses for ferrying its operators to and from the factory. “If in a line of 42, 8 operators are missing, expecting supervisors to work magic is a huge disservice to the final production numbers. The matters were grave as over 56 per cent of our daily minutes lost were directly or indirectly related to absenteeism and we saw that with The Idea Smith’s interventions,” avers Mr. Anbukani, Director, Penguin Apparels. Today, the absenteeism figures stand at a 12%. The target is to bring the numbers down by another 50% in the next three months.

The fruits were borne following a methodology with two-pronged emphasis on rewards & recognition and workforce discipline. Under the reward & recognition pillar, a worker incentive programme has been worked out which rewards the operators with a month’s salary for 100% attendance throughout the year. “To be present for consistently long periods is rewarding for the company. When the operators see themselves or their colleagues being felicitated, the heroism associated with being present at work is lauded and a two-way street is established,” feels Nimish Dave, Founder, The Idea Smith. The moment the scheme was rolled out, operators with 100% attendance in the past six months were rewarded, to instill belief in the scheme.

The endeavours for workforce discipline have been taken up with equal vigour where the HR from Penguin Apparels has interacted with the families of its operator workforce to impart the importance of being present at work. Moreover, the company will soon be celebrating “Be Present at Work Week” along the lines of the concept Safety Week, Health Week, etc.

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