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Learning and Growth


At ABRL, we believe it's important for employees to constantly challenge themselves and grow as professionals. It is our passion to unlock the potential that lies within each employee and help them enjoy a fulfilling career with us.

Empowering our people and building upon their strengths is a critical part of the Talent Management process at ABRL. Priority is given to internal growth and lateral hires at higher levels are far and few and largely strategic in nature. Our orientation and learning programmes help our staff to imbibe ABRL’s Quality First culture, develop right knowledge, skills and behaviour that is required to effectively perform their roles and develop into higher roles.

Centers of Excellence for Learning have been created to build Retail knowledge and skills. The Aditya Birla Centre for Retail Excellence has been designing and imparting skills for outstanding customer service and store management. We leverage learning from Gyanodaya, Aditya Birla Group’s Leadership Development Centre, to build leadership skills and business management.

Programmes such as Saamarthya, SPARK, Aarambh, Aarohan Functional Excellence and Retail Next provide platforms for people to learn and grow higher in the organisation.

Individual development is in focus with performance discussion and feedback, career conversation, and coaching. These steps provide valuable inputs to individuals for development and growth.

Emphasis is put on the manager’s role in developing their teams. Managers are assessed on their ability to hire people with the right skills sets, nurture them and help them grow.

Aditya Birla Centre for Retail Excellence
Aditya Birla Centre for Retail Excellence

The Aditya Birla Centre for Retail Excellence (ABCRE) is an unprecedented initiative that addresses the unique challenges faced by the retail industry; that of the requirement for quality talent. It provides a differentiated approach to retaining its market leadership by ensuring ABRL’S staff receives top-notch training.

While it solves a business challenge in an innovative way, it also empowers ABRL’s retail staff and helps unlock their full potential. The Aditya Birla Centre for Retail Excellence has already trained 5,500 ABRL employees until Q1 of FY15 and is spread across nine centres in Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Pune and Cochin.

There is also a great degree of customisation carried out in the programs taught, ensuring it is always relevant to the needs of various stakeholders of ABRL. The content for all programs have been co-created along with the various business heads of ABRL and through these programs, employees imbibe the brand philosophy and values while providing the business with a competitive advantage that sets it apart from competitors.

The programs consist of two days of classroom learning followed by two days store-based training that sees participants apply the theoretical knowledge they have gained in real-world situations. ABCRE as a concept is unique in the Indian Retail industry since no other retailer in India has an in-house university that curates, creates and delivers learning programs. The impact of this has been immediately evident, with Customer Service Associate’s (CSA) much keener to greet and interact with customers, delivering value and a richer shopping experience.

Mr. Yatish Chandrasekhar, Head of Training Delivery at ABCRE, feels that Indian retailers have made “little or no investment in equipping their staff. At ABCRE, we are extremely privileged and satisfied that we are in a position to equip our brand ambassadors in our stores with skills that will not only help offer a great customer experience, but also go a long way in boosting their self-esteem and productivity”

Sparking a change

At Aditya Birla Retail Ltd, we believe in sparking change that is meaningful and impactful. Our philosophy is one of developing our own people and enabling them to grow with us through a well-defined process of internal recruitment.

With this vision clearly defined, we have a well-established program for career acceleration called SPARK that helps our front-end staff grow with us and build a successful retail career. Through SPARK we channelize the talent of every store employee towards making every customer's store experience more memorable.

Specially designed keeping in mind the needs of varied store staff, such as CSA’s (Customer Sales and Support Associates), CSS’s (Customer Sales and Support Supervisor’s) and CSM’s (Customer Sales and Support Manager), SPARK sees them gain knowledge through on-the-job, classroom learning, projects, mentors and stringent assessments so that their career growth is on the fast track to the position of Division Head. With SPARK, a sense of importance is brought to an employee’s role and behavioral skills are developed that help them succeed in their career at ABRL.

ABRL believes very strongly in organic promotions and the SPARK program is the natural extension of that, focused on giving every front-end employee the chance to build a career with ABRL that is long, fruitful and rewarding.

Aarohan, Aarambh and Functional Excellence Programs
Aarambh, Aarohan, Retail Next and Retail Acsent

Creating a learning and development road map that enables engaged, committed and talented employees to transform their capabilities and take up larger roles is a challenge all retailers face. ABRL has picked up the gauntlet and responded to this challenge with career advancement programs for our staff named Aarohan (for Middle – Senior management staff) and Aarambh (Junior – Middle Management staff) and Functional Excellence program (Designed specifically keeping key functions in mind)

All these programs are platforms for discussion and introspection with the leadership team at ABRL, serving to prepare everyone for greater challenges in the areas of Supply Chain Management, Buying & Merchandising, Operations, Marketing, Human Resources, Information Technology, Fresh and more.

Each of these programs involves an intense 12 month development curriculum that is delivered through class room interventions, working on live projects, store stints, Senior leadership interactions and e–Learning programs. These interventions cover both Functional as well as the Behavioral aspects.

Aarohan, Aarambh and Functional Excellence programs have been warmly welcomed by ABRL employees that are fully committed to boosting their careers through the innumerable growth opportunities afforded to them at ABRL.

Retail Next and Retail Ascent
Retail Next and Retail Ascent

Retail professionals in India have always relied on self-learning, but with a booming retail market, it has become imperative to have retail employees with a holistic understanding of the retail industry. That’s why we have developed retail learning programs, namely Retail Next and Retail Ascent, to groom our employees and unlock their full potential. The programmes strive to give the best intellectual inputs through varied teaching methodologies and have been instrumental in creating value and a consumer-centric retail culture.

Retail Next has been designed to groom Division Heads and help them make the transition to the level of Store Manager. This is done via an intensive 1 year program that includes e-learning, classroom sessions, assessment centers, structured selection criteria, projects, competency/ skill enhancement through well-defined measurable career transition plan ending with a live 3 months of Store Manager stint. Also an external training is conducted at the renowned Indian School of Business (ISB) at Hyderabad.

Retail Ascent is the next stage of learning for retail employees that has been designed to groom Store Managers into Area Operations Manager. This intensive 1 year program disseminates learning via e-learning and external training sessions that are conducted at the renowned Indian School of Business (ISB) at Hyderabad.

Both of these comprehensive learning programs have been developed to help ABRL’s retail professionals deliver an exceptional customer experience at all times.

Retail Leadership Programme
Retail Leadership Programme

We invest in our people, with clearly defined development pathways for your career. It’s why we’ve instituted a Retail Leadership Program (RLP) that focuses on accelerating your retail career through classroom and on-the-job learning.

The RLP has been crafted specifically keeping in mind the needs of entry level staff across business functions. The RLP aims to coach, develop and give our young talent all the best practices and tools needed to take on greater responsibilities. This fast-track program handpicks young talent from across management colleges and grooms them over the course of a year for retail leadership roles within ABRL.


Gyanodaya, also known as The Aditya Birla Institute of Management Learning, caters to the learning needs of employees across the Group companies. The Gyanodaya Learning Events are to build leadership, critical functional capabilities and to cater to specific needs of the Group in collaboration with World Class Faculty and academic institutions.

Coca-Cola ISB Retail Program
Coca-Cola ISB Retail Program

We don’t just talk about the faith we have in our people, we also put our money where our mouth is. We give our most outstanding employees the opportunity to move on to bigger things by financing a world-class education for them at ISB Hyderabad.

Our willingness to invest in our people’s future encourages them to stay on and grow with the company. Moreover, the knowledge gained from the Coca-Cola ISB Retail Programme helps our high performing employees put in better performances in senior roles. This is also a signal of the staunch commitment we have to encourage the growth of individual employees.

Till date, five employees have come back from the programme richer for the experience and eager to apply their skills in the cauldron of the real world.