We at ABFRL, present stories excerpted from our internal newsletter ‘In Touch’, where we celebrate stories of our people and their contributions.
Stories of people who have steadily grown with hard work and determination inspire us, as these leaders are who we aspire to become ourselves. At ABFRL, our people and Brands are at the heart of everything we do. We attract the best talent in the fashion retail industry, making our stores some of the best places to work and shop. It results from the hard work and determination of our frontline warriors and everyone involved in every operation. Mentors at ABFRL play a crucial role in helping us identify where we can excel and thrive along with our brands and the Company.
The Pragati program at Madura Fashion & Lifestyle is a fne example of how our 4,000+ frontline warriors can plan their future and become shining stars of ABFRL. Built on the 70-20-10 learning model, the program offers 2 man-days per month for capability building through various learning platforms, including classroom training, KPI-driven projects, shadowing aspired role incumbents, and a strong mentorship program anchored by regional managers. As our front liners move across various Pragati levels, their roles evolve, and they climb the growth ladder.
We spoke to Soumya Pootheril, Area Business Manager-Peter England; Abhishek Rama Gupta, Store Manager-Louis Philippe; Vekholu Tetseo, Assistant Store Manager-Simon Carter; to understand their career trajectories and how Pragati has propelled their growth:
Soumya Pootheril joined ABFRL as a senior Store Manager at Peter England MG Road, Trivandrum, as a contract employee. With sheer determination and on the back of her outstanding performance, she was in ABFRL roles within a year. After going through the Pragati program in 2020-21, she is now an ABM in Kochi for Peter England-RED. She walks us through her illustrious career at ABFRL.
“My journey with ABG began in 2016, and throughout the next fve years, both personally and professionally, my life has altered dramatically. Every day brought something new to learn and experience.
Being a part of Pragati 2.0 was the most signifcant turning point in my career. It was a learning tool that assisted me in identifying my own skills through a variety of interactive sessions and coaching from my top bosses. As a Super Coach, I had the opportunity to train ‘L1′ and ‘L2′ candidates, which helped me form the trainer within me and strengthened my wings. It also assisted me in molding my store team and assisting them in determining their career paths.
ABFRL is a vast learning platform, and if you are a keen learner looking to improve your skills, ABFRL can help you in various ways. Poornata and Seekh Madura were vital in my professional development, and the role of Senior Managers was important in my success. Throughout my career, I have never received a “NO” for any action from any of my senior managers; instead, they have always encouraged me to ask more questions and were ready to answer them right away. All of the knowledge I gained through Pragati was quite valuable because we needed to put everything we learned into practice at a given point in time.
“Pragati, I believe, is a signifcant recognition platform within the frm. It encourages us to be more ambitious with one another and to improve ourselves. This platform inspires us to achieve more and better in order to advance in our organization. As a result, I am glad to claim that Pragati shaped me into the ABM for Peter England Red.”
Abhishek Gupta joined ABFRL as a senior CCA and within a year was nominated to Pragati L2, on the back of his exemplary performance at the Louis Philippe Phoenix Market City Bangalore store. Post the training, he was promoted to the role of ASM at the same store and soon found himself back on the Pragati program for his L3 training.
His recent promotion elevated him to the position of Store Manager at the same store, making his 5 years with the ABFRL family a phase of learning, growing, and motivating to do more in the retail industry. Here is how he used his learnings from the Pragati program.
“Pragati is one of the most important means of empowering knowledge, skills, and self-confdence, which is necessary to participate fully in your development process. For me, it was both challenging and, at the same time, interesting to explore key areas such as time management and team handling as added responsibilities.
The most important value I honed during my training program was having passion, as a leadership value, for what I do. It makes my life better in more ways than one and strengthens my foundation of integrity, commitment, and delivering as promised. It has helped me overcome obstacles to push myself to the next level.
The skills I acquired during my time at Pragati have helped me plan resources better. I was able to help improve response in terms of business growth. I managed to have double-digit L2L growth, with an average of Rs. 1 Cr+ store revenue every month. With the support of 3 managers, our store delivered on all parameters within 1.5 years while managing compliance requirements for operational excellence fawlessly.
For anyone on a similar path, my advice would never stop learning, work on your goals, be organized, become an active team player, and, above all, value your network.”
Vekholu Tetseo, fondly known as Tutu, is a cheerful Assistant Store Manager. She started her ABFRL Journey at Simon Carter, Bangalore as a CCA, and after clearing Pragati L2, she is now the ASM at the same store, and her energy and enthusiasm to grow are infectious. Here is what motivates her to keep the momentum high.
“One frequent question I ask myself often is – am I fulflled in this role? Is my company or team bringing out the best in me? Are the projects I am working on engaging?
As my career progresses, the exposure I get to my colleagues, tools, and processes consciously or subconsciously alter my career trajectory. I turn to others in my role or with my aspirations and examine their career path. A professional coach like this helps me identify opportunities, fesh out my goals, and turn them into an action plan.
We can often feel compelled to say yes to any opportunity that presents itself. But it is essential to step back and take a moment to think about how it fts into your career goals. If it takes you off track from a goal you have set your sights on and have been working to achieve, it is okay to say no.
That said, no one is accountable for your career trajectory but yourself. While your HR team or professional coach plays a part in getting you there, in the end, it is up to you to make sure your actions and decisions refect the path you have envisioned or defned for yourself.
The frst step in preparing for a career transition is to assess your current situation and identify your reasons for wanting a change. The next step is to research career opportunities that align with your interests and suitability. The third step is to update your skills and fll any gaps that might prevent you from making a successful career transition or pivot. Depending on your current level of expertise and your target career, you might need to acquire new skills, improve existing skills, or demonstrate your skills in a different context. Those, along with the “3 Ps” of customer service – professionalism, patience, and a “people-frst” attitude, that I honed with Pragati have been a game-changer for me.”
Through structured learning programs such as Pragati, our frontline warriors get a steady compass in their careers, navigating diverse challenges and charting a course toward personal and professional growth. Armed with learning paves the way for continuous zeal, passion, and commitment towards excellence.