We encourage learning opportunities and provide employees with technology to help them work smarter

Starting as National Biscuit and Confectionery Pvt. Ltd in 1964, Nebico Pvt. Ltd. is a pioneering company in Nepal in biscuits and confectionaries. The company has a diverse portfolio of manufacturing and represents various brands of biscuits and confectionaries that are regarded for quality in the domestic market.

Nebico also is among the few Nepali manufacturing companies that have the best people management practices in place. Rajesh Sharma Adhikari, Manager of Human Resources & Administration at Nebico, says effective people management has been the key to the company’s success over the years. In a conversation with the HRM, he talked about the company’s approach to managing, the importance of training and development, and current challenges, among other topics. Excerpts: 

Q. Nebico Pvt. Ltd. has a history of 59 years as a manufacturing company. How has people management played a role in keeping the company as a top biscuit producer in Nepal throughout the years?
A. We have always believed that our employees are our greatest asset and have always strived to create a supportive and collaborative workplace environment that encourages innovation and creativity. We also have ensured that our employees are well-compensated and provided with opportunities for growth and development. Our people management strategies have been designed to create a culture of excellence and continuous improvement, which has helped us maintain our position as a leader in the industry.

Q. How has people management changed in the company over these five and a half decades?
A.  Over the years, people management has undergone significant changes in Nebico. We have always been committed to continuous improvement and have adapted our people management strategies to meet the changing needs of our employees and the industry as a whole. Our focus has shifted from traditional management practices to more modern approaches that emphasize employee engagement, collaboration, and innovation.

We believe in caring for the nation, nature, and employees through continuous improvement and profit. We have focused on strengthening the culture of our organization and are committed to the respect and dignity of our people as part of our HR policy. Our corporate policy further enshrines our commitment to diversity and prohibits any form of discrimination. We believe in equal employment opportunity and our recruitment and selection practices are open, competitive, and merit-based. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to harassment and misconduct such as physical, verbal, or psychological harassment.

We are dedicated to abiding by labor laws within the country and have aligned our business practices with national and international best practices. At Nebico, we center our business activities on the concept of humanity.

There have been notable changes in people management in our industry over the past 59 years. The company has witnessed a significant shift towards automation and digitization. This has led to the adoption of new technologies such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, supply chain management tools and advanced analytics, which have streamlined processes and reduced the need for manual labor.

Over the past few decades, there has been a growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Nebico has been actively working towards creating a more inclusive work environment that values diversity in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and other factors. Similarly, we have started to recognize the importance of employee well-being with many offering flexible work arrangements to promote work-life balance.

We have developed a culture that seeks to develop respect and attention to human rights among our employees, customers, suppliers, and producers of the products we sell. We respect human rights in all our business processes and require that our management, leaders, and suppliers monitor progress daily in protecting human rights. We have encouraged our staff to report any violence or bullying or health risks to the management.

Q. What challenges have been there to manage the factory and corporate workforce in the company?
A. One of the biggest challenges we face is ensuring that our employees are motivated and engaged in their work. We have addressed this challenge by providing our employees with opportunities for growth and development, as well as creating a supportive work environment that encourages collaboration and innovation. We also provide our employees with competitive compensation packages that include benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. We are compliant with the Labor Act.

We believe that our employees are our single most important asset. We have more than 500 employees working with us in both our factory and corporate offices. Our age diversity ranges from 20-58 years, which helps our company because we need individuals with different levels of experience to reach our goals. At all levels, we have a good mix of female and male employees. Of the 500 individuals, 60 percent are male and 40 percent are female, leading to a male-female ratio in the workplace of 60-40 percent. At the most senior level, there are male and female managers with a range of ages across the spectrum.

We maintain ethnic diversity proportionately in all our departments. We accept no violence or setting people at risk and encourage our employees to organize in collective agreements and unions. We hold a seat in the Employers of Service Management to secure maximum influence on human rights and proper business standards.

We emphasize quality of life outside working hours and are committed to eliminating all forms of forced or compulsory labor and discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. We believe in freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

Q. What are the key focuses of Nebico in people management for employee productivity?
We believe that by investing in our employees, we can increase their productivity and create a more efficient workplace. To achieve this goal, we provide our employees with training and development opportunities that help them acquire new skills and knowledge. We also offer incentives for meeting performance targets, such as bonuses or promotions.

We have implemented policies and practices that have increased employee engagement and decreased turnover. Our strong brand identity has elevated productivity and has transformational power. We recognize top performers and have an effective onboarding process that ensures new employees are integrated into our healthy team environment.

Our HR team makes sure that workplace rules, policies, practices, and behavior are fair and do not disadvantage employees’ potential. All workers are valued and respected and have opportunities to develop their full potential. We have a ‘Grievance Procedure’ in place and offer mediation to staff at work as a first-stage resolution to any problems experienced in the workplace.

We often have a high volume of employees working across different functions including production, sales, brand & marketing, quality assurance, engineering, administration and finance. To ensure employee productivity, we focus on recruitment and selection where we opt for effective processes that are essential to ensure that our organization attracts and retains high-performing employees who can contribute to the company’s success. This includes using a range of sourcing channels, developing job descriptions, and conducting rigorous interviews and assessments.

Nebico invests in training programs that are relevant to the specific needs of our employees and the company’s goals. Yearly performance appraisals help us to identify areas of strength and improvement for each of our employees, allowing for focused development and goal setting. We have also established clear performance targets and provide ongoing feedback and coaching to help employees achieve their objectives.

Our other focus is on employee engagement as engaged employees are more likely to be productive and committed to their work. We encourage their engagement by providing a supportive work environment, offering opportunities for feedback and communication, and recognizing and rewarding employee contributions.
Similarly, the health and safety of employees is another area of focus. Being an FMCG company, we prioritize the health and safety of our employees, especially those working in production and maintenance. This includes implementing safety protocols, providing necessary equipment and training, and creating a culture of safety awareness and responsibility.

Q. What plans the company has to increase the productivity of employees?
A. We plan to increase the productivity of our staff by continuing to invest in their growth and development. In order to improve efficiency and streamline our processes, we also intend to integrate new technology and procedure. We are looking to the use of automation technology, for instance, to assist in reducing waste and enhancing quality control.

At Nebico, we believe that productivity is key to our success. We encourage learning opportunities and provide employees with technology to help them work smarter, not harder. We emphasize company culture and strengthen communication protocols to ensure that everyone is on the same page. We identify and align goals with performance and encourage collaboration to ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.
We diversify work areas to keep things fresh and interesting and facilitate training and development to help our employees grow both personally and professionally.

Q. How Nebico ensures that its employees are happy and satisfied?
A. We believe that happy employees are productive. To ensure that our employees are happy and satisfied, we provide them with a supportive work environment that encourages collaboration and innovation. We also provide our employees with competitive compensation packages that include benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans, and other perks that can improve the quality of their life.

Recognizing and appreciating employees’ contributions can boost their morale and motivation. We offer incentives, awards and public recognition for outstanding work and achievements. We have organized recognition awards for women employees for their outstanding contributions to the company. We offer training programs, mentoring, and opportunities for advancement within the company for career development. We consistently thriving to create a positive workplace culture by promoting diversity and inclusion, providing a safe and healthy work environment, and encouraging open communication and collaboration among employees.
In addition, we try to align the company’s goals such as profit and quality with the goals of the employees such as safe and meaningful work. We understand that this can be achieved only through mutual trust.

Q. The industrial sector is facing multiple challenges stemming from rising inflation, decreasing market demand and disruption in the international supply chain. How challenging is it for a company like Nebico in terms of managing people in the current situation?
A. Undoubtedly, it is extremely challenging for industries to maintain their operations amidst the current economic climate. Managing people in such circumstances poses a significant difficulty. We are encouraging our employees to put in more effort than ever to overcome the situation and ensure the financial stability of the company. Some companies have resorted to downsizing, but we are committed to retaining our staff in the hope of a brighter future.
We have been able to manage our people well in this current situation by keeping them motivated and engaged with various training programs and incentives that help them stay focused on their work while also ensuring that they have a good work-life balance. Because of our prudent management and effective human resources planning here we somehow handle this situation.

Q. How much priority does the company give in training and development of employees? 
A. Training and development of employees is a top priority for Nebico as it helps increase staff knowledge and productivity which in turn increases staff productivity. We conduct various team building exercises which are very important for team spirit and we equally focus on human resource development in the means of succession planning, skilling, reskilling and upskilling. This is also a growth strategy for innovation and productivity of employees.

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