Savji Dholakia, a Surat-based billionaire diamond merchant, is in the news for gifting 400 flats and 1,260 cars to his employees as Diwali bonus. Dholakia spent about Rs 51 crore to reward about 1,716 best performers in the company. However, this is not the first time he has done so. Rewarding employees of his company, Hare Krishna Exports, like this is one of the many features of Dholakia’s story, that is nothing but made up of dreams.
Every year ahead of Diwali, Dholakia’s company rewards best performers like no other company in the country. Last year, the company had gifted 491 cars and 200 flats to the employees. Similarly, in 2014, the company gifted flats, cars and jewellery worth Rs 50 crore to 1200 employees. This included 491 cars, funds for 207 flats and jewellery.
Rewarding best performers with costly gifts is one of the radical “loyalty programme”, Dholakia practices at his company. And probably this is the reason, why he has reached to such heights after starting with almost nothing.
A 2014 article by rediff.com on Dholakia said that the idea behind giving rich rewards to employees was to “extend gratitude” to the workers who had helped the company grow. For Dholakia, the article said, the gesture was not philanthropy or manpower management but an outcome of “the most valuable lesson learnt – the art of humanity”.
Dholakia’s company is now worth Rs 6000 crore with its footprint in 71 countries. But he had a humble start.
Born in a farming family at Amreli in Saurashtra region of Gujarat, Dholakia reached Surat as a 13-year-old school dropout in the late 1970s to make his fortune in the diamond cutting and polishing business.
Dholakia joined his paternal uncle, who was already engaged in the diamond trade.
Dholakia dreamt of setting up his own diamond cutting and polishing unit. It materialised with Hari Krishna Exports which was set up in 1992. His three brothers were also partners in the company.
Dholakia was the second of four brothers. They also set up an office in Mumbai and started exporting diamond to the US and European countries. The company exported diamonds worth Rs 1 crore in its first year itself. Dholakia gives credit for this to his employees.
“We have always believed in motivating our employees and hence, planned a loyalty programme this time to identify over 1,200 of such employees who have contributed significantly to our growth,” Dholakia was quoted as saying in 2014. He has continued the practice.
A verified Facebook page on Dholakia says that Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. has grown from strength to strength till now. In 1994, the diamond exports increased multifold after an Israeli client’s referral to the international clients.
In 2001, the ambitious export company made yet another leap as it started to trade and manufacture diamonds of sizes ranging from 0.18 Carat to 0.96 Carat. In the fiscal year 2002-03 Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. recorded a 200% growth.
Speaking during the 2015 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Dholakia shared the secret of his success. He said, “Illiteracy is the primary reason for my success as it pushes me to learn every day. My team and I have grabbed every opportunity to learn. We apply all that we learn from events, programmes and daily life.”
Dholakia also said: “Many foreign delegates are in India at this summit because human resources are relatively cheaper but at our factory, we pay employees higher salaries and get higher returns as a byproduct.”