It’s not entirely unusual for bosses of successful companies to give out bonuses to employees on major holidays, but how many can claim that they are as generous as Savji Dholakia, CEO of Hari Krishna Exports, who recently gifted some 1,200 cars and 400 apartments to over 1,600 of his most loyal and hardworking staffers.
“If we keep our employees happy, God will keep us happy,” Dholakia says, and while he is certainly not the only boss to claim that he puts his staff first, the man actually puts his money where his mouth is. He started a long streak of generous bonuses 20 years ago, when he gave three of his top employees their own cars, and he has been upping his game every year since then. In 2014, he distributed Rs 500m (£6m, $7.5m) as performance incentives and last years he gave away 491 cars and 200 apartments, but this year seems to be the most special yet. To celebrate his company’s 25th anniversary, the man known as India’s most generous boss just gave away over 1,260 cars and 400 apartments to over 1,700 of his most valuable employees.
“We have selected 1,716 employees as the best performers this year. We are arranging houses for those who already have cars, while those who don’t have a four-wheeler will get one,” Dholakia said. “We have exports worth $700 million across more than 70 countries, but nothing is more valuable than our employees.”
The 53-year-old diamond merchant was born in a rural family in Saurashtra, dropped out of school in fourth grade an joined his uncle at a small diamond trading firm when he was just 13 years old. In 1982, he started his own business with his uncle’s support, and after his three brothers joined him, Dholokia managed to turn Hari Krishna Exports into a powerhouse with an annual turnover of $750 million. Living in a settlement for diamond polishers for years when he was young, Dholokia rode a moped and dreamed of one day owning his own house and a nice car. He claims those early days inspired him to take care of his employees.
“I realized that once you have taken care of basic needs of your family, which I feel is having your own house and car, you can focus and give 100% to work. I want my employees to give their 100%. And, that’s why I want them to be free of worries of meeting basic necessities,” he said in an interview.
Dholakia also takes his employees’ family members, especially their parents, on a 15-day sponsored vacation, twice a year. “It is during this time that he tries to find out how his employees treat their families. Besides, we also occasionally organize family get-togethers so that he can remain in touch with their families,” said Naresh Mayani, HR manager of Hari Krishna Exports.
Regarding what these generous gifts mean to his workers, Savji Dholakia said: “I don’t have words to describe the happiness we see in them, and the happiness we feel.”