The Inclusive Leader With the dramatic change in sentiment around work practices, Ashok Gupta, MD and CEO, Shalimar Paints focuses on business ethics and building an inclusive work culture

By Shrabona Ghosh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Company handout

The war for talent is drawing the attention of business leaders. Employers are now having to reevaluate their approach to ensure that they're providing the right monetary, beneficial and developmental rewards to attract talent, and keep existing employees motivated, retained and engaged. Sharing a similar sentiment, the leadership of Shalimar Paints are taking active steps in building an inclusive work culture. "People have the power to change productivity. Employees are not only tools to achieve goals but are a medium to enhance end results and amplify production. We employ people for a purpose. Leaders can change the conditions under which people work and make the organization a better workplace," said Ashok Kumar Gupta, Managing Director & CEO, Shalimar Paints, speaking at Entrepreneur 2023 Summit in New Delhi

"Retaining existing employees is more important than hiring new ones. Rather than spending more resources and time on hiring new talents it is important to spend energy on retaining and improving the present workforce," he added.

Over the last couple of years, there has been a significant change in the way we work. Pandemic introduced virtual and hybrid work culture to the world. If productivity and connectivity were the driving forces of the virtual world after the onset of the pandemic, it's a plethora of choices combining the physical and virtual that govern the hybrid world. Shalimar Paints has been embracing the hybrid work culture for long, "It gives employees the bandwidth to spend more time with families and increases productivity as people are in a better mindspace."

Explaining how to leverage the existing workforce, he said, "You have to first understand the reason why people are working with you. When you can understand the unspoken needs of your employees, you will hit the jackpot. Everybody talks about salary but as a leader when you start comprehending an employee's needs beyond just a paycheck it's where you will create a culture of retention."

"You have to make work fun for your employees, only then as an employer you will be in a position to retain them," he added.

Corrective mechanisms often work better than finding faults. "Give difficult tasks to employees so they feel a level of satisfaction after getting the work done. Around 60 per cent people leave jobs because of bosses and secondly, due to lack of growth. So, create the space for learning."

According to a pwc survey named People and Culture First held in February 2022, the key inhibitors to progress in an organization are cost pressures, competing investments or priorities, organizational culture, lack of senior leadership capability, lack of business capability to deliver, issues with systems and data, concerns about potential consequences of taking action. "The blockers for India organizations highlight the importance of capital allocation and prioritization, infrastructure, and work culture. Sustainable work cultures in the pre-COVID times were built around experiences designed specifically for workplaces. But now with market volatility and the gradual shift from virtual to hybrid ways of working, organizations may need to revisit their strategies and priorities to reallocate funding. At the same time, it would be important to consider building leadership capabilities – an impediment highlighted by global leaders – to drive change and fine-tune the tone at the top for sustained outcomes," the report added.

Shrabona Ghosh


A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 

Related Topics


Survival Kit for Solopreneurs: 5 AI Tools to Maximize Productivity

The entrepreneurial journey is not a straightforward one. Rather it requires the founder to don multiple hats for marketing, sales, ideation, content curation, and raising funds. Solopreneurs of today are being molded to lead the businesses of tomorrow. And they do require some helping hands in the form of artificial intelligence.

Starting a Business

5 Solopreneur Mindset Shifts and Why They're Critical to Your Success

As a solopreneur, don't reinvent the wheel or start from scratch. You are here because you have two things: an idea and passion.

Personal Finance

5 Entrepreneurial Mindset Principles That Empower Financial Literacy

Adopting the right mindset is key to financial literacy. Follow these five guiding principles to enhance your understanding of wealth creation and growth.

News and Trends

'PayPal India Seeing Traction From Smaller Cities'

Exporters who use PayPal come from about 1500-odd cities, towns and villages in India, according to Nath Parameshwaran, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs, PayPal India

Data & Recovery

Get Up to Date on CISSP Security and Risk Management

Protecting your business is crucial, but you don't need to hire a full-scale IT and cybersecurity team to do it.

Starting a Business

16 Accelerators Designed to Fast-Track Small Business Founder Success

If you want to start up, level up, or scale up, look into these accelerator programs being offered by the big businesses on our Champions of Small Business list.