Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., popularly known as the Times of India Group, a world renowned media house that has been creating headlines for the past 18 decades must surely be built on a platform of a deep rooted culture embodied in its DNA. Having said that, our Editor-in-Chief, Ekta Capoor, strikes a conversation with Director HR, Amit Das-Times of India Group to understand the challenges of HR with a key focus on family owned businesses, and the critical challenges of talent retention in an industry that can survive anything except miss the headline!
Q. Bennett Coleman and Company Limited, commonly known as The Times Group, is India’s largest media conglomerate. Being a company that majorly thrives on talent, how would you rank the role of employees in your organization?
A. We are in a people driven business where content creation is the critical value creator. Hence, the crux of our business is driven by the intellectual capital that we acquire, develop, engage and retain.
In our business, where time is of essence, our employees have the powerful energy to bring tremendous value to the organization and create a “differentiating factor in terms of quality of output for the readers”. Hence, if you create the right ecosystem for the employees and empower them, you will see them create breakthrough solutions, collaborate and innovate far beyond what you could have imagined thereby creating tremendous value for the organization.
Q. From an HR perspective and an employee perspective, how is a family-owned business different from a corporate?
A. Having worked in both the environments, there are advantages of working in a family owned business especially in today’s day and age, with increased complexity of operations in the business environment and the industry becoming increasingly competitive.
The family-owned businesses often have a more flexible structure, limitless horizon, frontline empowerment and aversion to bureaucracy. As a result, family owned organizations encourage entrepreneurial drive and spirit without being bound by rigid processes. Fast, agile and adaptable become an individual’s driving factors, while speed in decision making and learning agility become a key motivator. Additionally, an individual is more likely to dabble in multiple roles and lend a helping hand wherever needed.
These are pure play opportunities derived from “Founders Mentality”, an insurgent mission, an owner mindset and obsession with the front line, more importantly, celebrating failure.
Q. For an organization that has been in existence for more than 60 years, how do you foresee the changing role of HR with the employee benefit perspective in mind?
A. Gone are the days, when salaries and entitlements were the foundation of employee benefit. Today, as a 180 year young start up, we primarily focus towards attracting, enriching and engaging the right talent. More importantly, utilize strategic plans to ensure that the right people are hired and trained for the right job at the right time in a highly performance and innovation driven culture. Our employee benefit approach is strategic and positioned as a “total rewards” approach, of which the employee becomes a part, as soon as he/she is inducted into the Bennett family. The approach goes above and beyond the compensation and benefits; maximizes work life effectiveness, recognition, enhanced performance and more importantly, focuses on learning and career opportunities.
Q. Throw some light on Employee Engagement in the media industry.
A. Engagement drives behavior and it’s a proven fact, the more empowered employees feel, the more engaged they tend to be, not just in their jobs, but executing and ensuring quality output.
In fact, each employee today wants to be perceived as someone who drives value for business, can innovate and learn on the job, while being accountable. These are characteristics that are industry agnostic and media is no exception.
Having said that, for the media industry, driving future capability and making them equipped and relevant, by harnessing multi-media competencies, integrating print and digital journalism in order to create disproportionate value for the organization, is the key. This can be achieved by creating an environment that encourages ownership, accountability, innovation, speed and empowerment.
Q. Basis the above, what is the role of Employee engagement in your organization and how does it affect productivity and retention?
A. As I mentioned earlier, employee engagement in the Media industry is no different. We need to ensure that each of our employees have alignment with the organisation agenda, role clarity, autonomy in their deliverables & can link their effort on the impact of business outcome.
Therefore, retention of key talent & enhanced productivity become critical for success. As a strategic business priority, we not only focus on enriching and engaging talent through multiple interventions, but keep simplifying our processes, build relevant and customised learning interventions to empower our employees, and re-invent industry norms & landscape through constant innovation.
This results in a vibrant, productive and innovative environment, where individuals and teams are willing to push the boundaries, walk that extra mile to create disproportionate value.
Q. What according to you is the key to an amazing workplace?
A. I strongly believe that an organization that is a bedrock of innovation, where collaboration is nurtured, performance is the driving force, talent is valued and engaged, work is intrinsically rewarding and more importantly individuals are empowered, are the key elements to build an amazing workplace.
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