#26 Viacom18: Pride In Saying 'I Belong'
The typical boss-subordinate relationship is nonexistent. Everyone is allowed to speak their mind without a fear of seniority or hierarchy
the nucleus of our work is ideas and hence every form of running Viacom18 business has the foundation of an innovative idea
Picture this: Your first day at a new job, you are getting ready, the doorbell rings, you open the door half heartedly and what do you see?! A beautiful bouquet of flowers with your name on it! Who is it from?! Your new employer welcoming you to the family!
This is just one example of how Viacom18 takes care of its employees. This company truly believes in its philosophy of ‘work can be fun’. Unnecessary regimentation of everything is avoided without sacrificing anything in its business sphere. And perhaps it is this philosophy that makes Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd. rank #26 in the Great Place to Work® Institute’s Study and #1 in the Industry Category of the Media & Entertainment sector.
As Head HR of India’s fastest growing media and entertainment network Viacom18, Abhinav Chopra, Vice President Human Resources, Viacom18, India, elaborates, “Innovation backed by freedom at work is the key to our functioning as a successful business, employees realize there is freedom of experimenting with doing things differently and hence come to work as free agents who are not bound by the fear of failure.” There seems to be a prevailing culture particular to Viacom18 which differs from others. The typical boss-subordinate relationship is nonexistent. Everyone is allowed to speak their mind without a fear of seniority or hierarchy. It’s a place where the air around you just encourages you to be yourself. “Viacom18 can be described as an organization that breeds a spirit of entrepreneurship and believes in rewriting the rules of the game. It’s not always easy to offer complete freedom, open culture, empowerment to people and yet continue to operate as a professional set-up with a high success rate. We’re happy to say we’ve cracked that code,” says Chopra. With a plethora of genres to offer and a network that is on the fast track to becoming a multimedia entertainment powerhouse, Viacom18 has become the most aspirational place to work in the media and entertainment industry. People Matters spoke to Abhinav Chopra, to get an insight on the company’s functioning.
What does being a great workplace mean to you?
Abhinav Chopra: Being a great workplace to Viacom18 means always knowing the pulse of your people and optimizing their strengths to maximize the success for them as professionals as well as for the organization as a whole. It means aligning the business thought with your employees’ aspirations which is a key business priority for the leadership team at Viacom18.
Being a great workplace also means creating passion and excitement in the work to the extent that each individual looks at his job as more than just a job and can see his contribution adding up to the larger picture. It means having pride in saying “I belong to Viacom18.” Finally, it’s about creating an environment that supports all this by being flexible, entrepreneurial, and by treating individuals as individuals and not as ‘assets’. And of course, very importantly, it means never feel shy to go beyond the book.
From sending out employees to the streets with handy cams to conducting interviews in youth hangout places, your ideas seem radical yet plausible; do you think your success can be attributed to these revolutionary concepts?
Abhinav Chopra: Our revolutionary ideas according to us are not revolutionary at all; they are in fact about making the right choices in line with the business we are in. ‘Being ingenious’ is deeply entrenched in the DNA of every employee who works at Viacom18. And the people practises act as a partner to this business environment. So be it the introduction of our benefit bouquet called ‘Greed Guide’, which offers benefits like adoption allowance, passion allowance, dating allowance, day care allowance or be it the Cross Functional Offsites that bring all employees of a business unit together to chalk out the direction and objectives of the business for that year, the nucleus of our work is ideas and hence every form of running Viacom18 business has the foundation of an innovative idea.
What are the challenges you face in attracting talent in India?
Abhinav Chopra: We are a part of the fastest growing industry in India today. With the growth rate of the industry rising, the challenge is that the talent pool is becoming small and unique. And more so with various media platforms converging by way of innovations like mobile TV, more players just keep adding up to attract the same pool. Additionally, this talent pool we have at our hands is a restless lot of youth delivering wonders for the organization day on day and hence the challenge becomes of being an organisation that can match their expectation in line with what they deliver. Money, for them is not a motivator beyond a point. This young talent is fostered by another key motivator – Growth and constant challenge – the desire to do new, everyday. And in turn our challenge is to ensure that we offer to our employees a career path that defies age-old parameters like time spent in a role, years of experience, etc. This has become one of the key factors for Viacom18 to attract the best talent in the industry.