The film business is a highly people-centred work. In today’s workplace, where various industries are rushing to enhance their technologies, the film business manages its workforce by adopting as much technology as is necessary, but still by retaining the people-centric focus of its work. This is because of the extremely creative nature of this industry. Rajesh Mishra, CEO of UFO Moviez, India talked to People Matters about people management in the film industry.
On managing the organizational talent across diverse geographies of India and abroad
UFO Moviez has a centralized HR system deployed at Mumbai headquarter. Within India, UFO Moviez has a diverse set up in different cities, because India happens to be a very diverse country. Hence, UFO Moviez has to take into account the local sensitivities of the talent within the company.
However, UFO Moviez has a common underlying theme and a basic business policy across centers that bind together the diverse sensitivities in different regions of India.
On the degree of freedom given to HR in different centers
UFO Moviez has regional managers to look after its centers in different regions. These regional managers enjoy a large degree of autonomy. They take their own decisions, judging the ground realities themselves.
On the HR Tech used by UFO Moviez
The company uses MIS (Management Information System) to manage its employees. A Management Information System (MIS) is a computerized information-processing system designed to support the activities of the company or organizational management. MIS processes, stores, retrieves and analyzes Data collected for the administrative purposes. It is broadly used in major companies for preparing Data base of customers and other information relating to them.
UFO Moviez has 22 offices across India and it operates more than 5000 screens across the country. We have thousands of employees to manage these 5000 screens. Internet is the backbone of the UFO Moviez workplace. For transaction purpose, HR management in all offices log into the online transaction system to help the employees perform sales and marketing functions without getting into technological problems. The organization boasts of having the up to date technology in all of its centers.
Cinema industry is a highly people-centric industry. While management of employees and transactions can be technologized, the core function of the cinema business in particular, viz., marketing, distributing and showcasing of films in the digital and in the physical platforms, can never do away with the manual workforce.
Under an exclusive arrangement with Impact Media Exchange Limited, we are marketing an electronic ticketing platform known as the Integrated Media Pact, or “IMPACT,” to improve transparency, efficiency and accountability in movie screening industry. The transactions on IMPACT are captured on a real-time basis as it is connected via satellite to a centralized Network Operation Centre. IMPACT mediates the transactions between exhibitors on the one hand and distributors on the other, ensuring that ticketing transactions and movie screenings are transparent. IMPACT has been designed to ultimately act as a settlement exchange for various stakeholders of the movie screening industry.
This has, however, not affected the human workforce negatively because we still have people to scrutinize the transaction Data received at IMPACT and apart from the online transactions, all other operations are being carried out by people themselves. In terms of human force needed to manage 5000 screens across, this would have required a large number of people to engage in ticketing transactions. IMPACT has saved the expenditures on this.
We have instituted specific systems to suit our work. UFO Moviez is using pay-per-show model. Customers only pay for the shows they watch. In order to make it successful, all employees in our organization have to work as a team.
On whether automation can replace the manual staff in the cinema industry in specific and entertainment industry in general
Cinema industry is a highly people-centric industry. While management of employees and transactions can be technologized, the core function of the cinema business in particular, viz., marketing, distributing and showcasing of films in the digital and in the physical platforms, can never do away with the manual workforce. Automation is good for heavy industries and other industries, but entertainment industry needs the manual workforce by all means.
Motivational schemes to retain talent
UFO Moviez has a low attrition rate. There are employees who have been with the organization for more than 11 years. At the top level of HR leadership, the average of talent retention is about 7 years. Cinema industry, in general, has a low attrition rate, as industry leaders build employee loyalties and tend to retain them successfully. Their work is done more efficiently if the same employees manage the film marketing, distribution and showcasing.
This industry operates a lot on the trust factor. Hence, it’s important for the film marketing industry to retain their talent. They hire such employees who have a lot of passion for this work. Like-minded people are hired in this industry and retain for a long time. They have a lot of freedom in terms of the way they work.
In a nutshell, following practices are followed –
• Flexible hours
• Meeting target as the goal, not completing work hours
• In round the clock operations, the staff gets holidays on regular festival dates
• 5 workday week, with an option to choose one’s own off days in a week
• Free lunch on work days
• This is a creative industry. Hence, passion rules everything else.
On the importance of customer as well as of the employees
Offering a product for the sake of selling a product doesn’t work. The manner in which the employees handle their clients and their quality of service is the most important aspect in a business. The employees have to remember that the customer is always right. Profitability takes a back seat in doing a business with passion and delivering a great service to the clients. There should be a commitment to the market.
At the same time, the wellbeing of the employees should be taken care of. Any business can run only if the employees are satisfied with the treatment they get at the workplace. As an organization in the entertainment industry, we wouldn’t sacrifice the interests of either the customer or the employees. Our scheme to generate employee satisfaction as delineated above is an example of our caring for our employees’ well-being.
Engagement of talent in different ventures to showcase and market films
UFO Moviez engages in different kinds of ventures to market and showcase films across India. Its talent is spread across the following ventures –
On the growing formalization of the entertainment industry’s HR system
There has always existed formalization in this industry among the big companies. Now, more and more companies in this industry want to incorporate themselves. This business has grown. Our profile has continuously grown. The erstwhile non-listed companies are also following the HR Management system. Although this industry has a large number of people in the informal mode, more and more of them are moving towards the formal system. This is obviously increasing the scope of the HR Management system in the entertainment industry.