As one of India’s largest news networks, with fourteen channels in six different languages and a suite of digital properties, Zee Media touches the lives of 325 million people.
Behind the stellar network are more than 3,000 employees moving all the levers, spread across several locations. Therefore, the company relies on HR technology to serve as a bridge and ensure a smooth work experience for all. The moving-forward approach of Zee Media is to focus on and adapt to the global modern technologies surrounding HR and the business environment.
Over the years, Zee Media leveraged different HR tools for its Talent Management process. But they always faced the same drawback: the lack of a user-friendly technology experience. This was partly because the company used multiple tools for different functions, and the user experience didn’t seem to be designed with the end-user in mind. Employees needed a unified platform accessible across devices—desktop or mobile—that was intuitive to understand and use.
“As a news media organisation, the company has a complex structure. There are different people and role requirements based on projects, so the HR technology needs to be agile,” said Amit Singh, Assistant Vice President - HR at Zee Media. “Employees are aligned to different clusters based on different needs, and a common technology platform was needed to support all operations.”
After evaluating multiple options, Zee Media chose Darwinbox.
“The best part about Darwinbox was that the user interface was very convenient to use and easy to navigate from an employee’s point of view,” Amit said. “That was the deciding factor.”
Another critical factor was how easily Darwinbox’s solutions could be tailored to Zee Media’s requirements. “Depending on our needs, we could customise the platform,” said Kanika , Senior Manager - HR.
Apart from that, the fact that many other media organisations were already using Darwinbox gave Zee Media’s HR team the confidence that the platform could cater to their specific needs.
Due to the pandemic, the Darwinbox team managed the implementation of the platform remotely, without a hitch. Once it got up and running, the mobile app from Darwinbox became a handy tool to connect employees to the organisation, just as the world was navigating the early days of the global crisis.
“The implementation was not challenging. To ensure adoption we took employees through roadshows,” Kanika said. Apart from email-based communications, the company also sent out WhatsApp messages and text messages to encourage adoption.
“Darwinbox also helped us with some videos to share with our employees that could help familiarise them with the platform,” Kamal said. The tutorials covered several themes, such as how to access and use the platform, how to navigate processes, among other things. The Zee Media HR team found this type of content essential to driving adoption.
The attendance-tracking and performance management systems were among the early modules introduced to employees, and quick adoption ensured quick participation in the annual appraisal process.
‘Anytime, anywhere’ interface
Going paperless had long been a goal for Zee Media. “Previously, there were many processes that required hardcopy documentation, but nowadays we are doing things entirely online. Many processes have been automated, which has reduced transactional work a lot,” Kanika said.
As a news organisation – with employees out in the field – the ease of use and the ‘anytime, anywhere’ interface of the Darwinbox mobile app ensured that their employees stayed connected and engaged even amid continuous outdoor shoots while empowering both employees and managers with access to all the HR-related tasks they typically undertook, and then some.
“The platform gives users a lot of flexibility for doing things on the go,” Amit said. “The mobile application has been key in ensuring flexibility – especially when it comes to approvals.”
Smooth implementation process
Even with a large part of the implementation process being run remotely, the HR team at Zee Media was very pleased with the provider’s thoroughness and accessibility.
“All service requests were routed to one person at Darwinbox, so we weren’t coordinating with several stakeholders, which is a common experience while setting up HR management system tools,” Amit said. “So, we didn’t have to explain the requirements to multiple people”.
The secret to successful digital transformation
Ultimately, the choice of Darwinbox was made by the employees. As the Zee Media team points out, a platform for the workforce must be used by the workforce, and their voice must be taken into account.
For Kanika, the journey was about understanding the employees’ needs: “Before launching anything, you need to have a pulse reading of your people’s needs and ensure that the technology you’re adopting gives the required comfort.”
This same idea is echoed by Amit: “Analyse requirements and identify your processes, and get an understanding of how you can reduce transactional aspects.” In other words, one must understand the needs of the company, employees, and the processes for any implementation to be a success.