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Integrating data analytics, combining diverse generations are challenges for HR department of media cos

HR has moved beyond back-end, soft skill to the role of partner and anticipator.

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MUMBAI: The digital transformation has not left any niche behind, even if it is the human resources department of the media and entertainment industry. HR has moved far beyond backend and soft skills; data analytics is now in a crucial position.

Indiantelevision.com founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari held a session “Responding to megatrends” in its first-ever Media HR Summit. MullenLowe Lintas group HR director Heather Saville Gupta, Reliance Entertainment’s Big Synergy CEO Rajiv Bakshi, Madison World executive director Lara Balsara Vajifdar and Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd CEO Abraham Thomas participated in the panel discussion.

MullenLowe Lintas’ Gupta said that the media industry is most dynamic. Other industries do not have to deal with such face-paced movement. Adding to this, Thomas said, “Two disruptions which have actually changed our lives as consumers and professionals are digital disruption and the huge societal change that has come upon us. We currently have almost five different generations working together.”

According to Thomas, the role of HR has become a watchdog looking for trends and insights in the industry. The HR department is like a composer, trying to scale the company goals. Thomas is of the view that HR role has suddenly become front-end and frontline. He opined that with digital, HR is the other important buzz word.

Bakshi added that while that bastion was held by the word ‘transformation’ for the last three years, now HR has arrived to play the role of not just a partner but also an anticipator. HR has to anticipate business trends for the survival of the company.

“HR is very important for the agency as our business is all about people. HR is not just the HR head’s responsibility; it is each and every senior management’s responsibility especially in an agency business which is full of young people coming with its own set of challenges,” Vajifdar said.

According to her, media is getting a good share of young employees who are ambitious, impatient, have a sense of purpose for work and don’t want to listen to someone just because they are senior.  She said that they want their leaders to command respect not just demand and expect.

Gupta’s company delves in producing 30-60 second TVCs where upscaling older employees is a challenge while millennials understand digital faster. Added to this are the budget constraints while hiring, training, recruiting and retaining employees due to smaller client budgets.

Bakshi added that one major challenge the industry is facing is creating a value proposition which will attract multi-generation people. This means creating an organisation where there are stalwarts, experienced people as well as energetic youngsters who have to collaborate for the same project. He also added that HR needs personalisation with the help of data analytics. This can be done via customised training programmes and incentives.

Experts also agreed that younger employees look for direct communication from authority to get a sense of what they are doing. Hence, taking out time for personalised informal communication without any agenda is important. Any key factor is HR management is to align personal goals with the company’s and get employees to look at the bigger picture with greater contribution to society.

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