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IndustrySpeak: Faced with growing attrition, radio players hold on to their flock

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IndustrySpeak: Faced with growing attrition, radio players hold on to their flock

With attrition assuming alarming proportions, retaining skilled manpower has become a major concern for India Inc., more so for the media industry. Private FM players are also facing this problem, though the trend has been more of lower and mid-level movements. exchange4media finds out how the second fastest growing industry in India is tackling this problem.

Radio City currently has around 400 employees; Big FM has a total of 1,100 employees of which around 120 are radio jockeys; Radio Mango has around 120 employees; Radio Choklate has around 45 employees in their Bhubaneswar and Rourkela stations; while Red FM has around 60 employees in their Mumbai office alone.

The challenge:

According to Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City, “The radio industry is similar to other fast growing industries. The media domain has been facing a dearth of talented people. The good news is that the last two years have seen the entry of some bright people, who, with their life experiences and with the added radio exposure of the last two years, are all set to catapult the FM industry into a professional league that has been missing so far.”

Abraham Thomas, COO, Red FM, said, “Employee retention is definitely a challenge in this industry too. Just like in other sectors, for instance, the telecom sector, which is seeing a churn of employees with the advent of new players coming into the market, there is a movement of employees from one place to another in the radio industry too, which is seeing the biggest burst in media today. With more new stations coming up and present stations expanding into newer territories, employee retention is one area of concern for all radio networks. The problem exists at all levels as there is much demand for radio personnel.”

John Lancelot Cutinha, Vice President - Human Resource, Big FM, observed, “Like in any other industry, employee retention is a challenge in the radio industry too, since the industry is growing rapidly and is also doing well. Therefore, there is a huge demand for talent, widening the demand-supply gap, and as the industry grows, so do the opportunities, which is why people move from one place to another.”

Agreeing that employee retention was a challenge in the radio industry as well, Monica Nayyar Patnaik, Director, Eastern Media Ltd (Radio Choklate), said, “Every employee needs his or her growth in their respective profession and, therefore, every time everyone is on the hunt for bigger and better opportunities. Though most of the time it is seen in the top levels, the mid-level also cannot be ignored, because they are the people who are largely responsible for running the show.”

Ravi Nair, Director – Programming, Radio Mango, too, felt that employee retention was a problem since there was a very limited supply of trained and experienced candidates and poaching was very much on. “More than the top levels, I would think that the mid-levels are the problem,” he added.

Measures Taken

“At Radio City, we invest in our people by investing in very rigorous training and developmental programmes for them. Our training man hours are possibly the highest in the industry today. These trainings vary from conducting classroom and outdoor training for our employees, to conducting Radio Workshops with renowned global experts from the radio industry to ensure that we are attuned with the best practices in radio worldwide. The HR practice at Radio City ensures that the senior management is always accessible to employees through periodic Employee Engagement Surveys and regular Town Hall meetings,” Purohit said.

She added, “The HR Cell also actively works towards enhancing the employees’ quality of life at work. This is done through a planned monthly calendar of ‘Whatte Fun at workplace’ activities, which ensure that each and every employee experiences the brand’s ‘Whatte Fun’ philosophy. We also present awards and recognitions to keep our employees motivated.”

Thomas said, “What keeps our employees here is the work atmosphere, which encourages initiative, innovation and creativity. Employees can find an exciting and fun place to work at, and at the same time can be assured of a great career path driven by performance.”

He further said, “Besides this, we also invest a lot on employee training and education. From time to time, we have specialists from India and abroad conduct workshops and deliver talks, who bring with them their vast repertoire of experience in leading radio networks.”

Cutinha pointed out, “It is a myth that money can retain people. Of course, if you pay less people could move out, but what they want is a healthy environment with learning opportunity, good work culture, a career, and not merely a job. We offer RJ training. We also invite international trainers and offer lots of opportunities through e-learning. We also constantly update the incentives with an aim to offer a great work culture.”

Nair noted, “Our retention measures include an ongoing training programme, including training by foreign consultants, reward systems, job enrichment by increasing responsibilities, team building activities.”

According Patnaik, “Employee retention is a large issue, very varied in nature, each company has different problems based on their work culture, and the background of the company. The management takes care of an individual’s growth in every aspect so that his/her retention is not forceful, but automatically is natural with loyalty. This kind of work environment is possible as we are a small regional channel and will definitely be not found in large stations in metros.”

What it means:

Thomas pointed out, “Employee movement is bound to happen in industries that are experiencing expansion. The radio industry is expanding with new players entering the fray, along with radio stations cropping up in every nook and corner of the country. Obviously, the demand for experienced radio professionals is high and so is their movement.”

Nair noted, “Most certainly, with increasing opportunities, employees are more and more willing to make career moves. This will definitely increase over the coming years.”

Patnaik said, “As the radio industry is growing and many stations are coming up, it is necessary to retain our talents and give opportunities to new entrants as frequent changes would be detrimental for the interest of our company.”


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