By launching multiple initiatives for its employees, ranging from employee wellness to skilling, the Times of India Group is leveraging technology to give the best to its workforce. It is providing its employees with opportunities and benefits, in addition to world-class employee experience.
As Amit Das, director-HR, CHRO, BCCL, Times of India Group, says, “While the fundamental and strategic pillars of our people agenda are similar to that of many other progressive organisations, the way we approach our agenda is what makes us unique. We have leveraged technology to the hilt, and used it to create a hyper-personalised experience for our employees.”
Currently, there are four such initiatives running within the organisation. The first is a programme to identify consistent high performers within the company, across all verticals, and then pick them out for enhanced training.
The second initiative involves putting together a comprehensive database of all organisations engaged in CSR activities, so that employees can leverage this access.
The third is a health service for the employees and their families. Along with these, a competency skilling programme is also offered to the editorial and sales departments in the print division. Let us take a look at the initiatives in detail:
The Top Gun Club
Under this initiative, high-potential employees are handpicked by their managers for a training programme, which fast tracks their career growth for key leadership roles within the organisation.
Employees undergo multilevel assessments to become eligible for the training. If employees are found to be delivering high performance, consistently, over a minimum period of two years, then they are considered eligible for further evaluation. Following a manager feedback and a psychometric assessment of the individual, the last round is a cross-functional evaluation with the CXOs. Here, they are assessed on their ability to take up key, future-ready roles and cross-functional assignments. It is a 360-degree evaluation of the employee.
Once selected, employees join the Top Gun Club, which is an eighteen-month long training programme. They are provided a personal mentor and embark on a customised and tech-enabled developmental journey. Employees majorly learn through a variety of cross-functional assignments along with online and classroom sessions. The Times of India has looked at a blended approach by using byte sized e-learning along with offline sessions.
“We have leveraged technology to the hilt, and used it to create a hyper-personalised experience for our employees”
The Bennett Touch
The sheer number of organisations involved in the social sector is overwhelmingly large. It was difficult earlier for employees to find the right organisations to volunteer with, or pick out activities that were nearer to their own localities.
With Bennett Touch, all organisations working within the ambit of TOI’s defined CSR areas have been placed under one umbrella, using an online platform. It monitors employees’ preferences and matches them with the organisations working in the sectors focussed on by TOI.
This has brought about a much-needed change for the employees. They have the option of choosing to volunteer for an activity that is closer to their homes or at a place of convenience of their choice. This enables them to participate in CSR activities, at their convenience. According to an HR professional within the organisation, the feedback for this initiative has been positive. Participation rates have gone up since employees felt empowered to contribute as they want to.
The Red Button Initiative
The Red Button Initiative is a medical concierge service provided to all employees at the press of a button, which of course, is red in colour. This app-based service is also extended to the immediate family members of the employees. Health and family are the biggest concerns of employees and can affect their mental peace and work productivity. That is precisely why TOI has brought this initiative on board.
Whether it is an ambulance, an on call doctor or even a car-towing service for accidents, it is available at the press of a button.
Another positive initiative taken up by the TOI Group is, increasing the core competencies of employees in the print division. With most content and information moving over to digital, the editorial and sales departments in particular have felt the need to upgrade and diversify their skill sets. The Group is upskilling its employees to stay relevant in the digital age. As Das so efficiently puts it, “We are proactively leveraging our advantage as a diverse media conglomerate with access to a wide range of journalistic skill sets and converging them to be future ready for the employees and as an organisation as well. The idea is to be platform agnostic and have skills across different platforms.”
The initiatives taken up by the organisation are not unique on their own, as Das himself mentions, but making optimum use of technology to create customised learning, experiences and care for the employees is what sets the Times Group apart from other organisations pursuing the same objectives.