How Sony Pictures Networks drives Employee Experience in WFH Model
197 million households. 1.3 billion people, the magnitude of the impact caused by the industry as influential as the M&E industry can never be underestimated. The creative and cultural industries are some of the fastest-growing economic sectors worldwide. India’s M&E space, which we all know is a major cultural and social trendsetter grew ~9% in 2019 to reach INR1.82 trillion and was originally slated to reach INR2.42 trillion (US$34 billion) by 2022 at a CAGR of 10%.
For the past half-decade, there were seismic shifts in the way entertainment was perceived. These were primarily driven by the rise of digital, diverse, on-demand (or OTT) content formats, and due to changing regulations, that limit the uptake of linear television. This pattern was aggravated by the pandemic, as people are now confined to their homes. We were able to sail through thus far with our content libraries; however, the re-opening of production locations has made it a pressing business need to collaborate efficiently and retain our creativity to bring premium, progressive, user-centric content to the table, both through our linear and OTT channels.
At SPN, people strategy is built keeping employee voice in mind. At the start of the lockdown, employees cited missing out on the office culture experience and the need for connection, especially with their leadership. The culture was being co-created in people’s homes and it was imperative to replicate our in-house culture, especially or the new hires of the last 6 months, who have joined us virtually from different walks of life.
Therefore, we bid to build a culture of agile dialogue and feedback on what matters to employees, thus fostering trust, pride, and care.
ACE: Act. Care. Engage, our three-pronged umbrella wellness brand was born. Under this banner, a slew of initiatives were launched to keep employees motivated and bring their best selves to work.
ACT: Policies and Programs Adjusted to the New Normal
From the get-go, new joiners undergo Compass Connects – digital touchpoints with learning paths, goal-settings and check-ins with numerous stakeholders, to integrate them into SPN’s way of life. Via Newbie Social, they share their experiences with SPN and their consumer insights on our content.
Employees also avail a plethora of learning opportunities through online and offline means. Content teams can avail content shorts on our LinkedIn Learning platform, custom learning paths, and attend masterclasses from industry experts. As I write this, 100,000+ videos have been viewed since the launch of our online learning platform earlier this year. Across the network, cross-functional Learning Unlocked sessions for our sales, distribution and enabling teams empower them to stay up to date about our business.
Sticking to our fundamental promise of being an employer of choice, we amply reward employees who have excelled in the new normal, through org-wide quarterly recognition. On-time bonus payments with doubled pay-outs for the last mile served to cheer employees in the new reality.
Using data-driven insights, we resolved concerns like stretched working hours and deteriorating work-life balance, among others, by introducing a mandatory leave policy. We gifted headsets to our 1000+ employees in India as a token of our gratitude for their efforts, which resulted in rave reviews and employee delight. Additionally, we raised our reimbursement benefits for all employees so they can avail required infrastructure for smooth working. Within a month from inception, the number of mandatory leaves availed spiked by over 30% and the campaign overall received positive sentiment internally.
CARE- Our Physical and Mental Wellness Initiatives
As our people grappled with work, mental and physical health concerns, we teamed up with reputed healthcare partners across the country. We are also providing for company-paid COVID-19 testing and insurance, along with amplifying up our efforts in mental wellness. Now, employees utilize Zero Hours, which are org-wide downtimes for focusing and productivity, and Mind-Aid, our resources for mental wellbeing. Currently, our utilisation of the EAP stands at 4.8%, compared to the India average of 1.8%. We also host people manager training and resilience workshops on a regular basis and sensitize employees on unconscious biases that perpetrate when employees work from home.
ENGAGE – Building a Two-Way Street of Continuous Dialogue and Development
Being an employer of choice involves being an ally of the people. Through a completely decentralized approach, we connect with employees until the last mile. Teams remain engaged with fun game nights, stand-up comedians, and activities that bring out the collaborative spirit in people. To embrace our spirit of being consumer first and remaining aware of industry trends, we host team huddles in our content and digital teams and power talks featuring industry experts. For everything else, our enterprise chatbot helps employees to log in and find answers for HR queries at their fingertips.
When the lockdown began, we took to our internal platforms, offering resources, tips, and tricks to maintain work-life balance. This evolved into a full-fledged Leadership Engagement Amplification Program, called LEAP, which serves as our two-way street of continuous dialogue and development between the leadership and our workforce. Through LEAP, among customized engagement initiatives, we intend to underscore, our culture of being a great place to work, imbibing traits of resilience and courage in everything we do. Some of the efforts driven as part of LEAP included –
- Golden Moments – To reflect on SPN’s achievements and celebrate throwback stories of the significant milestones/events in our journey
- Leadership Diaries –A blog by leaders to pen down their thoughts pertaining to their personal experiences aimed to showcase our leaders in a new, humane light
- Leadership RAP – Fun-filled rapid-fire interviews with our leaders
- Revolve: Reverse Mentoring – As the name suggests, a platform for the youngest to mentor the most senior in the organization. Through this, leaders are challenged and open their eyes to fresh perspectives, which is a must for businesses like ours that drive creative, diverse storytelling.
As we march ahead, we must be prepared for inclusion and agility to take over as the pillars of success in the future. It is every leader’s prerogative, to step up and take the mantle for providing ample pathways to build connectedness despite the distance so that people can unleash their full potential and tell Stories Beyond the Ordinary.