A post graduate in Human Resource Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Ms. Kantharia is associated with Radio City 91.1 FM for the past 5 years. She carries with her rich experience of 20 years in the media industry.
Prior to joining Radio City she has worked with brands like Planet M and Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. in the Human Resource Department. She was Vertical Head HR for the publishing Brands like : The Times of India, The Economic Times, Mumbai Mirror, Maharashtra Times, Navbharat Times, Optimal Media Solutions (Medianet), Private Treaties and Response – Art and Edit. Her job spheres have covered setting up Systems, Policy guidelines for Manpower Planning, Recruitment, Induction, Training and Organization Development interventions, Counseling & Motivating.
She has been a key member at Radio City and being the Dean of Radio City School of Broadcasting, has spearheaded the project with great zeal. Sagorika Kantharia has been a founder member of Forum for Emotional Intelligence Learning (FEIL) and Women@Work. She has been guest faculty in various management institutes (Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Management, Symbiosis Institute of Management studies, ITM etc.) and also is a member of National HRD Network. She was one of the speaker at Siliconindia”Strategic HR Summit” held on April 26, 2012 on “Holistic Performance Management System”.
At Radio City she has been instrumental in developing all the aspects of HR. Her achievements at Radio City are galore. She has streamlined the HR Processes, established Employer Branding at the campus, launched Radio City School of Broadcasting, established cross functional teams for increasing Learning and Development. Radio City has been awarded India’s Best Companies to work for 2011 in the Media and Entertainment Industry by Great Places to Work Survey 2010-11. Amity Business International Business School & Amity Global Business School has honoured Radio City with “Amity Media Excellence Award for most Premium Indian Music Frequency” in The 6th Global HR Summit 2009. Very recently Radio City is also recipient of “HR Excellence Award” @ 8th Annual HR Summit 2011 by Amity Global Business School. Great places to Work institute has awarded Radio city with India’s top 10 Best companies for Rewards & Recognition in their 2012 survey. Apart from this Radio City has been awarded with Top 12 Best Companies to work for in less than 1000 employees category and also features in Top 50 best companies to work for in overall category.
Besides passionately working towards strengthening the company and employee bond Ms. Sagorika also enjoys reading, listening to music, travelling, watching parallel cinema and is a Yoga practitioner.
Ques. How long have you been associated with the Media industry? How do you see the HR function growing in this sector?
Ans. I started my career with Media and I have been associated with media ever since. The HR function is growing in media and it has acquired a very important position in the overall organisation strategy. This is purely because media is a people intensive business and therefore it is imperative to have employee engagement initiatives to retain them and create systems and people processes which will ensure the company stays competitive in the market place.
Ques. Radio City is a popular radio station of India. Being the HR Head, have you set any goal for your organization as an employer?
Ans. When I joined Radio City 91.1 FM, my one aim was to be the employer of choice by 2010. Therefore, all efforts have been put by my team and me to develop a culture which is transparent, friendly and performance driven. Today Radio City 91.1 FM is known for its culture of grooming its talent. All this would not have been possible without the support & commitment of the senior leadership team.
In 2010 Great Places to work survey declared us as one of the best companies to work for in Media vertical. The fact that ex-employees of Radio City 91.1 FM are keen to join the organisation back proves that indeed Radio City 91.1 FM is the best place to work. 10% to 15% of my current workforce comprises of employees who have re-joined the system.
Ques. Broadcast media happens to be a very dynamic field for work. How do you keep the workforce motivated to perform and excel 24X7?
Ans. Yes broadcast media is very dynamic and keeping the workforce motivated is a big challenge. A survey reported by Deloitte and Forbes Insight 2010 says that the most crucial reason for employee attrition is lack of job advancement. There is a serious effort put in by HR and the senior leadership team at Radio City 91.1 FM in developing a definitive career path for all the critical employees. Based on the career path charted for our employees, there is a development plan that is formulated.
A leadership pipeline is developed for all critical positions in the organisation. We believe that we have the best talent in the media industry and this is largely because we attract the best talent pool and thereafter groom our employees so that they can advance their career trajectory. In fact, in the last 3 years there has been limited hiring at the senior and middle level positions through external sources. 15 to 20% of the senior and middle level positions have been filled by internal resources.
Ques. If you had to compare the HR functions of a company in broadcast media vis-à-vis one in print media, how are they similar and in what manner they stand different?
Ans. They are pretty much similar. Both in print and broadcast media there are two genres of employees you need to deal with i.e. the creative force and other functional teams such as sales, marketing, finance etc. The creative team is more emotional whereas the functional teams are more logic driven.
Ques. You have spent many years with ‘The Times of India Group’. How did it help you in growing as an HR professional?
Ans. I joined the HR department in The Times of India Group when it was being set-up. This is the best thing that could have happened to me professionally. At the setting-up stage I got to learn all aspects of HR functions; right from formulating policies, to creating induction manuals to developing performance management systems etc.
I also got to handle HR functions for various departments of the Times of India Group independently which I feel has groomed me to handle my current responsibility at Radio City 91.1 FM.
Ques. Do you perceive a change in the attitude of an organization’s senior management towards its HR function in the recent times?
Ans. Yes very much. Today HR is considered as a strategic partner rather than a support function. The role of HR professionals is not only to recruit great talent but also to groom and create future leaders. Today, no business strategy discussion is complete without discussing human resources.
Ques. Competition leads to a spike in the attrition levels of various organizations. How do you suggest the management should tackle this concern while keeping the workers equally motivated?
Ans. Today’s youth is looking at challenging assignments and a continuous learning environment. And this is not something which is difficult to do as every organisation will have enough and more strategic requirements.
But it is important to engage your workforce in challenging and interesting job profiles so that their learning curve is on the rise. If we keep creating opportunities for them to grow within the organisation it will be difficult for the competition to poach them.
Ques. What has been the most valuable learning you have gained in your career so far?
Ans. Hard work builds a foundation for future growth and sustainability. I have always believed that if you work hard and do quality work; name, fame and money will automatically follow.
Ques. What keeps you so passionate about working in HR?
Ans. There is certain effort one makes to create change at the workplace and when you see the actual change happening it drives your passion. When people say that I want to join Radio City 91.1 FM because it has a great culture you know that you have done your job well.
Ques. Food for thought for all the budding HR professionals.
Ans. I would say join HR only if you are passionate about it. While people-management is an essential element, HR is just not about people. It is also about business. As human resource professionals we have to ensure we provide a workplace which will maximise productivity so that employees find the work environment challenging and inspiring and in turn the organisation gets a fair return on investment.
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