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How is Mirchi Divulging Into The Tech Space To Hire Talent Experts Across Tech, And Data Sectors?
Mirchi has always had programming and content experts, lately the brand has been focussing on strengthening its digital presence and has been hiring tech, data, product experts to aid them for the same.
Mirchi has long been associated with the radio, but after their re-branding in 2020 and dropping the term "radio" the organization underwent a lot of changes and HR played a big role in the same. From organizational restructuring, to re-developing the employees' KRAs, Mirchi revamped their functions internally to align with their new brand identity. While Mirchi has always had programming and content experts, lately the brand has been focussing on strengthening its digital presence and has been hiring tech, data, product experts to aid them for the same.
Vivek Kulkarni, Head Human Resources, ENIL, (Mirchi) is here to share a detailed insight on Mirchi divulging into the tech space to hire talent experts across tech, and data sectors
1. What has been your role as the Mirchi's HR head in helping Mirchi move forward in its journey of digital transformation aligned with the launch of its mobile app?
Any transformation is not a one-step journey, it is a process that needs to be anchored and sustained over a period. The first task is to ensure people understand the larger intent and the objective behind the digital transformation. It is important to translate this intent into a tangible plan of action for different verticals of the company. For instance, at Mirchi, to familiarize themselves with the requisite skills, the talent acquisition team was required to get a deep understanding of the app, the technology used, and the entertainment space. The compensation/L&D team had to tweak their induction/HR policy/remuneration framework to adapt to the new talent requirements. The CEO’s virtual round tables with key stakeholders also emphasized on regular information updates on the app business. Our business reviews would have a dedicated session where these updates were shared. Therefore, ensuring that key opinion leaders were always well informed about the latest developments. We shifted a lot of our long-standing experienced employees from the radio business to the content teams for building the app. Such practices at the ground level made for a hook to bridge the divide between the old and the emerging.
The HR team acted as a catalyst in ensuring that all talent requirements were in place to ensure the app launch was on track. Moreover, we communicated regularly with the internal stakeholders to align them on specific policies and practices that were put in place to make our team more digitally savvy.
2. In line with the launch of the Mirchi app, what kind of hiring strategies did the brand put in place?
We leveraged our group company’s in-house expertise to understand the key skills and its assessment. We got a crash course for our HR team to take them through some learnings. While we ‘hired’ the parent company’s employees to screen our candidates, we focused on looking at potential employees who were aligned with Mirchi’s work culture and addressing the ‘Why should I join Mirchi’ queries of potential candidates. This helped the candidates understand that we are not just a standalone brand called Mirchi but part of a bigger entity that had a large consumer internet-based business.
3. Being well-known creative music and entertainment brand, were there any challenges in hire tech and data experts for the app? How did you overcome them?
Mirchi is a highly reputed brand with a great legacy. While we have acquired a skilled workforce across creative, production, and output teams over the years, we never looked at tapping proficient talent within the consumer tech space. The first challenge for us was to reach out and attract the right talent. Candidates had apprehensions about the magnitude of tech involvement in Mirchi given that for the longest time it has been synonymous with FM radio. However, we induced confidence in them by making them cognizant of our plans of pivoting to become a digital content company, the challenges involved in the same, and setting expectations of their role in this journey. The candidates were impressed by the candor we brought during these
conversations. We were a start-up in the digital content space, but with a good cash cow in our traditional business. Our promise to prospects was that they will be in the thick of the action from day one thus, making our pitch simple – “We may be a little late to the party, but you will be on the dance floor to make us swing and sway.”
4. What factors worked in Mirchi's favour for talent acquisition across the tech sector?
We adopted a hands-on, experiential approach, wherein we invited candidates to the office for interviews. This gave candidates a real-time experience of the organization’s culture and our people. During our conversations with the candidates, we ensured to highlight how Mirchi embodies an entrepreneurial spirit by empowering its employees to take risks as well as try and lead new projects. The authenticity and warmth that the interviewers - whether the HR manager or the CDO or the CEO - brought to the table during these interviews further helped us in establishing credibility during the process. To further authenticate this process and allow potential candidates to get a first-hand understanding of Mirchi and the larger group’s culture and way of working, we scheduled meetings between the candidates and employees who have had a fairly long tenure either with Mirchi or within the Group and are continuing to grow in the system. This helped us emphasize our core belief that Mirchi provides long fruitful careers.
5. As a part of its internal transformations, how is Mirchi incurring a digital mindset across teams within the organization?
Internally, we have augmented the use of technology and software application systems to reinforce efficiency as well as to improve employee experience across verticals like HR, sales force automation, digital content management systems, et al. We have also aligned our goals and objectives to increase the thrust of digital products and solutions in the Performance Assessment cycle. For instance, for our content team, the emphasis is on how the content is received on social media. We categorize content creators in three buckets based on their reach and engagement levels and follow rewards systems that are disproportionately aligned to their performance on the digital landscape. For all our digital platforms, we evaluate the content basis its creativity as well as performance/consumption metrics- number of views, time spent listening, time spent viewing, etc.
6. What have been some of the recent HR initiatives at Mirchi that align with the brand's digitally transformed image?
We have introduced a well-defined Rewards & Recognition program that has specific categories to reinforce confidence among the upcoming digital stars at Mirchi. We believe our creator community at Mirchi is not just limited to radio talent. We encourage our copywriters to create ‘snackable’ content, which can be published in the market via branded content solutions. In many cases, the digital KRAs weigh as high as 40%-50% of the overall performance of the individual. To better understand the social media platforms, we regularly invite partners from different social media channels to host knowledge-building sessions around digital and social media. We also actively seek out the Ex-Mirchi alumnus from the digital content companies and leverage their expertise for our employees to learn through these sessions.
7. How do you think will your role evolve as Mirchi moves forward on its journey as a digital-first brand?
At Mirchi, we want our workforce to reflect the diversity that exists in our listeners and viewers. As we step into this new orbit of growth and continue our digital journey, we will continue to work towards building an inclusive and people-first organization.
8. As Mirchi diversifies its operations across - radio and digital - what kind of talent pool will the brand be deploying going forward?
For the content creation vertical at Mirchi, our talent requirements now encompass new cohorts like content writers, visual and graphic designers, video editors, SEO specialists, social media experts, etc. As we dive deep into regional content creation, our talent pool will also extend to writers and content creators of the local origin. We will be tapping both English and regional social media platforms in our search for talent who understands regional and cultural sensibilities, as well as can create or curate apt content for middle and affluent consumers. We are tapping the tech talent space entirely, such as developers, full stack, back end, UI/UX, data scientists, quality control experts, etc.
One common thing that we will look for across departments is the spirit of entrepreneurship and a degree of comfort with ambiguity. We are a fluid organization and we want people to be prepared for a lot of unlearning and learning that this journey will entail. The Mirchi DNA has been built on a strong spirit of entrepreneurship and experimentation. We want to progress with the same qualities at our core as we expand our team and our business.