We were born in the digital age
Interview | Ashutosh Mishra, vice-president, HR, DishTV

An engineering (mechanical) graduate and MBA (HR) by training, Ashutosh Mishra is well versed with the nuances of HR practices along with production, engineering and operations. With over 24 years experience in HR functions, having served large companies like Raymonds, Larsen and Toubro, JK Tyre, Haier and Electrolux Kelvinator, he is now responsible for all HR disciplines at DishTV, aimed at sustaining healthy people and employee relationships. As vice-president, HR, DishTV, Mishra focuses on equipping the organisation with the best of resources, aligning them seamlessly to achieve long-term organisational goals. Excerpts:

There are many who say that in today’s context, HR also drives business profitability. What is your take? If you subscribe to this view, how does it influence your HR strategy, particularly recruitment policies?

Business focus-profitability, revenue generation and cost consciousness have to be inbuilt in the mindset of employees and in the organisation’s DNA through consistent reinforcement. HR must devise methods and means to assess it for every recruitment, even though the assessments will vary in depth for different positions.

How do you hire people and groom them?

The most important criteria for any role in any business are right talent, which has the capability to fulfill all the aspects of that role. We have identified Dish competencies and core values and candidates have to demonstrate appropriate behaviour. Cultural fitment is another important criteria. Though we prefer hiring at entry level, our fast pace of growth enables us to do a lot of lateral hiring. Selection process has 4-5 layers of different assessments. To groom new hires, we have elaborated the induction programme of mentorship and introduced a buddy system. They are given a stipulated amount to time to learn and meet expectations.

What is your current headcount and your hiring plans in the near future?

We have aggressive hiring plans for the future covering a wide range of roles in numerous locations.

In a large organisation, there are conflicts of various kinds. How do you handle them?

Healthy and open disagreements are welcome, as they improve efficiency and build stronger teams. Beyond this, we believe, every conflict has an outer manifestation, different perceptions of the same situation and of judgments. We always try to address operational issues and individual insecurities to resolve internal conflicts. Misunderstandings are rapidly resolved. Some issues occur due to varying managerial and working style of individuals. The key is to address the issue with ingenuousness, with participation from all concerned early in the development stage. We are aware that unresolved issues cause generation of new problems and hence, prefer to closely monitor and create a conducive workspace.

Technology keeps changing very fast. So constant updating and fine-tuning of skills is very important for the industry, you are in.

Fortunately, we are a company born in the digital age and have a highly competent employee base. To be a learning organisation, is one of our core values. There is a lot of internal discussion and brainstorming on evolving technology. We experiment, learn, share learning and evolve.

What are the growth opportunities for an employee in your company? And what is your appraisal policy?

We believe in meritocracy. We have numerous examples of employees growing from within to take up senior positions and key roles within the Dish TV or Essel group. We are in constant search for talent and the right fitment. Talent coupled with performance makes one successful. One can look forward to an upgradation of responsibilities at any time during the course of the year when opportunities arise. However, financial increments are strictly once in a year, based purely on merit.

Employees often complain that loyalty doesn’t pay any longer. It doesn’t help if you stay in any organisation for too long. What is your take on this?

We don’t hire job hoppers. One must show consistency and serious approach to a career path, if the person wants to enter the competitive arena. Loyalty helps you earn respect and in any industry, what matters is how you drive change and achieve milestones. Your performance helps craft your image and that’s what actually helps you make the organisation successful.

If you think retention is important, what are your employee retention strategies?

We provide an enriching work experience to our team members. That is the key of our retention strategy for the present generation. We connect with every member of the organisation and make our efforts so that every employee feels comfortable and performs better. We are fairly flexible in our approach. And, we don’t offer mid-term salary hikes, as we know that it can create problems in the long run. We stay meticulous and provide salary corrections, whenever required especially at the time of annual appraisal.

Could you mention some of the important and interesting HR initiatives that you have introduced in the company?

Recently we have introduced the leave donation policy where employees can donate leaves to each other at the time of need. We have career centres wherein employees can approach experts in various domains for guidance and support for their professional development, mid-career profile change etc. We support them in their journey towards growth.


Ritwik Mukherjee