What does an organisation, which is the country's largest media and marketing services firm, do to reinvent itself and be future-ready? A lot, but the trick is to first look within... and that's what CVL Srinivas did when he announced the Youth Executive Committee (Y-Co) at GroupM last year. The attempt was to leverage the talent of its younger executives, by inducting 15 individuals from across its group companies—what the media major successfully did was to get its top performers in the 20s into the decision-making process. "We got 15 of our brightest stars who are all in their 20s to get together and form this body to actually complement the Executive Committee (ExCo)," explains CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia.
"In a dynamic and digitally charged industry like ours, the youngsters have a much better grip of what's going on. We felt it was time we gave them a platform for full and effective participation in decision making. Implicit in this commitment is an acknowledgement that young people are part of the solution and catalysts of change," Srinivas said on the formation of Y-Co.
Elaborating on the concept, Srinivas added: "While working on our 'New Me' vision, one of the things that came out very clearly was in a digital era, if knowledge is equal to power, most of the power rests with the younger lot in the agency. So, we felt that the ExCo, which is the senior leadership team at GroupM, needed to have a closer connect with what's happening on ground and needed to have better insights and better inputs when it came to areas like digital. That actually led to the creation of Y-Co." The initiative was formally launched by Dominic Proctor, President, GroupM Global when he was on an India visit in early 2013.
Setting up the committee had a visible impact. Naina Shewakramani, one of the Y-Co members, said on being nominated, "I feel empowered that my ideas for making GroupM a better place might now be actualised. I feel fortunate that I was nominated amongst all others. This opportunity also gives me assurance that I am on the right path of choosing a career with GroupM."
Retaining young talent is a matter of much concern in the media services sector. According to one estimate the percentage of young talent quitting could be as high as 40-50 per cent. A scheme like Y-Co will take care of the aspirations of the young and ambitious, said the HR head of a media organisation. "However, it can't stop only at Y-Co or only at Y-Co members. Most media organisations need to have a strategy for young talent. Today, kids don't mind being without a job for a year or two."
"Y-Co worked on several strategic initiatives through the year, in the areas of digital, talent retention, profiling, etc," said Srinivas, when asked on what were the activities that the committee was entrusted with.
And how was the concept accepted by senior employees of the organisation? "Initially, we were sceptical, but we later found that the Y-Co's voice was being heard, and they were able to bring in some bold initiatives which frankly we wouldn't have ever been able to bring in."
By arrangement with MxMIndia.com
"We got 15 of our brightest stars who are all in their 20s to get together and form the Y-Co to actually complement the Executive Committee (ExCo),"
—CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia
"I feel empowered now that my ideas for making GroupM a better place might now be actualised. I feel fortunate that I was nominated amongst all others. This opportunity also gives me assurance that I am on the right path of choosing a career with GroupM."
—Naina Shewakramani, Y-Co member, GroupM