“To do more for less is the new normal”: Times Group says #COVID crisis needs a “start-up mindset”, as it announces 5-10% salary cuts, defers variable pay and increments

Below is the full text of the note by Sivakumar Sundaram, chairman, executive committee, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL)

***

Dear Colleagues,

The last one month has been unprecedented in terms of the disruption it has caused in our personal and professional lives.

I recognise it must be extremely stressful for all, worrying about you and your family’s safety and having to adjust to working remotely in an increasingly uncertain external environment.

Yet we have managed to publish our newspapers every day without fail, despite the distribution issues. This is a big achievement, made possible only by your tireless efforts and collaboration across every function in this organization.

I would like to thank each one of you, especially our colleagues in RMD, Editorial, Production for this dedication, commitment and performance, in such a challenging time.

The BCP (Business Continuity Programs) team at Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd, has been working tirelessly to mitigate the impact and ensure smooth functioning with all the external constraints.

Crisis are opportunities and the rude awakening gives us two choices – either we succumb to fear and panic or quickly alter the course for exponential leap and make the company future-ready.

Undoubtedly as with the rest of the economy, a large and widely distributed business in the physical space, bears the brunt of the impact.

From our perspective, in just a short period, our Circulation has been impacted, Supply chain disrupted; Production & Editorial working in a constrained environment and our Sales teams are battling hard to garner advertisement revenues.

The current crisis needs a start-up mindset to fundamentally challenge our current assumptions.

We have all learnt in such a short span of time, the ability to do more for less and this is the new normal.

The unprecedented situation calls for tough calls in the short term, to ensure our long-term future is protected. Therefore we are constrained by the current environment & the economic factors to announce the following measures :

# Defer the pay-out of TVP / Incentive for FY 2019-20 to end of Q1 2020-21 or later, for review, based on bounce back of the economy and our revenues. (TVP: total variable pay)

# Defer Increment decision, for review, based on our business performance end of Q2 2020-21.

# Salary reduction by 5% of TTR (for employees with Salary above Rs. 10 lacs/annum) & 10% of TTR (for employees with Salary above 100 lacs/ annum ) w.e.f. 1st April, 2020. (TTR: total target remuneration)

# Move 10% of TTR of all employees (with Salary above Rs. 6.5 lacs/ annum) to Special Performance Incentive Pool w.e.f 1stApril, 2020. Payment of Special Performance Incentive will be linked to achievement of a threshold PBITDA target for 2020-2021 agreed by the EC team with the shareholders.

Monetary loss is painful, but this sacrifice by each one of us, and your continued support, which the collective organisation counts on, would ensure we emerge strong and victorious from the current crisis… cause this too shall pass.

Best Regards

Siva

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