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GMA Network and its people

By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:30:00 07/04/2010

Filed Under: business, Television, Employment

Broadcasting giant GMA Network Inc. has experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade, which has seen the company rise from apparent obscurity to the only network that can truly give ABS-CBN a run for its money.

In 2009 alone, GMA Network?s profits soared 19 percent to P2.8 billion over the year before, the most the company has ever made in a single year in its six-decade history.

This year, the company plans to sustain this performance of strong profit growth by continuing to expand its broadcast network to finally achieve the elusive nationwide ratings lead, which rival ABS-CBN has held for as long as anyone can remember.

But while most companies are quick to harp on the skills of management as the key to their good fortunes, GMA gives credit to where credit is truly due: ?The unprecedented business performance of GMA last year can be largely attributed to the extraordinary work performance of our employees,? said Abraham Viray, head of the company?s human resources department.

?No amount of equipment, no technology, no scientific or excellent procedure can work if you do not have the right people,? he says.

Viray says it has always been GMA?s motto that success can only truly be achieved if everyone in the company is happy.

It is for this reason that GMA goes to great lengths to make sure its 1,800 regular employees and over 2,000 talents remain satisfied with their work for the company.

?The company provides its employees with very competitive compensation packages in the industry,? Viray says. Employees at GMA, he says, can boast of three weeks? paid vacation, longevity pay, service awards, monthly rice subsidies, medicine subsidies, medical plans with covers family members, life insurance and retirement benefits, among others.

GMA also has a unique incentive program that rewards brilliant ideas that help the company save or make more money.

?Because our people are inherently hard-working and resilient, we reward those who do something good and novel for the company through our continuous improvement awards program,? the company says.

?This way, we encourage innovation not just relative to the programs that we air but also to the procedures we apply as an organization,? it adds.

Workers are also continuously trained in both technical and managerial skills to improve the quality of GMA?s workforce, and ensure that people have that all-important sense of fulfillment.

But the centerpiece of GMA?s people management strategy is the culture that is espoused within the company?s walls.

GMA Network senior vice-president for corporate services Felipe S. Yalong, in a recent interview, says the company prides itself in the kind of culture that promotes openness between rank-and-file employees and its executives.

?It?s not unusual for our rank-and-file employees to approach and air any concern to members of the senior management, including our chairman Mr. [Felipe] Gozon,? he says.

Yalong says it was simply a company policy, or maybe even a philosophy, to be open to its employees. And with a lot of GMA?s employees also being stockholders in the firm, thanks to generous stock-option programs, it?s their company too.

Yalong says anyone who?s ever entered GMA Network?s headquarters on Edsa will be acquainted with the fact that the 17-floor building?s three elevators moves at a turtle?s pace. What most people fail to notice is the absence of executive elevators.

?We all use the same elevators here,? Yalong says, noting that regardless of rank, all GMA Network employees endure a lot of the same things. ?What?s important to us is that our employees are proud that they are with GMA,? he adds.

He says the company also has a suggestion box, where letters from employees are read one by one by GMA chair Gozon.

?He reads all these complaints from employees and acts on most of them, whether petty or serious,? Yalong says.

He says GMA is also the only company he knows of where negotiations for collective bargaining agreements between management and union representatives take only an afternoon, instead of the days or weeks seen in other companies.

In a country where corporations are notorious union busters, Yalong says GMA?s relationship with its workers is truly something to be proud of.

This culture is one of the many reasons why GMA Network is unfazed even amidst the aggressive poaching spree that the well-funded TV-5, now led by Manuel V. Pangilinan, has been on.

?I don?t recall any of our executives being poached by TV-5? At the end of the day, employees would rather stay with a well established network like GMA than take the risk of moving to a new industry player,? he says.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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