Running multiplexes is all about providing customers a happy movie-going experience, and a grumpy front-line is to be avoided at all costs. “It is part of the process that every team member has to smile; and yet, you cannot impose this on a person,” says Manoj Pramanik, who joined movie theatre chain Cinépolis as a unit head in 2016, and became regional manager (north) in 2017. He handles regions in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, leading a team of eight unit heads and 700 employees.
“When we find such a gap [in customer service], we coach the employees, and research why they are not smiling. Maybe someone’s father is unwell, or there’s some other personal problem,” he says.
In such cases, the team tries to understand the employee’s environment and perhaps deploy them to the back office for some time, explains Pramanik, who reads extensively on management and has adopted the mantra: Happy team = happy customers = revenues.
“My main goal is to develop efficiency. An individual should be happy in his workplace, then the rest goes well,” says the 33-year-old who did his BSc in hotel management from Chanakya Institute of Hotel Management, Vishakhapatnam, followed later by an international executive MBA in tourism and hospitality (through correspondence) from the United Business Institutes, Brussels, Belgium. Pramanik says he gives 200 percent to the company because it takes care of his needs. Down the line, he believes, people in his team should also feel the same.
Another management strategy he deploys is letting unit heads take the lead when it comes to issues with their respective employees. For instance, if audits at a theatre reveal discrepancies, Pramanik communicates privately to unit heads instead of taking the issue up with their employees directly. “I coach in a manner that unit heads also get motivation on how they can get things done. I do this privately because otherwise they might think ‘how can he speak like this to me in front of others’. This way they [the unit heads] also respect the way things are being done, and their position is also valued down the line.”
He is careful about what he says and the way he speaks. “Body language is important. You have to be aware of how you are speaking and to whom. You can’t take back words, and you should listen more,” he says. The result is people on his team feel he has a lot of patience and is polite.
Pramanik’s real goal, according to him, is achieved: When his team finds happiness and satisfaction on the job, the feeling is shared with customers. This translates to more customers and therefore, revenues.