Work culture is connected to the employees of an organization and guides the numerous decisions that employees make on their own every day. It guides little details such as what to do when a client makes an unprecedented service request and can also determines whether an employee will risk telling the boss about new ideas. Audio Academy’s work culture emphasises responsibility and autonomy and this small organization is special in that it has zero employee turnover.
Founded by Niranjan Shivaram and Vauhini Venugopal, Audio Academy began with just one employee besides the founders. Speaking about the initial days Vauhini says, “We were very sure about the type of work culture that we wanted to build. Both Niranjan and I had worked in numerous organizations and between us we knew what worked well and what didn’t. We value people who are committed, honest and have a deep interest for all things sound. Skills can be taught and honed, but passion cannot be taught.”
Since Audio Academy is an audio school that also has a recording studio and rents audio equipment, employees get to constantly put their skills to use, train and update their knowledge.
Gautham Pattani, is a producer, studio engineer who also works on studio recordings at Audio Academy and teaches courses in recording arts, live sound and music production. He says, “I have worked in other organizations previously and in comparison, at Audio Academy there is a lot of autonomy and I can take a call when it comes to my work. I am responsible and unlike other places, I don’t have to wait for instructions. This brings in an intrinsic motivation to work since I am in charge of what I do. Being a musician, this is a great place for me to work since I have access to the facilities to do my own work. Not just that, with the time that I get to spend working with the gear, I grow as an engineer and stay updated on the latest developments in the industry.” Ashwin Shetty, Live Sound Engineer and faculty in the live sound department likes the freedom that Audio Academy offers to pursue and work on the things he likes. He also spoke about the management being receptive to ideas and how valuable that is an an organization.
When it comes to skill building, if an employee is drawn to attend a training program in an area that interests him, Audio Academy is happy to pay for it. Skill development for employees is a value that the organizations highly values. Niranjan says, “We sent Ashwin, one of employees to Britannia Row Productions in London for a month long training. This type of experience gives them exposure to global markets and helps them understand how processes work there. It is a win-win situation because my employees benefit and they adapt the principles that they learn there and implement them at Audio Academy. Also, the students receive a very thorough training which makes them industry-ready.”
As part of the audio industry, the founders lay emphasis on sharing their knowledge with the rest of the sector. Audio Academy also runs training programs that train audio rental companies around India on setting up efficient processes for concerts and so on. The founders believe that these processes encourage efficiency in an otherwise unorganised industry.