Sid Srivastava Builds Meaningful Connections at Cinemark

Cinemark’s CHRO and SVP of human resources believes a great guest experience begins with a great employee experience

Sid Srivastava, CinemarkPhoto: Courtesy of Cinemark

Over the past twenty years, Sid Srivastava has grown tremendously during his career in human resources; today he serves as chief human resources officer and senior vice president of human resources for Cinemark, one of the largest movie theater chains in the world. But when he was growing up in India and considering his career options, Srivastava did not have the technology and key resources that are available to students today.

“When I was a student, there was not the library of knowledge available on the internet like there is today, so I relied heavily on conversations with those around me to learn what I did and did not like about different degree paths,” he says. “These conversations about careers, both with professors and other students, made me believe that HR was the right path for me.”

Since beginning his career at Coca-Cola in 1999 as a management trainee in Mumbai, India, Srivastava has positively affected the lives of both employees and their families, which he calls his greatest source of inspiration, motivation, and satisfaction. After spending seven years with Coca-Cola, he took a position with GE in Bangalore, India, transferred to Atlanta to lead global HR for a corporate function, and then went to Dubai to become the company’s regional talent leader for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey region.

“In this role, I had the unique experience of building an HR team across eight different countries,” Srivastava says. “It was fascinating to learn about each different culture and better understand the motivation that drives teams and employees. After three years in Dubai, I moved back to the US in a global product line HR leadership role managing HR teams and employees globally.”

“The ease of doing work is what drives the employee experience, and I am thrilled we are able to provide this to our employees.”

A major turning point in his career was a meeting he had with Mark Zoradi, an entertainment industry veteran who had recently been appointed Cinemark CEO. “Though he is the CEO of the third-largest entertainment exhibitor, he was incredibly humble, approachable, and honest throughout our entire meeting,” Srivastava says. “Mark’s articulation of the vision for Cinemark was very clear, and I felt an instant connection with him and to the company. After that meeting, I knew I had to join the team.”

In the cinema industry, Srivastava says, there is a mantra: “A great guest experience begins with a great employee experience.” So while he looks to attract candidates who can drive a memorable guest experience, he also wants employees to feel that they work for a modern company with an outstanding culture and easy-to-use systems.

Technology is a big part of that: he explains that Cinemark strives to use the latest tech to innovate not only the moviegoing experience but also the employee experience. “I firmly believe that effective use of technology addresses two key business imperatives,” he says. “First, it encourages an improved employee experience, elevating the guest experience, which in turn drives top-line revenue. Secondly, it improves the bottom line due to much higher levels of productivity.”

Cinemark recently started implementing Workday software as its human capital management (HCM) system, and Srivastava could not be happier with the decision. “We are currently in the initial implementation phase of this new system, and the teams are already visualizing the unlimited possibilities that will come with it, including enhanced employee experience, and employee engagement,” he says. “The new system allows managers to see employee data in real time, which encourages them to act quickly and make better team-based business decisions.”

Additionally, the company is investing in a new state-of-the-art labor scheduling software that will allow employees, a majority of whom are Gen Z and millennials, to manage their work schedules via their mobile devices without logging into a computer. “The ease of doing work is what drives the employee experience, and I am thrilled we are able to provide this to our employees,” Srivastava says.

Cinemark uses cutting-edge technology not just to help its employees, but also to facilitate the hiring process. “We utilize multiple software platforms that provide superior candidate experience during the entire hiring cycle, from the time they apply on the job site to the time they get hired,” Srivastava says. Part of a positive prospective employee experience is ensuring consistent and extensive employer branding. We partner with best-in-class social media companies to amplify our online and digital presence, showcase why Cinemark is a great place to work, and improve our reach to the candidate pool.”

 “I work tirelessly in collaboration with our entire Cinemark leadership team to ensure that our employees feel heard, valued and know they have the opportunity to continually develop.”

This year, Cinemark launched a microlearning platform called “Aspire On Demand” in partnership with Cornerstone, curating programs especially for employees. “Based on the critical learning needs, my learning and development team handpicks microlearning courses and puts them in a playlist form,” Srivastava explains. “Instead of employees searching thousands of online courses, they just need to go to a topic like ‘problem solving’ and then simply go through the playlist at their convenience. We are already seeing a very high adoption rate of our microlearning platform compared to industry averages.”

Srivastava is personally proud of the recently launched Cinemark College Assistance Program because it touches the lives of employees and their families in so many ways. The program provides full-time employees in the US who’ve been employed at Cinemark for at least a year with the opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree if they don’t already have one. The number of employees enrolled in this program has more than doubled since the launch of the program.

“After vetting several colleges across the country, we decided to partner with the University of North Texas (UNT) to build and run this program with us,” he says. “We have courses that are highly relevant to the employees and will also help them further their careers within Cinemark. The feedback from our employees about the program and the administration is top notch.”

Employee advocacy is also an important aspect of his role. “Mark [Zoradi] truly appreciates the people perspective that I bring to the table during critical business decisions,” Srivastava says. “I work tirelessly in collaboration with our entire Cinemark leadership team to ensure that our employees feel heard, valued, and know they have the opportunity to continually develop.”

Congratulations to Sid Srivastava of Cinemark! CNet is proud to work with one of today’s top innovators in HR, and we look forward to many more years of successful partnership with such a forward-thinking company. Thank you for choosing CNet as your background screening partner.