That’s entertainment: Inside HR at NBCUniversal

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Partnering with the NBCUniversal leadership makes this HR function more efficient. It gets the right people on board and helps the company adapt and innovate. For Langer, leadership provides the tool for answering a vital HR question: “What are the business challenges looking forward and who do we need to hire to meet those challenges?”

Finding talent
In response to that question and to sure up its recruitment policies, NBCUniversal’s talent acquisition strategy was overhauled last year. The company now has its own executive search team and rarely uses outside parties to locate potential executives – far from a standard practise in its industry.

Recruitment teams that work in each specific NBCUniversal business have also been strengthened, owing, in part, to a unique challenge the company faces. “We get a lot of resumes,” Langer laughs.

Television and film being an appealing career field, there are a lot of people banging at the NBCUniversal door. And with so many people wanting to get into the industry, Langer says that picking the right candidate among thousands and thousands of job applications can be a harrowing experience. It has forced the group’s various recruitment teams to be highly rigorous in who they call back and interview.

Nurturing employees
As much as bringing in the best talent remains a core component of HR, another, just as critical, function is to keep and develop it. For NBCUniversal, HR has had to step in to fill a void left by a once existing leadership university in the days when it was owned by General Electric. This precipitated the development of a new way for helping nurture and grow employees: the company’s ‘Talent Lab’.

The Talent Lab focuses on retaining and developing the best executives through leadership programs, the most significant of which is geared toward new managers. Essentially, the facility is a corporate university dedicated to growing great people in the media industry.

“When we decoupled from GE, we had to develop our own leadership programs. We had the chance to re-envision what learning could be for our workforce and we’re really proud of the Talent Lab. It’s received a really enthusiastic reception,” Langer says. 

HR horizons
In the end, Langer says that being in a position to aid the transformation of a giant corporation has been highly rewarding. “The exciting thing about being in this job is that back in January 2011, when the Comcast takeover happened, it was like a massive start up. There was so much opportunity and the chance to almost start from scratch. It’s been a privilege to work here and to build an HR structure from the ground up.

“Into the future, we want to keep serving the business as strategic partners, because even after three years we are still a company in transition. Change is still occurring.”

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