Lights, HR, action on the global stage

We chat to the HR team at one of the world’s greatest entertainment giants about managing HR on the international scale

Lights, HR, action on the global stage
As one of the world’s largest entertainment entities, NBCUniversal operates multiple businesses across the global market.

HRD sat down with Susana Garcia Bernal, the firm’s vice president of human resources, to talk about the challenges and advantages of managing such a diverse portfolio of teams and workforces.

“NBCUniversal has country HR business partners in the major locations in which they operate,” she said. “We have centres of excellence and subject matter experts based at our main hubs or headquarters.”

In Australia and New Zealand for example, the entity has six businesses in its portfolio: Universal Pictures, TV Networks and TV Distribution Australia and New Zealand, TV Production (Matchbox Pictures), CNBC and Home Entertainment.

In order to manage these firms successfully, all businesses share the same vision, strategy, credo and values, Bernal told HRD.

“Our overarching HR strategy applies to all our businesses. It is however adapted in order to capture the uniqueness and challenges of each business in each market.”

In regions with multiple businesses and multiple time zones, the work can be challenging, she said.

The ability to manage multiple stakeholders and multitask is absolutely vital to the HR team’s and the business’ success. Strengthening this is the strong spirit of collaboration and a passion for the company’s values found in the firm’s global HR team.

“The greatest positive is we are all connected,” she said. “We have regular catch-ups via video conference; we have an HR newsletter and a number of HR groups on our internal social media system, Wave.”

All of this – plus regular meetings at the hub level – foster a sense that this is one team operating globally, Bernal added.

NBCUniversal’s worldwide reach also provides staff with international opportunities: another benefit of the firm expansive presence.

“Our annual talent review process enables us to identify high performers and highlight those who wish to relocate. We then endeavour to find opportunities for them.”

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