Meltwater’s values of success: “short, sharp & to the point”

How "short, sharp and to the point" values drive success at Meltwater

Values which are short, sharp and to the point have played a foundational role in both the business and people strategy success of global firm Meltwater, according to its head of HR.

Meltwater, a Norwegian-based SaaS company which specialises in media intelligence solutions, was founded on the values of “MER” which is Norwegian for “more” and stands for ‘Moro’ (Fun), ‘Enere’ (Number One) and ‘Respekt’ (Respect).

“These aspects of our work culture are key when it comes to employee acquisition and retention,” said Rachel Tschannen, senior manager HR Asia Pacific for Meltwater.

“We have high standards like any organisation and try to ensure our staff grow successfully.”

Tschannen, who has been in HR for nearly twenty years and seen many different methods in talent management, said one of the most effective approaches is Meltwater’s values-based focus and how this shapes its culture and approach to people strategy.

This has also had a beneficial impact on talent acquisition, according to Tschannen, who said that Meltwater has been able to attract much of its new talent via word-of-mouth.

“It started organically with many of our employees referring their friends or former classmates for job openings at Meltwater,” she said.

“We really encourage our team to become advocates for the brand, and leveraging social media to spread the word and attract people for the latest opportunities.

“It’s proven to be a really effective strategy when it comes to attracting passionate candidates – instead of hearing how great a company is from a job posting, they are getting genuine insight from someone whose opinions they value.”

“It’s important that not only management, but the broader team, feels as though we have the right people on the bus”

David Hickey, ANZ director for Meltwater, underscored Tschannen’s observations and said people are the “backbone of our success as a business”.

“We focus on hiring bright, ambitious and hardworking talent, rather than looking for people who possess generic skills that they can learn on the job,” he said.

“Some things can’t be taught, and here at Meltwater we really value finding the right personalities to fit in with our work culture.

“It’s important that not only management but the broader team, feels as though we have the right people on the bus.”

Over the past 10 years, Meltwater has grown from a small team of five and this year alone there have been 29 new hires in Australia and a further 20 promotions – with a 30 per cent increase in the ANZ region over the past year.

The company, which was originally founded in 2001 and now has offices in Europe, North America, Asia/Pacific and Africa, now services more than 3500 clients in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meltwater places a particular emphasis on recruiting and developing graduates in order to prepare them for growing through the organisation.

“As part of this, we have a considerable focus on developing current and future leaders through executive workshops, which are conducted both internally and externally and cover sales as well as soft skills,” said Tschannen.

Meltwater is also relaunching its learning management system globally, and she said this is another platform where employees can access video training and other online learning tools, tailored to all learning levels.

“As long as we provide the right tools for people to improve their skills, we can develop hard working employees who really care about what they do”

The firm has also introduced a Clifton StrengthsFinder program through Gallup, which provides individual coaching management and mentoring that focuses on maximising a person’s natural talent and strengths instead of only focusing on weaknesses.

Five senior HR and L&D managers at Meltwater have been Gallup strength qualified in order to implement the program globally.

At the executive level in Australia, a 360 degree feedback program has also been introduced to assist with development and help executives receive feedback from staff at all levels and ensure they are aware of how they and the programs being delivered are being perceived internally.

Another area of focus for the Meltwater HR team is using analytics to forecast and predict turnover, so that “we can stay one step ahead and form innovative ways to retain staff”, according to Tschannen.

“We do this through awards, a flexible work policy and simply finding things each employee needs – what’s important for one person is not necessarily important for the next,” she said.

“We’ve found that passion is extremely important and that as long as we provide the right tools for people to improve their skills, we can develop hard working employees who really care about what they do.

“This in turn helps Meltwater achieve its commercial goals.”

The firm has a number of internal comms initiatives in place (such as its MLife and MGrapevine newsletters) which showcase everything from light-hearted party photos to top sellers and high performers within the company.

“We like to celebrate the team’s successes (which are frequent) by highlighting their achievements in company-wide newsletters, and we find this to be extremely encouraging for other members of the team,” she said.

To demonstrate, Meltwater has been climbing the Best Places to Work list for three years (from 25th to 15th and most recently to 11th place in Australia) and in the most recent Great Place to Work survey 95 per cent of employees said the company is a great place to work, while 94 per cent think everyone has the opportunity to get special recognition.

A further 96 per cent are willing to go the extra mile to get the job done while 94 per cent of employees also believe that management hires people who fit in well.

“In the coming 3-5 years we will more than double our revenue locally as we look to speed up the rate of growth”

Locally and globally, Meltwater has a number of business goals and Hickey said that in its most simple form, “my key hope is that each year will be different for our staff”, he said.

“It is key that we keep pushing boundaries, keep reshaping our environment and highlighting the opportunities available when they work at Meltwater,” said Hickey.

“We have now been in operation in Australia for 10 years, and I do not think any of the past 10 years will be able to throw shade on the five years to come.

“In the coming 3-5 years we will more than double our revenue locally as we look to speed up the rate of growth,” said Hickey, who said Meltwater will likely launch new offices in Australia and New Zealand, which represent opportunities to open up new market segments.

“We will also push harder into the enterprise space as we continue to invest in our product,” he said.

“Of course, for this vision to become a reality, people and culture will need to be front and centre.

“We aim to innovate our culture to create more opportunities for staff to be exposed to different departments within the business.”

Hickey said the HR team will also grow and focus more on training and development to ensure employees’ personal growth is in line with revenue growth.

“As soon as next year, we will be launching one, five and 10 year anniversary programs which include incentives such as stock, external learning and sponsored masters programs to reward loyal employees when they reach key milestones,” he explained.

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