Leading digital change at Nielsen

Nicola Meyer-Smith, executive director of human resources for Nielsen, says the business is getting better at attracting top talent in Australia and overseas

In Nielsen’s bid to transform itself into a stronger digital enterprise over the coming years, one of the main challenges it faces is the acquisition of key top talent with more specialised skillsets, according to the business’ executive director of human resources, Nicola Meyer-Smith.

“Our focus on diversity in our people has helped overcome this, and we’re getting better at attracting talent in Australia and overseas,” she said.

“Global opportunities have helped pull resources and talent, and in turn, created incredible opportunities for career variation, global experience and development for our people.”

Nielsen, a global S&P 500 provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, has embarked on a global restructure over the past few years, and today it aligns its business into two divisions: what consumers watch (programming and advertising) and what consumers buy (categories, brands and products) on a global and local basis.

Another internal program that helps with talent development in Nielsen is called “Project Me”, which encourages and assists people to create an individual development plan and clearly map out knowledge or skill gaps in getting to the next career step in the business.

The program then helps them identify how to close the gaps through using tools such as internal, online training courses or mentoring programs. Meyer-Smith adds that more than 300 of its people have undertaken Project Me in the Pacific.

“Global opportunities have helped pull resources and talent, and in turn, created incredible opportunities for career variation, global experience and development for our people”

Nielsen also runs a top talent program, which is aligned with the business’ leadership traits and creates an opportunity to challenge and grow participants to be future leaders.

The program is tailored to relevant business challenges, and combines interactive and experiential full- and half-day workshops with pre-reading and assignments, supported with 90-minute confidential one-on-one coaching sessions with Nielsen’s most senior leaders.

“At the end of last year, two associates who graduated from this program have been promoted internally to overseas, stretch roles,” said Meyer-Smith.

“These two individuals entered Nielsen through our graduate program straight from university.

“Over the past four years they developed their career with Nielsen and are now continuing to expand their knowledge and skills internationally,” she explained.

Every year the business invests in international transfers of top talent, and it currently has 30 nationalities represented in the Australian business.

“Through the global and regional talent programs, we share and collaborate over our future leaders.

“Our goal is to have the best and brightest talent with the most diverse perspectives possible to enable us to meet client demands and to deliver creative, quality solutions,” she said.

For the full story and interview with Meyer-Smith, see the next issue of Inside HR magazine. Image source: Hayden Brotchie