”We need people who will challenge us”

Official press photo of Kristin Skogen Lund Kristin Skogen Lund, CEO of Schibsted Media Group. Photo: Aksel Jermstad

CEO of Schibsted, Kristin Skogen Lund, is convinced the company benefits from people that dare ask questions, aren’t afraid to try a new approach, and can bring a new perspective to the table. She is passionate about the trainee program, and believes it gives Schibsted both an edge and an advantage in the market.

– The trainee program is and has been important to us. We see former trainees filling key roles – either within our organization or at other companies where they become enthusiastic ambassadors for Schibsted, she says.

Skogen Lund highlights curiosity and an open mind as key characteristics the Schibsted trainees should possess, and wants people to dare to raise their hand and voice their opinion. New perspectives and input are highly valued by Schibsted’s chief executive and is the reason that trainees are included in teams from the get go. – In my experience the trainees are highly competent people and they contribute throughout their traineeship. At Schibsted there are no desk exercises, and trainees are given responsibilities and proper tasks on real projects from day one.

Skogen Lund is convinced that this approach is key in giving the trainees a sense of achievement – and perhaps a stronger vision of the career path they want to take. – When you are given the opportunity to test different areas it can give you a better sense of what you enjoy doing, and what direction you would like to take. The trainees are stationed in four different parts of the Schibsted organization through their traineeship, which can be a great way to navigate their own path.

Schibsted seeks diversity and wants to be challenged

The CEO of Schibsted wants to give people room to grow and to voice their opinions – especially if they do not agree with the status quo. She feels this is one of the biggest differentiators Schibsted has to its competitors. – In the Schibsted culture we seek diversity, we seek counter-perceptions, we genuinely want to be sharpened and challenged. This means that there is room for many different personalities and some peculiarities as well.

Key to having a successful traineeship lies in not feeling you must meet a set of expectations, but rather shape those expectations yourself, Skogen Lund says. – I think each and every one of our trainees bring something unique to the table and that they should take ownership of and shape their role. I would rather have someone that breaks the boundaries of what is expected, then someone that is constantly afraid to not meet the expectations they think lies on them.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the CEO of a large company like Schibsted would look at the numbers first and foremost. Kristin Skogen Lund certainly expects everyone to help the company do well. But when it comes to developing new products she believes that there needs to be something more than a calculation involved.

– Much of what we do has an element of, if not art, then a flair. If you want to develop good products, you can’t solely use your calculator – you must have a sense of users and market, and have almost an artistic flair. To do this you must of course attract that kind of people, and then you have to give them free rein. I think Schibsted is good at that.

The value of a good mentor

The Schibsted Trainee Program offers a world class mentorship for its participants. The value of someone to push you forward and help you gain the courage to speak up, is perhaps the most important tool a trainee can have, says Skogen Lund.

– Throughout my career I have had people who have meant a lot to me, and I have been fortunate to have had bosses who gave me the confidence to move forward. It is important to have what I call “yes you can” people surrounding you, who make you try when you may not have the courage to do it yourself. The Schibsted Trainee Program offers that type of support to our trainees, and is in my opinion a reason to apply on its own, she concludes.

Read more about the trainee program here