From Bahrain to Oslo – “I applied and gave it a shot”

From Bahrain to India, to Singapore, and finally Oslo – Clayton Don Corda has found his place. He works as a Talent Acquisition Partner at Schibsted and has been working with recruitment, employer branding and HR for the last 14 years.

He is a valued and appreciated colleague among his peers and has had a quite unique journey to where he is now. But why Oslo? What’s the biggest cultural difference? And what are his secret tips for building your personal brand on LinkedIn?

Hi Clayton, please tell us about your background
I am an Indian who was born in Bahrain in the Middle East, then grew up and did my schooling in Mumbai, India. I moved to Singapore for my master’s, and worked there for 14 years before making my move to Oslo, Norway earlier this year.

How did you end up in Norway and in Schibsted specifically? Working for a German company for the last 7 years, I have had multiple opportunities to visit and work in Germany and that grew my interest in working in Europe.

As my Sister has been living in Norway for 4 years, it was one of the options I considered to be close to family and I happened to reconnect with a friend working at Schibsted and saw that they were hiring for a TA Partner, so I applied and gave it a shot.

What’s the biggest cultural difference from your previous residence?
For me, the biggest cultural difference was the work-life balance. People are focused when it comes to working but after work hours people don’t message or email you as compared to my previous residence.

From a personal perspective, I think learning the language would help to integrate a lot easier although English is widely spoken here, and learning the language will help you understand the nuance and culture better as compared to where I lived previously.

Clayton and some of his team members in the Talent Acquisition Team.

So you work as a Talent Acquisition Partner – can you describe your role and scope?
As a Talent Acquisition Partner, we partner with business leaders to attract the best talent out there in the market.

In my case, I support the Data & Tech area. We engage and advise hiring managers on their application and together we try to identify the best talent for their teams.

You work a lot with personal branding, especially on LinkedIn. Why is that important?
People follow People. I think I have overused this sentence now, but I think it’s really important to put yourself out there from a personal branding perspective, as people like to follow personal journeys and take inspiration from that. It could probably both help you land a new job and from a company perspective, it also allows people and talents to see the culture the company has.

Can you share your best tips when it comes to starting, and build, your presence on LinkedIn?

  • Make sure you have a complete and updated LinkedIn profile, whether it is a basic or premium one.
  • Post consistently. Don’t care too much about the likes on your posts, while it is important for engagement, you will create an audience sooner or later.
  • Talk about your area of expertise, share your experiences and personal journey that people can relate to.
  • Connect and engage by commenting or liking posts that you feel are relevant to you and help build your network.

 

Discover the backstory of Pride Month at Schibsted

While it may seem that, in the 20th century, everyone is fully entitled to feel free to be themselves, there are still people among us who are being refused that right. Every day Schibsted works towards our mission to empower people in their daily lives, but we also have an important mission to empower people to be themselves.

In a company with 6000 employees, you will find a wide variety of people. The sense of belonging for everyone in the organisation is a subject that is on top of the agenda for many employees. One of them is Paweł Szonecki, Employer Branding Specialist at Schibsted, who organised Pride Month at Schibsted in June this year.

How did the idea of celebrating Pride first come to your mind?

The overall story is pretty prosaic. On 1 July 2021, I joined Schibsted Poland. At that time, due to the pandemic, all parades in Poland were postponed until August and I found out that we weren’t planning on being involved. I truly believe in the importance of supporting the LGBTQ+ community by participating in equality parades and raising its voice, so I took it upon myself to change that. After discussions internally we were granted permission and a budget to participate in two parades organised in cities where Schibsted Tech Polska has offices – Krakow and Gdansk. I was unaware that these would be the first equality parades for the entire Schibsted.

And what is the reason behind the decision to take this initiative globally?

Following the local success in Poland we decided to come up with a way to organise Pride Month globally for our entire organisation. Since our company operates in 5 countries (Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland) and covers more than 60 brands, it became a large project. We involved colleagues from different areas of the company to participate in the project to do something that would make our company demonstrate solidarity and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The project has a personal meaning for me. As a homosexual person in Poland, I know that only by increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ people in the public space, are we able to improve the current situation.

Will you tell us more about the initiatives?

Our objective was to attend parades in some of the major cities where Schibsted has its seat: Krakow, Gdansk, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Helsinki. At each, a representation of the company appeared in branded T-shirts and banners. In the course of the work, we also came up with the idea to organise the first Schibsted Pride Day – a day to educate employees about equality and LGBTQ+ rights. But not only – it was also a time for our colleagues who belong to this community could share their stories, experiences and be heard. All employees stood up to their responsibility, not only by demonstrating their support but also by celebrating this meaningful month together with Schibsted’s LGBTQ+ community.

For example, in Stockholm, our project turned into a big party on the roof of the office building to celebrate the first day of summer and Pride Month at the same time, and in the Oslo office there was a banner several metres high with the theme of our action. We carried out all activities under the common motto: ‘Empowering people to be themselves’.

It was an important milestone to show solidarity towards the LGBTQ+ community and show everyone that there is a place for them within the structures of Schibsted – we can be who we want to be regardless of our feelings or who we love. We had a great time while feeling grateful and happy to be part of this together.  

Can we attract talent in the same way we attract customers?

My name is Lena Berlin Stålhammar, and I have worked in Schibsted for soon-to-be 10 years in different positions connected to talent attraction and acquisition. Today I work as Director of Employer Branding and Talent Programs.

One thing I’ve learned is that talent attraction needs to be prioritized and seen as a long-term investment, which is not always the case. So what if we think about talents the same way we think about customers, would business leaders look at this differently then?

A customer journey is complex, looks different for different customer segments, and depends on a solid corporate brand. Everyone knows it takes a lot of time and effort to build relationships with new prospects, maintain a customer base and work with customer care. And we also know that it takes marketing efforts to succeed. Every organisation with a product or service to sell has a marketing function and a dedicated budget. That is just a given!

Let’s have the same mindset regarding talent attraction. Because the way I see it, we are also selling a product. Our product is our employer brand, and our customers are the talents. The employer brand (just like a corporate brand) is something that every organisation has, regardless of if you communicate about it or not. It’s the reputation you have as an employer in the talent market. And then we have employer branding, which is about showcasing and visualising the employer brand to talents; it’s the process of promotion and marketing. When you look at it like that, it makes sense to invest time and money in Employer Branding. 

I know what you’re thinking, “Where do we start?” So, first, we need to identify who we want to attract. Who our customers are. Out of that, our communication and content need to be adjusted and targeted to that talent group. What do they want to know about us, and what is essential for them in a future employer as we can deliver on? The next step is identifying where we can reach and engage with them, on what social platforms they are, relevant conferences, universities, forums, networks, etc. 

Now the hard work begins; we have a target group and the right platforms, but how do we cut through all the noise in the talent market? Step one is to build awareness, make us visible and let them know we exist. And when we have their attention, we must engage with them. We need to keep them warm and continuously interact with them to “sell” the product of us as an employer of choice, which is done through relevant and engaging content and activities. And last but not least, the secret weapon that removes the clouds from the clear sky: brand ambassadors.

In the same way we lurk, dig, read reviews, ask our network, and research new restaurants, hotels, products, and services, we do the same when considering joining a new employer. Recommendations and endorsements are mega important, if not business critical. Therefore, authentic stories from employees are worth a thousand paid marketing campaigns. So one of the most crucial keys to success is our employees. We are all important ambassadors to tell and share the employee experience and give the employee’s perspective on workplace culture. Everyone can do something, and we want the same thing – to have the most skilled and competent colleagues on the market, right?

Schibsted Tech Talk – Open source

Join our meetup to learn from open-source experts, and how to restore your Game Boy cartridges!

Open source is a really great thing, and we depend on it. Through the years, Schibsted has released several open source projects that are used by people and companies around the world, but we would like to do more – we want to give more back! So, we’ve spent time with many colleagues to make a strategy for how we all can contribute more to open source in Schibsted. Now, that’s done – and we’d love to share this with you!

When? February 2, 5:00 – 7:30 PM CET
Where? At the Schibsted office, Akersgata 55, Oslo

 

👉 Sign up  👈

 

👩‍🏫👨‍🏫 Talk #1 “How to do more open source?” – by Zuzanna Zygadlo-Stenberg, Head of Technology Strategy and Johannes Gorset, Director of Engineering VG.

“Open source is a really great thing, and we depend on it. Through the years, Schibsted has released several open source projects that are used by people and companies around the world, but we would like to do more – we want to give more back! So, we’ve spent time with many colleagues to make a strategy for how we all can contribute more to open source in Schibsted. Now, that’s done – and we’d love to share this with you”

👨‍🏫 Talk #2 “Pokemod – Restore your Game Boy cartridges” – by Hyacinthe Malaspina, Data Engineer.

“Even the old trusty hardware from the 90’s can (and will) fail at some point. This presentation is about a small modification that can preserve said hardware longer”

👨‍🏫 Bonus #3 – Unconference session about open source, by Noah Hall, Tech lead Aftenposten.

After each session, we will have 💬 Q&A session. Snacks are provided: 🌭 and 🍻 and 🍭. There will be vegetarian options!

Please note that the number of places is limited and the event will be held in English.

Meet the speakers

 

Zuzanna Zygadlo-Stenberg – Technology Strategy Lead at Schibsted, has a background in both software engineering and strategic management and loves working with skilled people. Motivation is harvested from learning something new every single day, not only at work but also during her free time and she now holds a fresh boat licence in her pocket! Did anyone say that winter is coming? Great! Zuzanna loves mountains and winter sports so much that she easily skips the playa and heads off to colder destinations all year around ⛷

Johannes Gorset – Director of Engineering at VG – has been part of the Schibsted family for 6 years now! What might come as a surprise to us all, is that Johannes doesn’t have a background within technology nor management – but as a very curious person he started his journey with folk music🎻 He appreciates his work as meaningful in the sense of doing something important for the world, and values all the great people he gets to work with on that! When Johannes is not busy digging into open source, you’ll find him operating excavators in his free time.

Hyacinthe Malaspina – Data Engineer at Schibsted. He has been part of the Data Foundations team for 3 years. With a big passion for electronics and tinkering in general, Hyancinthe is excited to share how you can restore Gameboy cartridges. Yes, he was an embedded software engineer in another life! 🚀

 

 

👉 Sign up  👈

 

Drink & Mingle

Tech Talks are not only about tech. We take care of social aspects of the event as well. During breaks, and after the presentations you can meet new people with different backgrounds, share your experience or… talk with our employees from the Schibsted family of brands.

About Schibsted Tech Talks

Tech Talks is a series of free meetups and workshops to share knowledge, exchange experience and meet like-minded people.

Please note that during the event, we might take general photos that will be published on our social networks and website Schibsted.com for promotional and marketing purposes. For portraits and more individualistic photos, we will ask your consent before taking the photo. The data controller of your shared personal information is Schibsted. You can find more information about processing this data on our Privacy Policy page: schibsted.com/privacy. If you want to object to the use of a photograph in a certain way or you would like to withdraw your consent, you may do so any time by contacting us via this email: ta@schibsted.com

 

A day with the CEO of Schibsted – a mutual knowledge exchange

How is life as a CEO for one of the most well-known businesses in the Nordics? That is something the student, Anine Johnsen, has found out. Anine is a young entrepreneur who got the opportunity to shadow the CEO of Schibsted, Kristin Skogen Lund, for an exciting day in October at our head office in Oslo.

 

Every year, Ungt Entreprenørskap in Norway carries through the program “Leader for a day,” where young, aspiring leaders are matched with a top senior manager of a relevant company or organisation. This year, the program presented 25 hand-picked young management talents from all over the country. The talents have had a Youth Business or Student Business with Young Entrepreneurship, and are selected based on their achievements.

By spending a day with the CEO of a well-known business or organisation, students learn the level of responsibility and the complexities required for today’s leading executives, while also getting a feel for how these leaders create value in their organisations. It is also an opportunity for CEOs to connect with- and better understand what drives the next generation. For Schibsted and Kristin Skogen Lund, it was an obvious decision to participate.

“I believe Schibsted, as a large company and employer, have a responsibility to share with young people what it’s like to work with us, and thus give them a glimpse of what the future can hold. But as importantly, it’s a very insightful experience for us. I always learn a lot when I meet people whose backgrounds or life experiences differ from mine. And I always find it really interesting to get a young person’s perspective on what we do.

A key takeaway is the sheer number of really good questions Anine asked. I’m impressed with her level of engagement and insights, and learned a lot about how we’re perceived among younger people, and how they view what we do and what we communicate,” Kristin says.

Anine Johnsen was matched to shadow Kristin for a day on the 20th of October. She is currently in her last year at Ski VGS, where she is enrolled in general studies with Entrepreneurship as an elective subject.

“We started the day by planning the next “All hands” meeting for all Schibsted employees. Thereafter, I observed a meeting about the annual outlook Future Report 2023, which was very interesting. After having lunch, I got a tour of Finn and VG to see how they function and how they operate. The day ended with a panel discussion about “Eliter I endring” where Kristin participated,” Anine says.

The aim of “Leader for a day” is to give young people a glimpse into the leadership role and motivate them to take the step themselves.

“I got a good insight into what it is like to be a top leader and how much important work Schibsted does. It was a hectic day, but also very interesting and valuable. I met a lot of competent people throughout my day at Schibsted and I gained a lot of experience. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate in “Leader for a day” and I had a really good time with Kristin and her co-workers,” Anine says.

Strong and agile leadership is the backbone of Schibsted

What makes a great leader? Depending on who you are asking, the answer might differ. According to Christoffer Bjäreborn, Director of Leadership Development at Schibsted, there is no universal mould for leadership. To reach success, a leader must simply be equally aware of their team’s specific needs, as of the bigger company vision forward.

With great leadership comes great responsibility. The difference between a good and a great leader can make an astounding difference for personal and professional development within a team and for the company as a whole. That is why Christoffer Bjäreborn, Director of Leadership Development, and his team works continuously to develop and strengthen Schibsted leaders in their work.

“We have a wide spectrum of companies and company cultures within Schibsted. Similar for all is that we believe in and want to develop all the talents that work here. We will reach that with the help of great leaders,” he says.

The four pillars

Since 2016, the Leadership Development team has worked along the lines of a model called ‘Pace’. The model consists of four pillars; people driven, agile, collaboration and entrepreneurship, which are all qualities that help define a Schibsted leader. These four are further broken down into subcategories and behaviours that concretize how different leaders can work successfully within their own teams and on an individual employee level.

“We went out and asked several leaders within the organisation two questions. What does the current leadership look like, and what should it look like in the future? The answers we gathered helped put ‘Pace’ together. We are also currently investigating how we can collect and align results from our employee surveys with the development of our leadership courses,” Christoffer says.

A shift in demands and an exciting future

With a younger generation entering the job market, and with a pandemic behind us, the needs from and values of a leader have shifted in some teams. Employees drift more towards an everyday work life with more freedom under responsibility, which also demands the leadership shifting to follow.

“Depending on the employee and the team, different leadership styles are necessary. What our talents expect is individual, which puts demands on the leaders. Great leaders do not work from a generic point of view, they see each individual,” Christoffer says.

What the future holds for Schibsted leadership development is yet to be determined. But for Christoffer Bjäreborn, the journey and work he puts in together with his team is both exciting and foundational.

“I have been at Schibsted for 24 years, working at different positions within different teams. Where I am now, I feel that I truly make a difference. The people working here are great, and to help them develop and be the best they can is truly inspiring and motivating,” he says.

How Schibsted is part of democratising news media for children

When working in tech, understanding the user is key to reaching success with a product. Lena Beate Hamborg Pedersen and her product team therefore spend hands on quality time in Norwegian primary schools, to pinpoint the needs of their main users – children between the ages of nine and twelve. 

About a decade ago, Norwegian Aftenposten launched a printed newspaper aimed towards children between the ages of nine to twelve. The goal was to help enlighten the younger generation in worldly news on a level suited for them. Right off the bat, Aftenposten Jr was a success, both among parents, but also among teachers.

“Many teachers started using Aftenposten Jr in their classrooms, but at some schools they only had access to maybe one printed copy per class. We acknowledged this and launched a digital version of the newspaper – Aftenposten Jr Skole – just over one year ago, to give all students equal accessibility,” Lena Beate Hamborg Pedersen, Product Manager at Schibsted says.

For every student

Accessibility has continued being the foundation of how Lena Beate’s team work. During the digitisation of the newspaper, many hours have been put in to make the articles accessible for every single student. And when visiting the schools for UX tests with both teachers and students, accessibility is one of the features getting praised.

“The product is optimised so visually impaired students can use screen readers on their own devices to have all text on the website read out. Students who struggle with reading due to dyslexia, attention disorders or bilingualism can use our text to speech function where a robotic voice that is a clone of a real person’s voice reads the news articles to the students. We also transcribe every episode of our news podcast so hearing impaired students still can take part. To be inclusive and offer accessibility to every student is very important to us,” Lena Beate says.

Where help is needed

Lena Beate’s team consists of six people. They are all passionate about understanding pain points amongst their users, and through those develop simple but efficient solutions. One pain point that arose earlier in 2022 was directly connected to the war in Ukraine. Many Ukrainians fled to safety in Norway, and needed to keep up with news updates. The product team therefore quickly developed a translation feature to make the whole platform accessible in Ukrainian.

“We are experimenting with the different languages we offer, so we can reach students that might speak a different language than Norwegian at home. We want news media to be easily accessible for everyone. Understanding what happens in society is crucial for democracy,” Lena Beate says.

This translation tool has now sparked an interest amongst other news platforms within the Schibsted concern, that are currently investigating how it best can be used to translate both internal and external communications.

Found her dream job

Lena Beate Hamborg Pedersen started working at Schibsted just when Aftenposten Jr Skole started their digital journey. For her, the position has been a dream come true.

“I remember reading the ad and feeling it described my dream job. I had been working with product development and digital products for children since 2012, and also had a master in reading comprehension. Then I knew little about Schibsted, but from the start I have been met with such enthusiasm. I had a lot of questions in the beginning to get started with the digitisation and new features for Aftenposten Jr Skole, and wherever I turned there was someone happy to help. This helping and excited culture rubs off, and now I find myself taking time from my actual work tasks to help coworkers from any company within Schibsted forward. We really live up to our motto to empower people in their daily lives, both internally and externally,” Lena Beate Hamborg Pedersen says.

Schibsted is on the list of most attractive employers in Sweden and Norway

Young professionals in Norway and Sweden have voted – Schibsted is one of the top 100 attractive employers in both Sweden and Norway.

According to the Young Professional Attraction Index 2022, Schibsted is an employer of choice. The study, which is based on data from over 5,200 students and graduates at the start of their careers, shows the 100 most attractive employers in each country. The measure is based on reputation, success and how willing they are to work for the employer.

Schibsted has been on the Norwegian list for many years, and we are proud to step into the Swedish list as well. Lena Berlin Stålhammar, Director of Employer Branding & Talent programs at Schibsted, are happy with the great news:

“It is always fun to see that our hard work is paying off. And this is for sure a receipt that we are doing the right things in building awareness of Schibsted as a great place to work”.

But what has actually changed and what are the success factors? Lena continues:

“During the last years we have been focusing on building awareness of Schibsted as an employer, by telling the story of how it is to work here. We have thousands of stories about the impact that our employees have, both in terms of their work and priorities, but also on society as a whole. So to concrete it down, I think the main success factor for us has been our transparent and authentic way of showing what life at Schibsted is all about, with help from our employees.”

Young Professional Attraction Index (YPAI) is a survey conducted by Academic Work. Click here for more information and to download the survey.

“Schibsted is like a pot of nourishing soil”

As for the majority of companies, Schibsted was forced to make major changes during the early spring of 2020 due to the pandemic. Now – two years down the line – these changes have become a natural part of everyday work life.

According to the Head of People and Culture, Håkan Halvarsson, employees have a better work life balance than ever.

“A few years back, there was an established truth that we physically had to be at the office to get our work done. To some extent, that can be the case, because not everything can be solved from a distance. But the future is coming towards us at express speed, and we need to adapt to that. When the pandemic hit, it was a bit thrilling to leave and go home that very first day. Our large newspapers were staffed to a minimum in the office and we even managed to publish Svenska Dagbladet with all editorial staff working from home. That proved to us that anything is possible,” Håkan Halvarsson says.

A new normal

What Håkan Halvarsson describes came to be the beginning of a new way of work at Schibsted. With closed down offices, management had to find new ways to keep both production and mental health levels up, especially when life slowly went back to normal. The solution soon emerged – a hybrid office.

“We have worked hard on recognizing what our companies need and tried out several policies. What we have landed in, after collecting feedback from our employees, is that there are plenty of opportunities to allow more flexibility. To be able to combine working from home, with working from the office, or having more say in what hours one works, has reduced stress levels throughout Schibsted,” Håkan says.

All necessary tools in place

But, introducing and sticking to a hybrid way of working, also comes with responsibilities. Work environment, safety and health are three areas that should be taken seriously, even when employees work remotely. Schibsted has therefore introduced HomeSted – an internally built web platform where every employee can choose amongst approved ergonomic desks, chairs and other utensils to use when working from home. The structure of HomeSted helps Schibsted make sure all employees end up with high quality furniture that creates an ergonomic base for remote work.

“We want to give every company the necessary tools to be part of the hybrid office. How the companies choose to implement it, is up to them and what works for their specific needs. This is what Schibsted is all about – the ‘team first’ attitude. I like to think of Schibsted as a pot of nourished soil that gives every company and employee what they need to thrive and grow into the beautiful flower that they are,” Håkan says.

Being yourself

The team attitude and general openness between colleagues was what first caught Håkan Halvarsson’s attention when he joined Schibsted 12 years ago. Today it is something that makes Håkan proud to still call Schibsted his employer.

“When it comes to our culture I think we have a lot to thank our journalistic history for. Our news desks have always worked with such curiosity, which I think set the foundation for Schibsted as a whole. Having an open mind at work makes everything so much more personal. We see each other for who we are, and we care about each other’s success, which traces all the way up through top management. Focus lies on personal growth and future development down to the very last employee. That is what makes Schibsted unique – everyone is allowed to be an individual, Håkan says.

“We give the diverse voices of Schibsted a platform”

At Schibsted, we believe in empowering all kinds of people, leaving no human behind. That includes making sure all of our employees are comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.

In an effort to be the best workplace to be you, we have employee resource groups (ERG) to contribute to our culture of belonging. The first group is one for the LGBTQ+ community and allies, who can help to amplify unheard voices, call out barriers and biases that can inhibit progress and act as role models in their commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging. This very important group is spearheaded by Aaron Kroon, who will help make sure everyone working at Schibsted can express their individuality and share experiences while contributing to an inclusive work environment.

Can you describe the LGBTQ+ community at Schibsted?
We are a group of people from different parts of the organisation who will help ensure everyone working at Schibsted can express their individuality and share experiences while contributing to an inclusive work environment.

We invite our organisation to conversations about what diversity means for them, meaning we’ll make sure to give the diverse voices of Schibsted a platform. Also, as a group, we are diverse and thereby hope to act as role models for the rest of the organisation when it comes to showing the power of diversity in business. 

Why are you engaged in the LGBTQ+ community? 
To me, it’s about common sense. The main reason why I love to be a leader is that I know I have the opportunity to create change, and I don’t take that lightly. The LGBTQ+ community stands for tolerance, bravery and kindness; to me, those are the cornerstones of a superb work environment.

Looking ahead, what are the most important things for the ERG group for the LGBTQ+ community at Schibsted? 
Since we are Schibsteds’ first ERG group we need to set some ground rules and establish how an ERG should ideally function. For this we should have activities and events planned round the year so that our engagement and investment do not feel like a one-off to people, because it’s not. The activities can be as simple as an article, internal and external, or the ones that are a bit more complex like a panel discussion. Schibsted did for example different initiatives this summer, one was local Pride parades in Cracow, Gdańsk, Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen and more.

Another priority task is the engagement of allies. An ally is someone who uses their own privilege and position to push progress for those who don’t share the same privilege. Including allies will be critical and really important in supporting the ERG. By communicating that the ERG is open to allies, we’ll expand the reach of the group, and the more people we’ll get onboard, the more power we’ll have to accomplish change.

What is your advice for a new job seeker who wants to ensure that the company they are applying for works with inclusion and diversity?
Be brave and turn the recruitment process around. Scrutinise the organisational culture. Interview your potential new boss the same way they interview you. Research as much as you can about the DIB strategy and what it means to them on a personal and professional level and look up the mission, vision, and culture statement. Review the company’s website and LinkedIn. Ask around – they will ask for your references so you should ask for theirs.