People of MTG
Ann Lindskog, HR Controlling and Compliance Manager
Our people are proud to work at MTG. Can you explain why?
MTG’s people are our greatest asset, and our latest survey shows employees would highly recommend us as a workplace. This score has increased since last year, which is a good indicator that people are proud to work here.
There are two principal factors behind this great result – culture and development. First of all, the survey shows that MTG’s work culture is collaborative, innovative and defined by high levels of trust. We also work with cool content and products (in 2016, we became the first broadcaster in the Nordic region to offer viewers virtual reality from the Olympics). So MTG is a pretty fun and inspiring place to be.
Secondly, we invest in our people. We believe in life-long learning, and increased our training and education activities from a total of 21,559 hours and an average of six hours per person (2015) to a total of 27,133 hours and an average of seven hours per person (2016). We now offer Lynda (online courses) to develop employees’ skills in a wide range of business-critical areas.
MTG also runs Leadership Programs in our largest markets, with the aim of enhancing leadership skills, enabling a good feedback climate and empowering employees. Last year, 341 people participated in leadership programs targeting talents and different levels of leaders in Sweden, which aimed to offer both tools and inspiration.
What is MTG’s recruitment philosophy?
We want to attract and recruit the very best people – regardless of gender, age or background. We have implemented a management trainee program for each MTG business in order to secure up-and-coming talents.
As in any business, employees sometimes choose to leave. We have established exit interviews to understand better the reasons why, and to help refine our recruitment and management approach. MTG’s turnover rate decreased in 2016 compared with 2015 (which was higher due to company transformation).
What work-life balance do people have at MTG?
We want everyone at MTG to have a healthy combination of work and personal life, and our latest survey shows we have improved this balance for both genders. During 2016, 72% of male employees and 74% of female employees responded that they had a healthy work-life balance, compared with 70% of male employees and 71% of female employees in 2015.
We still need to do more, especially since a healthy work-life balance is highly valued by our employees and is linked to areas such as gender equality, health and well-being. We offer the possibility to work from home or flexible office hours, and we have local initiatives such as healthcare contributions, subsidized yoga classes and massage. Before broadcasting 2,000 hours of sport on 13 channels from the Olympics in Rio, we arranged seminars to proactively prevent work-related stress.
In addition, we encourage all MTG employees to take parental leave, and it’s great to see more men than ever (32% more in 2016 than in 2015) using their parental leave.
Diversity and Equality
MTG is committed to diversity and equality in every part of our business. We’re extremely proud of the wide range of nationalities and age groups represented in our workforce, and of our good gender parity levels. However, we want to do even more.
Diverse, equal companies have been shown to be more creative, innovative and competitive than other businesses. They’re also much more fun places to work!
At MTG, we’re particularly focused on ensuring equality in three key areas – pay, workforce and management. Here’s how we did in 2016.
Equal pay for equal work and no gender gap – we think it’s pretty obvious. We always benchmark our positions both internally and externally, and when benchmarking a salary, we always look at the position and not the gender of the applicants. During 2017, MTG will improve our equal pay monitoring processes and take necessary measures accordingly.
An equal workforce
In 2016, the gender distribution of our workforce was 59% men and 41% women, compared with 57% men and 43% women in 2015.
To put this shift into context, MTG underwent a strategic transformation in 2015, and during 2016 we invested in two leading companies in the traditionally male-dominated esports industry.
In response, we’re redoubling our efforts to boost the representation of women in the technology and media sectors. In 2017, MTG is a lead sponsor of the Women in Tech event, which provides an open meeting place for talented women and high-tech companies, for the fourth consecutive year.
MTG’s group management had a gender distribution of 65% men and 35% women in 2016, compared with 62% men and 38% women in 2015.
We’ve set the ambitious goal of 50/50 gender equality in MTG group management by 2020. As a result, we’re investing in female managers through the Women Up program, which has been developed by McKinsey & Company. In 2016, program participants were also mentors for younger female professionals at MTG.
In 2016, we established a steering group of CR and HR managers to work with our equality goals, and workshops were held in order to identify challenges, possibilities and improvement activities on a local level. These workshops resulted in MTG’s Equal Opportunity Initiative, an established baseline, and a Group roadmap and implementation process for 2017 to 2020.
In 2017, MTG will engage all business managers in the implementation of the Equal Opportunity Initiative. We’re accelerating our efforts to create a truly diverse working culture and management, and even more opportunities for everyone.
Emma Thorsén, Chief Customer Officer at Viaplay
Hej Emma! What’s new at Viaplay?
First of all, our customers are the most satisfied streamers in Sweden for the second year in a row, according to Svenskt Kvalitetsindex. We’ve seen usage increase massively over the last couple of years, and we’re doing everything we can to improve our offering even further.
I’m Chief Customer Officer at Viaplay, with responsibility for customer relationship management, customer service and business intelligence. It’s complex, hands-on and demanding – and I love every minute of it.
In 2016, you participated in the Women Up initiative. Can you tell us more?
Women Up is a global leadership initiative launched by the Swedish former minister Maud Olofsson and McKinsey & Company, under the umbrella of Hillary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership (ICWBL). It brings together 30 high-potential women leaders over a 12-month period to promote their development, and is structured around the concept of centered leadership.
What’s centered leadership?
Centered leadership is an approach developed by McKinsey that can help women become more confident and effective business leaders. It has five interrelated dimensions: meaning, managing energy, positive framing, connecting and engaging. During the Women Up program, we focus on each of these areas and how we can apply them to our own roles.
Centered leadership works for both women and men, although it resonates particularly well with women since it builds primarily on research into their specific needs and experiences.
How has Women Up influenced you as a leader?
I’ve definitely broadened my abilities as a leader. I’m more active in taking different roles depending on the situation – sometimes I’m the driving force, and sometimes I step back. My attitude to conflict management has also evolved: if I do n0t agree with someone, I’m now much more curious about why they feel that way.
Do you have any advice for this year’s participants?
Be open both with yourself and others about what triggers you – both in a positive and negative sense. During the program, participants share with each other and sometimes become quite emotional when discussing their experiences, which I think is really refreshing. I think it’s a complete misconception that leaders can never show their emotions. In my experience, successful leaders are open leaders – when you communicate honestly and clearly you can inspire everyone around you.
Line Vee Hanum, Head of Communications at MTG Norway
Hei Line! What’s the latest from MTG Norway?
It’s a super-exciting time for us – digital trends are reshaping consumer behaviours incredibly quickly, and MTG’s streaming services Viaplay and Viafree are just what audiences are looking for. We’ve also grown our free-TV market share consistently in recent years. For our radio business, there’s the small matter of Norway becoming the first country in the world to transition all stations to Digital Audio Broadcasting. Oh, and we just welcomed Morten Aass as our new CEO!
How did you get involved in the 2017 Women Up initiative?
I’m the Head of Communications for MTG Norway, which means I’m responsible for everything from PR and strategy to social media and branding. I head up a team of seven people, and when MTG’s executive management nominated women leaders across the group to participate in this year’s Women Up, I was lucky enough to be chosen. I’m sure it will be a fantastic learning experience.
Your first meeting took place recently – what has been the biggest surprise for you so far?
I’ve been really amazed by how a multinational group of leaders, representing a very broad range of businesses, can have such similar ambitions and challenges. Each of us wants to deliver 110% all the time, and to empower our teams in the best possible way.
At the same time, there’s been a lot of discussion on how to balance small details with the big picture – when should I zoom in or out? Whether you’re in the media or transport industry, you can learn a huge amount about effective and supportive leadership from listening to each other’s experiences.
Let’s fast forward 12 months: what would you like to take away from Women Up?
My hope is that the biggest impact will be on my team. I’m a big fan of the Three Musketeers: all for one and one for all! I aim to learn about new tools and approaches that can enable my colleagues to grow, and which will help us create even more great results together.
Careers in Brief
Julia Smetana, Head of European Regulatory Affairs
Is there a regular day in regulatory affairs?
The short answer is no! As MTG’s Head of European Regulatory Affairs, my responsibilities include managing issues across our business relating to current or proposed legislation, engaging with policymakers, and responding to government consultations and requests for information. Every day is different – which is just the way I like it!
The majority of MTG’s TV broadcast licenses are held in the United Kingdom and our operations are regulated by Ofcom, and we obviously work in compliance with European legislation too. Both legal frameworks are constantly evolving and require regular monitoring.
What are you working on right now?
My current focus is the EU Commission’s proposal for a Digital Single Market Strategy, which covers everything from copyright and e-privacy to portability. The latter area is particularly important for MTG, since we want our customers to have access to our services when travelling anywhere in Europe.
However, we also believe that any new regulation should not undermine the principle of territoriality, which is the idea that content rights can be licensed exclusively for specific countries. Changing this risks making many of the media industry’s current financial models unworkable, so it’s essential we ensure our point of view is fully represented in the legislative process.
Can you talk us through your career trajectory at MTG so far?
I joined MTG eight years ago, when the TV landscape was totally dominated by linear broadcasting. I remember being involved with our first Viaplay streaming app!
My first position was as a general commercial lawyer working within MTG’s central legal team, but as the European dimension of our business became increasingly important, the company became more active in Brussels and in major European trade associations such as the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT).
Stepping into a regulatory-focused role felt like a natural step, and I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from my managers and colleagues along the way. For example, I’ve been able to integrate maternity leave smoothly into my overall career path.
How do you create a healthy work-life balance?
My schedule is varied and busy, with a lot of travel between London, Brussels and Stockholm. As long as I’m available to my team and everything gets done on time, I’m happy to work from different places. I appreciate the fact that MTG is such a flexible employer: I have two young children, and I’m also very much an early-morning person (mostly through necessity these days)!
Paula Moscardo, Executive Manager at MTG Creative
Paula, you describe yourself as a translator. What do you mean by that?
My job title is Executive Manager at MTG Creative, which is MTG’s central creative department and responsible for promos, branding and continuity. I’ve learnt that creatives and finance people often speak very different languages, and I see myself as the voice of each group to the other.
Teamwork is very important in enabling people to deliver at the highest level, and one of MTG’s strengths is effective collaboration across the company. It’s about building reciprocal understanding while making sure everyone has the tools and the space they need to thrive – and of course getting the business decisions right every time.
How did you move into such an interesting position?
I came to MTG in 2010 as maternity cover for one of the MTG Creative Production Managers. Handling the budgets and contracts for productions might not sound so exciting, but it was perfect for me, since I love numbers and working with people. I was involved in a wide range of projects, and moved from managing invoices to managing individuals too.
I was promoted to my current role in September 2015, and today I have two direct reports and a further eight indirect reports. I’m part of a very diverse and creative group, with over 12 different nationalities here in London. It feels really fulfilling to put my financial and personnel skills to good use every day in such an open environment.
Is it difficult to have financial responsibilities for a creative organization?
Our creatives are recognized as the best in the business, with an amazing 72 Promax Awards since 2010. They’re fantastic professionals who are completely dedicated to their jobs, and my priority is to create a framework that enables them to focus on what they do best. As soon as you strike the right balance between structure and inspiration, everything else falls into place.
Do you think emotional intelligence is as important to your role as financial knowledge?
Definitely! I believe a truly effective manager understands feelings as well as figures. It’s especially relevant in a creative context: I do not think anyone can be creative 365 days a year, and there might be additional reasons why the great ideas just aren’t coming.
I think I’ve learned over time to be a good listener who can suggest solutions for different situations, while helping team members grow and develop. People who create such value for the business should always feel that the business creates value for them, in terms of everything from practical support to their working environment and career progression.
Diversity in Esports
Zainab ‘zAAz’ Turkie, one of the world’s best female gamers
What’s it like to be one of the world’s biggest esports stars?
It’s so much fun! This year I hope to compete in six or seven huge tournaments around the world, and I wish there were even more. It’s an amazing experience to push myself to the limit in front of massive crowds with my team-mates around me. I just love playing – as long as I win, that is…
How did your esports career get started?
I’ve been playing Counter-Strike professionally for around 10 years. Back in 2002, I saw my brother playing the game at home in Malmö. At first, I just sat beside him and watched, but then I wanted to try for myself. I got into it straight away, started practicing very seriously and got an offer to join my first team. I worked so hard to make it happen. It also took some time to convince my dad that a career in esports was OK, but today he’s proud of how far I’ve come.
What was your breakthrough moment?
Paris, July 2008. I was there to take part in a Counter-Strike tournament and my team was the favourite to win – but I felt so nervous. I seriously thought I might pass out. It was my very first international event and there were thousands of people watching, all expecting us to deliver.
We blew away the competition in the group stage but things got much tighter from the quarter-finals onward. Playing the final was a real test and winning felt incredible. Nine years and hundreds of tournaments later, it’s still my favorite memory.
Do you see yourself as an esports role model?
I’m happy if I’ve inspired anybody – especially other girls – to get into esports. I feel really grateful for the support people have shown me during my career, and I hope I’ve been able to give something back. Sometimes it seems surreal to be a trailblazer for others – I’m a geek who just likes playing games! But I’m cool with it. I already demand so much of myself when I compete, so I do not feel any extra pressure from other people’s expectations.
How can the sport attract more female competitors?
The interest is already huge – there are so many girls who kick ass at Counter-Strike! The next step is to create a better overall balance between the women’s and men’s scenes. The publicity, the prize money, the number of tournaments – everything needs to be much more equal. When more girls see that it’s possible to turn esports into an awesome career, things will really start happening.
What’s next for zAAz?
I live to compete, and I’m so focused on getting even better and giving my fans even more legendary moments. When I reflect on the past 10 years, esports has grown unbelievably and in some way it feels like I’m part of the future. I’m where I want to be – and if you want it enough, you can be here too.
Photo: Daniel Stigefelt
Reach for Change and MTG teamed up yet again in 2016 for a group-wide campaign to seek out the most innovative social entrepreneurs out there. The campaign, now in its third year, was amazingly well-received and we managed to attract and track down some truly inspiring individuals to support. All purpose-driven, all solution-led, and all with a game-changing approach to long lasting social change.
Norway: Nassima Dzair
Nassima is working for a more inclusive world. Her educational platform InterBridge helps socially isolated youngsters develop their personal skills and reach their full potential via specially tailored programmes.
Denmark: Sanna Rasmussen
Sanna’s initiative Familiestøtten is a social networking system that matches financially secure families with less fortunate households. The wealthier side typically has older children whose pre-loved clothes, toys and sports equipment go to the disadvantaged party who may not otherwise afford these items.
Latvia: Ilze Dzonsone
Ilze works to improve children’s emotional intelligence and empathy skills through the care of animals. Her programme is currently mainly targeted at ordinary schools, but she is also looking to expand in order to include more children with special needs.
Lithuania: Artiomas Sabajevas
Artiomas has established a special health and fitness programme aimed at children struggling with obesity. Establishing the centre was a dream come true for Artiomas, who now wants to spend his time helping the children he works with achieve their dreams of a better life too.
Bulgaria: Boyana Kotseva & Daniela Sadikova
Boyana and Daniela, both PHD students at the National Sports Academy Bulgaria, have set up an initiative to help physically impaired children explore sports and fitness. ParaKids offers a range of exercise programmes specifically aimed at helping disabled youngsters move and develop physically.
Bulgaria: Evgenia Sarafova & Dimitar Zhelev
Evgenia and Dimitar, both Assistant Professors at Sofia University, are working to inspire children to explore the fascinating world of science. Their educational website, Geograf, targeted communications and regular family events are designed with the view of being easily accessible and affordable for all.
Estonia: Heilo Altin
Heilo’s education programme Robootika aims to introduce children to the exciting world of technology and engineering. Tailored specifically for school and kindergarten children, the programme teaches robotics and mechatronics through creative play and exploration.
Change Leaders Support
Joakim Klingspor, Project Manager Content Pay-TV & Viaplay
How did you get involved with Reach for Change?
I have always known about Reach for Change and their work, but it was not until I started working at MTG that I took on an active role after hearing positive feedback from my colleagues. I’m happy I put my hand up because it’s been a very rewarding experience.
You’re contributing to Reach for Change as an advisor. Could you tell us more about that?
I advise Reach for Change participants, or change leaders as they are called, on a variety of topics and give input and direction. It can be on anything from how to set up an interview questionnaire to formulating growth plans. The type of advice needed depends on where the organisation is in its life cycle and what kind of support the change leader feels is needed. Currently, I am the advisor for Cirkus Unik, which aims to aid social integration by bringing together children from a wide range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds via a circus training programme. Cirkus Unik is still a fairly new organisation so my role with them has been to look at basic fundamentals in order to establish a clear vision and strategy going forward.
How do you think your engagement with Reach for Change has impacted the community and you personally?
I got involved with Reach for Change because I think they have an effective model for positively influencing children’s lives. As an advisor, one of the most rewarding points is the relatively short lead time from decision to impact. This makes a nice change from working in larger organisations where things take longer to implement. With the change leaders you advise, you get the sense that the input of today is going to make real impact in the community tomorrow.
Safety and Security of Employees
Len Hynds, Chief Risk & Security Officer
How does MTG’s security approach intersect with the company’s overall strategy?
MTG is on a journey to become a leading digital video entertainer, and this means our risk profile is evolving very quickly. Stepping into the digital world is extremely exciting, although a broader digital footprint makes us more visible – and potentially vulnerable. Our job in the security team is to work proactively to align MTG’s policies, processes and mindset with this new reality, and to ensure we execute our company strategy in a safe and responsible way.
Where have you focused your efforts over the past year?
During 2016, we concentrated on four key areas, each of which has a significant digital dimension.
First of all, we’ve developed MTG’s cyber-security capability maturity model. This involves assessing every part of the business from the perspective of data and process security, and comparing our findings with industry standards. It’s an ongoing process that is very helpful in establishing the maturity of our processes while identifying any gaps.
An example of improved process security is the information classification and handling guidelines MTG introduced in 2016. These guide employees on how to evaluate and handle information in order to protect sensitive data.
Business resilience, or our capacity to adapt to disruptive events and maintain continuous operations, has also been in focus. Again, we start with a cross-business review and then make an in-depth impact analysis that answers questions such as: What are our critical technology processes? How long can we operate without them? What are our plans for crisis management and continuity?
The other two areas have been the implementation of incident reporting systems (including a mobile app), and the acceleration of MTG’s information security awareness programme.
What are the results of these latter two activities?
The app gives the security team and MTG employees better visibility and notification of any security incidents. It brings structure to MTG’s crisis management and escalation procedures, and combined with our travel security information service, provided very important safety advice to one of our employees who was in Brussels during the 2016 terror attacks in the city. In total, the app has been installed 150 times.
Turning to the awareness programme, we recognize that even the world’s most comprehensive security policy document won’t achieve much unless it translates into behaviour. Starting June 2016, MTG implemented obligatory e-learning to raise information security awareness and ensure everyone knows how to handle sensitive information correctly. So far, 81.3% of MTG employees have taken and passed the course, and in 2017 we’ll offer targeted training on topics such as phishing.
To which associations or advocacy organizations does MTG belong, and what have they achieved in the last 12 months in regards to security?
We’re part of Nordic Content Protection, an anti-piracy organization representing the TV industry in the Nordic countries, as well as the Audio Visual Anti-Piracy Alliance.
Our partnerships have resulted in reduced availability of pirated content. In 2016, two illicit websites serving the Scandinavian markets were closed down, which removed illegal access to over 8,000 movie and TV titles carrying subtitles in the Scandinavian languages. During the year, we also worked with Interpol to support its annual IP crime conference, raise standards with investigators and lobby for greater resources focused on audio visual piracy.
The security team will continue to coordinate MTG’s content protection and anti-piracy efforts in 2017, both internally and externally. Any security question is ultimately a question for the whole industry, and we can achieve even more when we work together.