Our People

Our Approach

At Nielsen, our talent strategy aligns directly with our long-term business strategy. That is, our relentless focus on innovation, technology and efficiency—and the associated transformation of our organization to continue to deliver on our purpose to help our clients and the markets we serve to operate more efficiently—drives our talent development and strategic workforce planning. Through the transformation process, we are working hard to make sure that all of our employees understand our business strategy and how their work contributes to our success in delivering The Science Behind What’s Next™.

Based on market trends and the needs of Nielsen’s business, our current people priorities are to:

  • Lead the transformation of our talent base, ensuring it aligns with and supports the transformation of our business;
  • Attract, engage and retain our top talent, showing why they should be at Nielsen now;
  • Promote a sales culture to focus on sales, drive collaboration across functions and achieve commercial success;
  • Help our associates find new opportunities at the company and develop into leaders; and
  • Invest in our people operations capabilities, to drive even more impact for the business and deliver on our employee value proposition.

Underpinning these present priorities is our long-term commitment to creating a workplace where all employees can be themselves, make a difference and grow with us. That’s our employee value proposition, and to achieve it we aim to foster a workplace culture of creativity, innovation, open-mindedness and fresh thinking. We also know we have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment where associates are compensated fairly and given opportunities for advancement based on merit.

Diversity and inclusion are discussed elsewhere in this report and in their own dedicated report, but we want to underscore here the importance of these issues to Nielsen. Workforce diversity and a culture of inclusion are critical to our growth, strength and ability to innovate. We aim to create a workforce that mirrors the communities we serve; this is essential to delivering on our core business of providing an unparalleled understanding of consumers, everywhere around the world.

In our most recent non-financial materiality assessment, Employee Relations and Future-focused Leadership & Innovation emerged as two of the top seven topics of most importance to our business and to our internal and external stakeholders. To address these challenges, we strive to implement exceptional employee engagement, career development, and training and education programs, in addition to promoting safety on the job, health and wellness and fair labor practices.

Hear directly from our employees for more about how they grow, connect and make a broader impact through their work at Nielsen:

Nancy Phillips, Chief Human Resources Officer, Nielsen


Our purpose is to help our clients and the markets we serve to operate more efficiently. Our Human Resources (HR) team at Nielsen contributes to this purpose every day by empowering our people to help our business succeed.

We are committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders and fostering a culture that rewards innovation. This means that we are laser-focused on ensuring the strongest employee attraction and retention programs and creating an environment in which employees are encouraged to take risks to develop and test new ideas. Our business was founded with this same enterprising spirit by Arthur C. Nielsen in 1923; today our associates carry that memory forward as they develop and bring to life new innovations that will deliver value for our clients, our investors and the communities where we live and work.

Every associate—in every department and at every level—plays a part in delivering what’s next. That means it’s critical for each of us to be clear about the connection between our company’s mission and our own unique contributions. We were reminded how important this link is as we reviewed the results from Nielsen’s first Gallup employee engagement survey, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to reinforce this mission for all associates. This is a key part of our renewed approach to employee engagement and to creating the best possible experience for our associates.

Our employee engagement survey is the first step in how we will create a cultural change at Nielsen. It will help us measure progress across the individual, team and organizational levels. Our associates tell us that our culture is one where a commitment to quality is reflected across all aspects of our organization, and where everyone’s opinion matters. This is a sign that our founding principles of respect and reliability are still very much present today, and that trust and integrity continue to be guiding lights for Nielsen. Engagement levels have a strong cascading pattern, so we will focus on engaging managers in order to create more engaged associates. We also know that we all have a role to play in creating a great work environment for everyone.

As we continue forward in our Path to 2020 and beyond, I’m energized every day by the way our HR team collaborates with our colleagues across Nielsen to deliver on our collective purpose by empowering every single associate to bring their absolute best every day.

“Workforce 2020 will transform the organization, our people and our ability to meet the needs of the markets we serve. It will allow us to develop and engage our employees with skills in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation for the next century.” – Michael Alicea, EVP, Global Human Resources, Nielsen

Workforce 2020 Strategy

As discussed in the Our Company section, Nielsen is in the midst of a long-term evolution from being primarily a services company that utilizes technology to being a technology company that provides services. Our Path to 2020 outlines how we are doing this in the immediate term. The plan includes significant investments in process automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, including automating our Buy data collection and Watch operations end-to-end across the company.

These changes have obvious and significant impacts on our workforce—on how many people we employ and where, and on what jobs they do. To ensure that our workforce keeps pace with the changes in our business, we’ve developed a Workforce 2020 strategy that aligns with our Path to 2020.

Workforce 2020 is a talent strategy that sets up our business to perform at its absolute best. We are reviewing our talent at every stage, starting with hiring. We’re making sure that we select the right candidates to help accelerate our business growth and with the desire to accelerate their own careers as well. For our current associates, we are doubling down on identifying new opportunities that align with key business needs—opening up not only new leadership roles, but also roles to broaden their experiences.

With the shift to being more of a technology company, associates will also have the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. We began a sales transformation effort to help our client facing teams position Nielsen more effectively to better meet the needs of our clients. For other associates, new learning programs are being developed to upskill and retrain them.

We have a proven track record of evolving with consumer technology as consumer habits have changed dramatically over the years—whether it’s across radio, cable TV, satellite and digital on the Watch side of our business, or across traditional, modern and specialty trade and e-commerce on the Buy side. Just as we are helping clients strengthen and protect their business for the future, Workforce 2020 will help our people stay ahead of these changes and set us up for long-term success.

“My passion for understanding consumers affords me the opportunity to make an impact in the marketplace. Whether it’s hearing consumer feedback about product improvement and innovation, understanding why consumers began shopping online for groceries, or diving into the dynamics of how digital distribution can transform the video experience for consumers, I help bring clarity to an increasingly confusing landscape.” – Ronjan, VP, Media Analytics, New York City #ExperienceNielsen

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the emotional and psychological connection our associates feel about their workplace and the work that we do. It’s about belonging, commitment, growth and teamwork. And ultimately, it helps lead to both individual and business success.

At Nielsen, we aim to engage all of our associates through the Nielsen Employee Experience, which focuses on the three aspects of our employee value proposition:

  • Be Yourself: We seek to enable associates to be their best selves, offer unique and varied perspectives, and respect and embrace the diverse perspectives of our colleagues.
  • Make a Difference: Every Nielsen associate has the ability and the power to make a positive impact on our company, our clients, our teams and colleagues, and the communities in which we live and work.
  • Grow With Us: Nielsen encourages each associate to own their career by sharing their career goals, engaging in learning and development programs, and indicating their willingness to rotate into a new or expanded role.

We recently launched a new, multi-year strategy to strengthen employee engagement at Nielsen. The first step has been to catalog what we are already doing, as a baseline for understanding what gaps may exist and to measure progress. In order to track our progress on an ongoing basis, we maintain open communication channels and feedback mechanisms that help to deepen connections between leaders and their teams and ensure that all associates feel connected no matter where they work within the company.

The following are some examples that reflect our overall approach to employee engagement:

  • We encourage “check-in” discussions between managers and their direct reports every 90 days, in addition to annual reviews. During these check-ins, managers provide feedback on job performance and discuss associates’ career and skill development, future aspirations, work-life balance and any other issues that may affect job satisfaction. These career development review resources are available to 100% of our associates.
  • Our regular Manager Excellence webinar series enables managers throughout Nielsen to learn from our senior leaders. Each webinar focuses on a single topic and features a leader who shares his or her real-world experiences and stories, to bring the lessons to life.
  • We encourage associates to take part in activities such as our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Green Teams and Nielsen Cares volunteer opportunities.
  • Our Town Hall meetings provide a venue for leaders to share information with associates, recognize outstanding performance and engage in two-way dialogue. These meetings are broadcast globally, so associates who work remotely or in the field are able to join via computers and mobile devices. While Town Hall meetings are held at different frequencies within each functional unit or regional geography, we typically hold global Town Hall meetings once per quarter.
  • Our senior leader roadshows enable associates around the world to meet with our leaders when they are traveling. During these interactive discussions—team meetings, lunch and learns or more informal meet-and-greet sessions—associates can ask questions and engage directly with business leaders on a variety of topics. We often use Google Hangouts so remote teams can join in the discussions.
  • Our Google Plus (G+) communities enable Nielsen associates to connect on a variety of topics, including career growth, learning and development, our ERGs and more. In our all-Nielsen G+ community, any associate can submit a question directly to our CEO.

In 2017, we began partnering with Gallup to gauge employees’ level of engagement via a companywide survey. The survey includes Gallup’s 12 simple, proprietary questions, available in multiple languages, that tie directly to measurable performance outcomes that have been proven to demonstrate effective employee engagement. We have been transparent about the results, sharing them with senior leaders, managers and with all associates through our all-company newsletter, global town halls and in manager-led team discussions. Managers are expected to develop team-specific action plans based on the survey results, focusing on areas that are important to the team and where they can make meaningful progress. This survey will be conducted annually to measure our progress.

“I love that Nielsen doesn’t develop entry-level associates by pushing them through a leadership development factory just to have them all come out the same. Instead, the company provides opportunities and presents challenges that allow associates to grow up with Nielsen, be themselves along the way and make real and lasting differences.” – Michael, Finance Business Partner, Global Data Science, Chicago #ExperienceNielsen

Career Development

We seek to recruit new talent effectively and efficiently, integrate new hires into our culture, and help associates grow their careers in ways that leverage their strengths, meet their personal aspirations and meet the needs of the business.


To succeed as a company, we need the right people in the right jobs. In line with the “grow with us” tenet of the Nielsen Employee Experience, we seek to hire from within. In 2016, we launched an internal portal to provide our associates with easier access to information about open positions at Nielsen globally. In 2017, 27% of open positions were filled by internal candidates; in 2016, 28% of open positions were filled by internal candidates.

When hiring externally, we work hard to ensure the right fit. All university hires attend in-office sessions where we can observe how they engage with a diverse group of associates—from first-year analysts to senior executives—and with each other in a variety of formal and informal settings. For more-experienced hires, we try to create a similar dynamic—an office visit with a diverse group of interviewers and informal discussions.

In early 2018, we began contracting with an external candidate assessment vendor that uses neuroscience games and artificial intelligence to predictively match people with jobs that are the right fit for them. The tool assesses candidates through 25 minutes of game play, which reveals their skills and abilities with more accuracy and less bias than systems that rely on resumé review. We will be rolling out this new tool globally (with a couple of exceptions, for data privacy reasons) in 2018.

To ensure we consider and hire more diverse candidates, we require diverse candidate slates—at least one woman and one person of color must be included as candidates for each open position. We are also rolling out trainings on unconscious bias, to educate our managers about biases in their hiring practices that they may not even be aware of. Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) often assist with recruitment through candidate referrals and recruitment events at universities. In 2016, we had 197 ERG employee referrals and 35 university recruitment events hosted by ERGs.

We are also committed to expanding our talent recruitment channels to include candidates with non-traditional backgrounds or career histories. Similar to our commitment to impact sourcing, we seek to increase the number of associates we recruit from non-traditional channels in order to provide a path to employment for those who may otherwise be excluded.

Barbara Lee, VP, Global Talent Acquisition, Nielsen

Exciting changes are happening in our talent acquisition process—specifically, improving how we assess candidates for job opportunities. Nielsen’s mission and focus is to improve our clients’ businesses and the economies we serve. We’re committed to applying the same approach to our people—to improve the way we recruit, engage and develop our talent.

When I took over as our global leader for Talent Acquisition in 2017, our team took a fresh look at how we could more closely align our talent acquisition process with Nielsen’s overall mission.

In early 2018, we began working with an outside company to help us reduce bias, enhance the candidate experience, and ultimately make it easier to hire the best talent both internally and externally. This company is a recognized leader in the application of neuroscience and artificial intelligence to the process of matching people with jobs where they’ll perform at their best. Using a game-based approach, we’ve mapped out what it takes to succeed across all the various job profiles—or “job families”—at Nielsen.

By inviting current associates and new job candidates to play these research-tested behavioral games, we are able to assess cognitive and emotional traits to arrive at a “fit score” for each candidate, mapping back to our Nielsen job families. Machine learning allows us to create prediction algorithms to assess career fit, without considering any demographic information that could potentially add bias into the process. Candidates who meet the fit score thresholds move on to later interview stages with our recruiters and hiring managers.

Does this more automated process mean we’re looking for people who are all alike? No—we recognize there are lots of different ways for a person to be a good fit. We’re looking for people whose traits—however they might manifest—indicate they’d be a good fit. It’s this diversity across all aspects—including thought process, experience and behavioral traits—that we know makes our teams, and our company, stronger.

This proven scientific approach allows us to remove bias from our talent acquisition screening process and enhance the candidate experience from all angles. Our talent acquisition professionals can now focus more time on the value-added aspects of their jobs that require meaningful human interaction, both with candidates and with our internal hiring managers.

After four months of due diligence, we have established robust and bias-free job family profiles and launched our new candidate assessments. We look forward to measuring the positive outcomes and sharing these in due course.

This is far from the end of our journey. We’re also focused on providing a more consistent approach to talent acquisition throughout the candidate path to hire (e.g., offering asynchronous video interviewing). We’re committed to continuing to put the latest science into action to benefit all of Nielsen’s people.


We work to successfully integrate employees into the company from day one. We want new hires to feel capable, understand our culture, have clarity about their roles and feel connected to their new team and to the broader Nielsen community.

In 2017, our Talent Engagement & Development team rolled out an enhanced onboarding process to ensure that all new Nielsen employees have a consistently positive experience during their first 30 days, and to help managers understand their role in making this happen.

Called the First 30, this onboarding initiative starts with pre-boarding, to ensure that all new hires are set up for success with access to the technology and systems they need to do their job. New hires are then invited to attend Discover Nielsen, a digital experience that provides a welcome from our CEO, an overview of the company and our culture—including our focus on diversity and inclusion—an introduction to growing their careers, and an overview of our global responsibility and sustainability programs, among other key topics. This experience also emphasizes the value of integrity in everything that we do.

As they continue through their first 30 days at the company, new associates can access our new onboarding website, which serves as a one-stop resource for information about training, benefits, travel and expenses, and technical support, among other key topics. The First 30 program also includes manager and HR guides to onboarding, and our G+ new hire community to help new associates get settled and feel more connected.

To track the effectiveness of the First 30 experience and continually improve the new hire experience, we regularly seek guidance from an onboarding network composed of global colleagues to make continuous, incremental improvements.

Talent Development & Review

We believe that managing one’s career development and growth should be an ongoing collaboration between each associate, their manager and their broader Nielsen community. Each associate owns their career, while managers are encouraged to support associates’ aspirations and invest in their futures. Our career development framework encourages time for self-reflection and the development of career goals as well as opportunities for skill development and growth.

Through myCareer, our Career Management system, every associate can create an employee profile—similar to an online resumé or LinkedIn profile—to outline areas such as their career background, experiences, product knowledge, technical skills, languages spoken and career aspirations. The system also enables associates to “raise their hand” to indicate they are ready to take on a new opportunity or role. Hiring managers can then view the profiles of associates who have indicated their interest in new opportunities and select potential candidates who may be a good fit for open roles.

Twice a year, we conduct talent reviews—when our HR team and business leaders do a deep dive into their organizations to plan for leadership succession, talent movements and development paths for our associates.

We also offer a number of mentoring programs that provide valuable learning experiences for both mentor and mentee, matching associates with mentors who can support their career objectives. We encourage these mentoring relationships both within and beyond an associate’s business unit, country or region.

Finally, our Diverse Leadership Network and Senior Leader Sponsorship Program help to increase the diversity of our workforce, especially our management and leadership teams. Both are discussed in the Diversity & Inclusion section.

For more information about careers at Nielsen, see our Nielsen career stories webpage and our Nielsen Next video series.

Sujit Dasmunshi, SVP, Talent Engagement & Development, Nielsen

Our Talent Engagement & Development (TED) team enables the identification, engagement and development of associates to drive better business outcomes for Nielsen. Our mission as a company is to provide measurement services that will ultimately enable greater efficiency and improvement in the marketplace. Our ability to deliver on that mission starts with our people.

To empower all associates to contribute to our collective mission, we leverage our focus on talent development to foster a spirit of growth and innovation, starting with employee engagement. This isn’t just part of our commitment to the broader Nielsen organization, it’s a commitment we’ve made to each other as a TED team as well. We recognize the strategic advantage that our team’s diverse talents, backgrounds and experiences bring to this shared purpose and to our ability to make an impact on Nielsen. It’s the same for all teams and functions across the company—diversity adds value.

For the TED team, driving employee engagement is our number one priority. Engaged employees drive business success, with tangible measures such as increased productivity and client satisfaction. To enable engagement, we nurture a company culture and environment where we can help all our associates connect to our mission, encourage transparent goal-setting and recognize incremental progress. Ultimately, our goal is to help associates realize their full potential and have the best Nielsen employee experience.

Engagement isn’t just an HR priority—it’s one of Nielsen’s key strategic priorities. Our senior leaders take every opportunity to highlight this during their interactions with associates and all leaders in their teams. We are also equipping managers at all levels to drive engagement. Through our Manager Excellence platform, for example, we equip people leaders with the skills needed to show vulnerability, generate trust with their teams and have the quality conversations needed to engage people.

We’re also committed to connecting engagement to performance management, no matter where associates are in their careers at Nielsen. Leadership is critical in all of this; our TED team also focuses on improving the capability of our leaders and people managers in order to impact employee experience and retention across all functions and geographies.

As a TED team, we only succeed if we deeply care about the internal customers we serve every day. We must constantly engage with them—listening and translating their needs and problems, then defining and refining the tools, capabilities and processes we build to enable our collective success. 

Training & Education

As Nielsen continues to innovate and drive automation over the next several years, our employees must also grow and evolve their knowledge, skills and leadership capabilities. Employee training and education will help us drive this transformation more effectively and efficiently.

We have robust training programs that are helping to build technical skills and leadership competencies across the company. For example, our state-of-the-art myLearning portal provides associates with access to training on soft skills, product knowledge, leadership development, technical skills and beyond. myLearning also features modules about Nielsen’s global responsibility and sustainability efforts, including information about how associates can engage and make an impact through Nielsen Cares and Nielsen GreenOur myLearning trainings offer a blended approach to education, including in-person classroom training, virtual classroom training, online courses, videos and book summaries.

Nielsen is particularly committed to building leadership skills, as these have a direct impact on business performance, employee engagement and helping our clients address critical business issues. We have seen the multiplier effect of leadership across our business and teams—when a leader gets better, everyone wins. We offer leadership development programs for associates at all levels including:

  • The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), for early-career associates. Within the ELP, we maintain tracks for associates across HR, Finance and our Commercial business;
  • Workshops for mid-level leaders on a path to more senior positions;
  • Functional and business area Leadership Forums;
  • The Diverse Leadership Network, for mid-career, high-performing diverse talent;
  • The Nielsen Leadership Program (NLP), for those at a more senior level; and
  • The Global Leadership Program (GLP), for those at the most senior level in our global organization.

The NLP and GLP focus on linking our business strategy to the skills and behaviors required to lead, through the use of senior in-house and external faculty, including collaborations with some of the best research institutions in the world. For example, we have been working with the Stanford Graduate School of Business on the GLP, with the school hosting one of the two residential weeks of the program. The content of our leadership programs is future-focused, developing skills and behaviors required of leaders in a world that is constantly changing. Topics such as leading with integrity, handling morally ambiguous situations and tackling unintentional bias also feature prominently.

In addition, our Manager Excellence program empowers new and experienced managers to develop and improve their core management skills and knowledge. This curriculum focuses on three key behaviors: managing the business, leading teams and developing people. It also includes a focus on leading with integrity, including how managers should (and should not) handle integrity reports that come to them.

We work with Harvard Manage Mentor to offer all associates (including non-managers) a variety of soft skills training (e.g., career management, time management and project management). We also create new training modules as needed to support associates in specific functional areas. For our client-facing associates, for example, we have created courses to support skill development in areas such as client engagement and managing sales processes.

We also train associates in Business Process Improvement (BPI), including training to become BPI “Black Belts.” High performers who demonstrate strong influencing and consultative skills, and have a proven track record of success, are well-suited to this program. BPI participants receive training and certification on Six Sigma, Lean, Change Management and other vital leadership competencies.

Finally, Nielsen offers internship programs and apprenticeships for those just getting started in their careers, based on specific business needs. Since 2016, we have offered students the unique opportunity to complete a fellowship at the Nielsen Media Lab, where they can leverage Nielsen’s resources to research a topic of their choosing. In the United Kingdom, we offer apprenticeships in innovation and growth, business administration and chartered business management. These programs span several years and include rotations through a wide portfolio of Nielsen’s businesses, products, services and functions while also enabling participants to earn college credit.

We track the effectiveness of all of our training programs by measuring internal role changes, retention, international job transfers and other measures.

As we continue to evolve as a company—and work to meet our associates’ needs in providing new opportunities to learn and grow—we recognize our responsibility to also provide opportunities to “re-skill” and “up-skill” associates who will be taking on new career paths, whether as a result of changing technological trends or new areas of interest. We are continually focused on expanding our training offerings for associates to meet these needs.

Looking forward, we established a goal in 2016 to meet the industry average of 32.4 training hours per associate by 2020. In 2016, our associates spent the equivalent of 2.1 working days on average in training programs; in 2017, they spent the equivalent of 1.8 working days on average in training programs.

“I recently returned to Nielsen after a few years working for one of our clients. The two main reasons that brought me back were the culture and the company’s readiness and aspirations in the digital age. Nielsen gives you freedom, support and great teamwork, which allows my colleagues and me to reach our potential and truly drive our careers forward.” – Asko, Global Client Manager, Oxford, U.K. #ExperienceNielsen

Employee Well-Being

Nielsen is committed to creating a culture of health and well-being and to giving associates and their families the resources they need to live healthier lives. Our Whole You program focuses not just on physical health—though that’s an essential part—but also on the emotional, financial, social and environmental well-being of our associates.

The Whole You online interactive platform provides associates with self-assessments, tools, resources and guides to holistic wellness in areas such as nutrition, exercise, stress management and work-life balance. In 2017, we offered 40 well-being webinars attended by over 13,000 associates. We also offer a variety of wellness initiatives at office locations around the world, ranging from webinars on stress management to financial planning, yoga and other exercise classes, chair massages, and healthy eating and cooking fairs. Some Nielsen locations also offer monthly onsite visits from holistic health and wellness coaches, nutritionists and exercise experts.

We are committed to ensuring that our HR Business Partners and People Leaders recognize the signs and symptoms of an associate in need of emotional assistance or intervention. We conducted a training in 2016 and 2017, which was attended by more than 850 managers and supervisors, specifically designed to provide them with the information and tools necessary to ensure the safety of the associate and fellow co-workers. We held a similar training for associates that was attended by more than 2,000. Both programs will be offered at least annually. Additionally, we offered 11 emotional well-being webinars attended by more than 3,000 associates on subjects such as work-life balance, stress reduction and resiliency.  

Our Global Step Up Challenge is a month-long competition in which associates form teams and compete at the country, location and business unit level to see which team can collectively walk the greatest number of steps during the challenge. We also held a global nutrition challenge in which associates chose four healthy habits (such as eat more vegetables, drink more water, or incorporate healthy fats and whole grains into their diet) to work on over a month. Both of these voluntary challenges provide opportunities for associates to set goals and encourage one another, no matter where they are on their health and wellness journey.

In 2017, we provided Nielsen locations around the world with a set of global coverage guidelines that outline the types of programs they should have in place in each of the areas of physical well-being, emotional well-being, financial well-being and environmental and social well-being. We then provided a scorecard and asked sites to self-score their programs to see how well they are meeting these global guidelines. With the help of our global Compensation & Benefits leaders, 100% of the targeted worksites (all global sites with 50+ employees) completed the scorecard, representing approximately 150 worksites in 68 countries and about 70% of Nielsen’s global employee population. We’re incredibly happy with the results: 96% of the worksites received either a bronze, silver or gold certification, meaning that at least four of the 14 guidelines were met. Nearly half (70 worksites) received gold level certification, meaning at least 10 of the 14 guidelines were met. We will use the insights from the scorecards to help formulate a global well-being strategy going forward.

To help ensure a healthy work-life balance, we have implemented myTime, where there is no maximum limit on vacation days that associates can take in a year. myTime gives associates the flexibility and autonomy to manage their work time and decide when and how much vacation time to take. It enables associates to take the time to follow their own passions, explore and recharge with friends and family throughout the year.

We take seriously our commitment to proactive stress management measures and efforts to reduce employee stress overall. One way we deliver on this commitment is by providing webinars focused on mental health topics as an optional benefit for employees; we had six such webinars in 2016 and increased this to 11 in 2017.

We offer all the benefits you’d expect from an industry-leading company, including a wide array of medical insurance benefits for associates, spouses and domestic partners; life insurance; a 401(k) savings program; 10 weeks of paid maternity leave; two weeks of paid parental leave; and more. We believe family well-being plays a central role in employee health and well-being; our goal is to provide support to Nielsen colleagues and families. In the U.S., we work with Bright Horizons to provide support to families in need of child care and elder care as well as other services such as college admissions support.

Also in the U.S., those covered through our medical plans can earn annual premium discounts for healthy or improved weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, as well as for being tobacco-free (or completing a cessation program), through our voluntary Healthy Measures program. Additionally, U.S. employees are eligible for a Get Healthy Rewards Program reimbursement to cover out-of-pocket costs for fitness classes, gyms, bike-share programs or weight-reduction programs.

We’re proud to have received recognitions recently for our health and wellness initiatives. In 2017, for example, Nielsen was named one of the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles®, which recognizes employers that are committed to improving their employees’ physical health, productivity, overall quality of life, financial security and emotional and social connectedness. We also earned second place in The Plan Sponsor Council of America 2017 Signature Awards, which recognize excellence in retirement plan communications.

In 2016, we established the Nielsen Global Support Fund, through which associates can apply for grants in times of personal hardship or natural disaster, as well as donate to fellow associates in need. In 2017, grants were made to associates across 12 countries.

Wayne Pollard, Human Resources Business Partner, Technology & Operations, Nielsen

I first started working on the implementation project team for the Global Support Fund in July of 2015 when I joined Nielsen as an HR Emerging Leader. It was the focus of my first rotation with the Global Compensation & Benefits team. I’ve always been passionate about public service and philanthropy, so it is no surprise that what started off as a rotation project turned into a +1 assignment that I just couldn’t let go of.

When I think of the Global Support Fund, the first thing that comes to mind is our company value “Personal.” Although the Global Support Fund did not officially launch until 2016, we found that our associates had already been taking a personal stake in the lives of their fellow associates who had been dealing with personal hardships and disasters. Those associates would organize charity events and drives just to help associates who needed a helping hand, even if they didn’t know them personally. The Global Support Fund was launched so that we could provide a global platform that was built and maintained by our associates, for our associates.

Although I am honored to be a part of the team that administers the Global Support Fund, it never feels good to receive an email from an associate or their HR Business Partner notifying me that the associate has experienced some life-altering disaster. However, it definitely feels great to be in a position to partner with Nielsen Cares and the Benefits team, who are dedicated to helping provide associates with the support and hope that they need to make it through those tough times. In 2017 alone, the fund was able to distribute $63,140 in grants to 23 associates in need across eight countries. I look forward to all the help that Nielsen associates will be able to contribute to each other in 2018 and beyond.

Occupational Safety

Our workforce is predominantly based in offices, where occupational safety issues are minimal. However, we do have a significant population of field associates who recruit and maintain research panelists, visit retail stores for inventory tracking and service Nielsen equipment. These associates are critical to our success as a company, and we strive to ensure that they stay safe on the job. The most common health and safety issues they face are slip-and-fall injuries and traffic accidents.

Nielsen maintains workers’ compensation safety guidelines and manager training presentations to equip our associates with the tools they need to prevent—and, as needed, to report—work-related injuries or illnesses. We maintain quarterly loss analysis data for record-keeping and loss prevention purposes. For associates who drive as a function of their job, we provide a fleet safety manual and safety training.

For our Television Audience Measurement Operations in the U.S., we maintain a safety committee that looks at ways to help reduce safety risks that might result in workers’ compensation claims and auto losses. In 2017, this committee created and implemented a field operations safety training, which is being used with new hires and as an annual refresher for existing hires. The committee also created a safety dashboard, to give managers an up-to-date look at workers’ compensation claims and auto loss data. The committee continues to work on additional issues including personal safety devices, procedures for avoiding exposure to contagious diseases, and drug screening and testing.

For all Nielsen associates and offices, we have a set of emergency response guidelines that provide hour-by-hour instructions for how leaders should communicate and escalate emergencies or safety issues.

Labor Practices & Compensation

Nielsen was founded on the principles of integrity, honesty, fairness, respect and reliability, and we continue to value these principles today and put them into practice as we manage our workforce. As discussed in the Diversity & Inclusion section, we have an Anti-Discrimination Policy that precludes discrimination in our workforce on the basis of religion, race, gender, age, disability and sexual orientation, and we are implementing numerous programs to help ensure we have a diverse and inclusive labor force. As discussed in the Risk Management and Supply Chain sections, we also have a strong commitment to human rights and have published a Commitment to Human Rights that outlines our approach to the issue in our own operations and in our supply chain.

We also fully support workers’ right to freely associate and bargain collectively. Approximately 30% of Nielsen employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements and local works councils. In the European Union, 100% of Nielsen employees are covered by the European Works Council (EWC). We consult with the EWC regularly and give them time to issue opinions and/or recommendations about significant business decisions.

Nielsen is committed to providing appropriate pay and benefits for all associates, commensurate with the work being performed and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Our associates are rewarded and promoted based on performance against priorities and how they live the Nielsen values. Similar roles may have different pay levels due to factors such as the overall performance of the business and team, the associate’s experience, geographic location and market conditions.

Our pay philosophy is to provide a total compensation package that is market-competitive based on data provided by independent third parties, and that also provides opportunity for pay growth and role progression based on individual contribution and company performance. We regularly review our compensation practices to ensure they are equitable and support our pay-for-performance philosophy and culture of diversity and inclusion. We have robust employee data on gender globally and on race and ethnicity in the U.S., so for these two areas we conduct periodic audits to ensure that our pay outcomes reflect our commitment. In 2016, women at Nielsen at the executive level earned—on average—97% of the base salary of their male counterparts; at the management level women earned 95%; and at the non-management level they earned 109%. In 2017, women at Nielsen at the executive level earned—on average—103% of the base salary of their male counterparts; at the management level women earned 95%; and at the non-management level they earned 107%.

We are currently conducting a detailed pay equity analysis that will be completed in 2018. To do this, we developed a scientific and statistically driven analytic method to assess the gender pay gap. The method controls for variables that may influence pay (such as performance, experience, location, tenure and other factors) and will be applied consistently and globally. Should we find a statistically significant difference in pay between men and women in similar jobs, we will develop action plans to close any gaps.

Nielsen’s compensation programs include several short-term incentive programs, including the global Annual Incentive Plan (which covers approximately 11,000 employees and rewards individual contributions to producing superior business results) and Sales Incentive Plans (which reward client-facing associates based on their growing our relationships with existing clients or expanding our services to new clients). We also offer long-term incentive plans through our equity plan. Restricted Stock Unit and/or Stock Option awards are granted annually to senior-level and professional associates. Furthermore, our Employee Stock Purchase Plan allows associates at all levels of the company the opportunity to purchase Nielsen stock on a quarterly basis at a 5% discount.

People Analytics

At Nielsen, we know that data makes for better decision-making. That’s why we have embraced employee-related analytics—the use of data about our associates and our company (e.g., demographics, hiring rates, role changes, job openings, etc.) to optimize business outcomes and create a better employee experience for all our associates.

Chris Louie, SVP, People Analytics & Talent Acquisition, Nielsen

Analytics is at the core of how Nielsen creates value for clients. We produce data and insights that clients use to make better decisions and improve their businesses. Applying this same approach to our talent—making better talent-related decisions that improve our employees’ experiences and lead to a more effective and efficiently run workforce—is a natural fit. That’s what people analytics is all about.

People analytics is still a relatively nascent discipline within HR organizations. As such, it often takes the form of a small group of experts working on ad hoc projects to which a limited set of senior leaders are exposed, due to the sensitivity of the data. It’s also typically associated with massive data sets and complicated statistical models that tend to scare away most.

We have a very different view of people analytics at Nielsen. We believe it should be liberating as opposed to limiting. Thousands of talent-related decisions are made every day by associates across the organization and at all levels, so the optimal situation is to get data and insights in the hands of the broad organization as opposed to a select few. While special projects that require a greater level of expertise will still be necessary, most of the value from people analytics will come from enabling the hundreds of HR leaders and thousands of managers around the world to be better informed about our people and take action.

We also start with business outcomes first, as opposed to analysis first—the end as opposed to the means. Our vision is that people analytics will give our organization “HR super powers.” These include:

  • Instant answers to talent-related questions;
  • A constant read on the pulse of the organization;
  • A sixth sense of when action needs to be taken;
  • Deep insights on major talent issues and areas; and
  • A view into future talent needs and trends.

Realizing this vision will take our ability to manage our workforce, create opportunities for our employees and improve our talent to a fundamentally higher level.

We are building the capabilities we need to achieve this on a few different dimensions:

  • Our data: Data is the lifeblood of any analytic effort. People data is notoriously messy and disconnected. We have a significant effort underway to improve the quality and completeness of our people data and integrate it with other critical data sets (e.g., financial, operational).
  • Our technology: Data only becomes valuable when it is accessible and usable. We are launching an analytics platform that brings our people data to bear in the form of use case driven reporting (e.g., understanding workforce trends, major drivers of attrition, the efficiency of our hiring process), with the ability to see aggregated insights and drill down to individual information to take action.
  • Our people: We are increasing the analytic capabilities of our HR associates through a People Analytics Community of Practice, which provides training and access to resources (e.g., current tools, past studies) and promotes the sharing of best practices across the organization.
  • Our approach: We are putting the policies and processes in place to ensure we protect the privacy of our associates around the world, utilizing data in ways that are transparent and beyond reproach.

We are applying people analytics today to address our biggest priorities. Workforce planning is the basis for our Path to 2020 efforts. We are studying our employee engagement results to identify the biggest opportunities for improvement and the most effective teams and practices for others to emulate. We are determining ways to optimize our hiring processes, improve retention, increase diversity and manage our workforce more efficiently.

The early dividends from our work are substantial and energizing. But the most exciting part of it is that we’ve just scratched the surface of what people analytics can deliver for Nielsen and its people.


Workforce Data