OUR PEOPLE

Our Approach

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Founded on the principles of integrity, honesty, fairness, respect and reliability, Nielsen is a place where employees can be themselves, make a difference and grow with us.

By fostering an environment of creativity, open-mindedness and fresh thinking from diverse perspectives, we shape future business leaders through exceptional training, development and mentoring programs. At Nielsen, we know that we are most successful when our associates can create their own experiences. The three tenets of our Nielsen Employee Experience are:

  • You can be yourself: Our associates closely reflect the consumers and markets that we measure every day. We are guided by our values and diverse perspectives–new ideas are not only embraced, but encouraged. Nielsen supports an environment where associates can operate at their best.
  • You can make a difference: Through the work that we do at Nielsen, we can make an impact on our clients, teams, colleagues and community. This concept embraces the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to serving our clients and communities that have driven our business forward for over 90 years.
  • You can grow with us: When our associates grow, Nielsen grows. We encourage associates to grow their careers and develop as individuals, as part of a team and as leaders. We support our associates’ aspirations, while recognizing that growth means different things to different people at different times.

We are proud of our competitive benefits and salary offerings. We respect and adhere to the local laws that govern the workplace and the rights of all our employees around the world.

Nielsen actively recruits associates at universities, identifying high-potential candidates through internships and outreach. This is part of our overall effort to be an employer of choice and an “academy company,” an organization that our current and future associates recognize as a place to both start their careers and grow as leaders.

In many parts of the world, our on-campus presence is enhanced by innovative business case competitions giving students invaluable opportunities to work with our data and simulate the work we do in providing analysis, insights and advice to our clients. Our leaders provide pro bono support to universities and students through lecturing, workshops and coaching engagements. In Europe, Nielsen is an active partner in Alliance for Youth, an inspirational movement to promote the employability and employment opportunities for young people.

In leadership development, we invest heavily in the identification, assessment, development and movement of our top talent. Our Leadership Forums at both the global level (Global Leadership Program and Nielsen Leadership Forum) and the regional level (Regional Leadership Forums) find innovative ways to link business strategy to the skills and behaviors required to lead, through full use of senior in-house and external faculty, including partnerships with some of the best research institutions in the world. In each of these programs we make sure to bring an outside perspective in, listening to the voice of our clients. We invest in helping our leaders understand their strengths and development needs, encouraging each individual to build and execute a plan for personal growth.

A further example of how we develop leaders within Nielsen is through our Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), an unparalleled experience for high-potential, early-career talent. These programs are focused on driving the convergence of data, processes, tools and people while delivering cost leadership. Numerous career paths within the program are available: Finance, Human Resources, Consumer Analytics, Production Leadership and Operations & Technology. Candidates assume roles of increasing responsibility that focus on vital business processes, client engagement and people leadership skills. These assignments provide challenging on-the-job learning and development opportunities. Some programs provide the opportunity for rotating across countries and regions to foster broader cultural awareness and a global mindset.

We evaluate employee satisfaction across a broad range of criteria through our biannual Nielsen Voice survey.

The Nielsen Culture

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The hallmark of our culture is its vitality, guided by our core values of being simple, open and integrated. Three prominent aspects of our culture today are “center-edge” balance, diversity and inclusion and citizenship.

Center-Edge Balance: In large companies, the natural tendency is for decision-making power to gravitate toward and accumulate at the center. But that is the opposite of what is needed in a world of growing complexity and speed. To counter this tendency, we continuously work to shift the balance back—away from the center and toward the edge of our company—closer to the market, closer to our clients, closer to where the action is. The result is that our teams are faster, more innovative and more energized. One way that we encourage this balance and connectedness across Nielsen is through our internal social networking platform available to all associates around the world, Yammer. Associates can communicate with their teams and others across Nielsen through our “All Company” Yammer feed, as well as through Yammer pages for groups like our corporate social responsibility program, Nielsen Cares, our ERGs and others.

Diversity and Inclusion: We operate with conviction that diversity and inclusion is crucial to our growth, strength and ability to innovate. Leveraging diversity in our teams leads to broader and fresher perspectives, more creativity and better decisions. Our data-based evidence validates this, showing that the more diverse our teams are, the better our business results.

Citizenship: We encourage our associates to leverage the platform of our company as they strive to make a difference not only for our clients and shareholders, but also in the lives of their families, their communities and the world. We believe fundamentally that a business needs to care for the markets and communities on which it relies for its business. This role of “citizenship” is one that our colleagues around the world enthusiastically embrace through a number of different functions.

One effort that highlights our positive culture in action is the launch of the Nielsen Global Support Fund in early 2016. The Nielsen Global Support Fund will offer financial grants to employees around the world who are affected by a qualified disaster or personal adversity and allows associates to voluntarily donate directly to fellow employees in need. The Emergency Assistance Foundation, a 501(c)(3), administers the fund and grant process.

Labor Practices

Our associates represent the diverse consumers and markets that we measure every day. Cultivating this diversity and maintaining an inclusive work environment are crucial to the continued success of our business.

We create an environment where no individual is advantaged or disadvantaged because of their background. That is to say, we offer equal opportunities through employment to qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability status, age, marital status or protected veteran status.

With a strong commitment to maintaining a bias-free environment where harassment is prohibited, we respect cultural diversity and comply with the local laws of the countries in which we operate. We expect the same from our business partners and suppliers, our associates and our clients.

Please visit our Content Index for information about our labor practice grievance mechanisms.

Occupational Safety

Workplace safety is a business imperative. Our information services workforce is predominantly office-based; 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. Due to the nature of our business, we recognize that our field associates play a critical role in our ability to deliver for our clients. Through their direct engagement efforts with Nielsen panelists, these associates are integral to our overall success. The most common health and safety issues for our field associates are slip-and-fall injuries and traffic accidents.

In the event of any type of worker injury, 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—any work-related injuries or illnesses that employees may experience. For record-keeping and loss prevention purposes, Nielsen maintains quarterly loss analysis data to document our commitment to safety. For our associates who drive as a function of their job at Nielsen, we provide a fleet safety manual and additional safety training and resources.

Additionally, for all Nielsen associates and offices, Nielsen maintains a set of emergency response guidelines to provide hour-by-hour instructions for how leaders should communicate and escalate emergencies or safety issues, along with full-time Nielsen executive escalation contacts. Nielsen also maintains workers’ compensation training and other related resources.

Health and Wellness

Nielsen offers medical insurance benefits and wellness programs for its associates, and we’ve also expanded our focus to promote total well-being and encourage engagement in activities such as exercise, healthy eating, stress management, resilience and volunteering. In addition to employees enrolled in a Nielsen medical plan, covered spouses and domestic partners can also earn annual premium discounts for healthy or improved weight (BMI or waist), blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose/A1c and for being tobacco-free (or completing a cessation program) through our voluntary Healthy Measures Program in the U.S.

Associates in the U.S. also have access to a program called “The Whole You.” This is an online, interactive program that provides associates with self-assessments, tools, resources and guides to holistic wellness in areas like nutrition, exercise, stress management and work/life balance. This program reflects our promise to create a culture of health and give our employees and their families the tools and resources they need to live healthier lives. Nielsen also offers a “Whole You Walk-Off Challenge” each year for associates in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia to provide incentives for associates who track 50,000-plus steps each week.

Regarding fitness programs, U.S. employees are eligible for a Get Healthy Rewards Program with reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs for fitness classes, gyms, bike-share programs or weight-reduction programs. Some onsite fitness equipment and classes are also offered throughout the U.S., like a regular onsite training session with a certified personal trainer offered through the Women in Nielsen (WIN) ERG. For health and nutrition, one-on-one and group coaching is offered in the U.S., along with incentives for the completion of programs.

Health and Wellness

Nielsen maintains formal health and safety committees in Italy, Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia, and we have assigned safety delegates in Sweden. In Canada, the U.S. and India, a network of volunteer Nielsen Wellness Ambassadors provide support at the local level, collaborating with their fellow employees to share information and best practices about how associates can take advantage of existing resources to further their health goals. With the support of the full-time Benefits staff, Wellness Ambassadors lead activities like:

  • Assisting with the coordination of annual Healthy Measures screenings and/or flu shot clinics for their local offices;
  • Promoting corporate health and wellness initiatives for their local offices; and
  • Sponsoring local health-related events at least once a quarter.

Training and Education

The information services industry is a quickly changing environment, with new technologies and market shifts rapidly affecting Nielsen’s client base. A large and growing number of companies around the world rely on us for their consumer information needs because we strive to drive positive outcomes and value for their business. By focusing on the learning and development needs of our associates, we are better equipped to respond to and anticipate these client needs.

Nielsen’s Talent Engagement and Development team enables identification, engagement and development of our talent globally to drive better business outcomes. As part of our overall strategy to attract, engage, grow, reward and recognize our associates, this global team focuses on:

  • Proactively identifying our associates’ skills, ensuring the right people are in the right roles to support career growth and Nielsen’s success;
  • Helping associates transition to new roles to achieve a global streamlined onboarding process;
  • Engaging in ongoing conversations to provide associates with the learning tools and resources that will have the greatest impact;
  • Enabling associates to develop based on their interests and own their growth, both in their current role and beyond; and
  • Investing in our managers and leaders, equipping and empowering them to lead and shape our business.

As Nielsen becomes an even more globally connected company with technology as a key learning enabler, we strive to further connect learning to the Nielsen Employee Experience and make it easier for our associates to find out about learning opportunities.

To drive a culture of learning, we have focused on the 70:20:10 learning and development framework, which gives guidance about how we most effectively learn the skills we need to do our jobs. This framework proposes that 70% of learning and development comes through on-the-job experience, 20% from social learning through networking and more informal conversations and social interaction and 10% from formal courses and programs. With this framework as a guide, we recognize the importance of driving informal learning alongside formal learning, ensuring that our associates’ development doesn’t stop after the course ends. To that end, we are focused on providing tools to drive collaboration and enable the application of formal and informal learning on the job.

With all of this in mind, Nielsen encourages employees to embrace our culture of ongoing, continual learning. We offer employees instructor-led classroom training, outside educational opportunities and, more recently, an increasing range of e-learning options through our myLearning Network platform—a powerful learning management system that makes cutting-edge learning technology in relevant course areas available to associates across all functional areas. Training through the myLearning Network covers key topics like Core Nielsen, Client Excellence, Digital Enablement, Global Business Services, Manager Excellence and Client Training. Additionally, our myLearning Network curricula offer augmented access to training content provided by respected third-party content providers like Harvard Business School Publishing’s Harvard ManageMentor and Lynda.com.

Mandatory training in key areas like data privacy and security ensures that all employees comply with the law, understand their ethical obligations, uphold employee and client rights and preserve Nielsen’s commitments to diversity and client satisfaction. Our “onboarding” training for all new employees also includesof these elements.

These training opportunities are open to all associates and are also complemented by training offerings for specific subsets of our employees. One example of this specialized training approach is our six-week training course in our Field Training School in Tampa, Florida for new field representatives joining the U.S. field team. This training is part of our dedication to ensuring that all new field representatives fully understand our business before going out into their communities. In terms of career development post-training, almost all of our field manager hires are internal promotions of associates who began as entry-level field or membership representatives.

In 2015, the average hours of training per associate was 23.4 hours, split between an average of 4.8 hours of e-learning and 18.6 hours of instructor-led training. (These numbers only include formal training hours that are captured in our Learning Management System; it does not include informal training or workshops, “self-study” learning activities, lunch and learns or more informal on-the-job training.) In terms of e-learning, this represents a substantial increase from 1.4 hours per person in 2014. In order to further our associates’ training and development going forward, we aim to increase our average training hours by 15% in 2016 to 26.9 hours per associate, up from 23.4 hours in 2015. Going forward, we strive to meet the industry average of 32.4 hours per associate, according to the Association for Talent Development (ATD) 2015 State of the Industry Report. We plan to continue to leverage our external partnerships to extend our offerings, drive more self-directed learning and to develop consistent global training opportunities with virtual and in-person options where most appropriate.

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

We know that diversity and inclusion are crucial to our growth, strength and ability to innovate. The talents and ideas of people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives ensure Nielsen remains an employer and business partner of choice and fuels the innovation we need to drive value for our clients. Our data-based evidence validates this, showing that the more diverse our teams are, the better our business results. We see this as a critical competitive advantage in both the workplace and the marketplace.

One program that we have implemented to support our diverse workforce is the Diverse Leadership Network (DLN), an 18-month “mini-MBA” program focused on cross-cultural coaching, executive networking, course curriculum, faculty workshops and case studies. This program has allowed for increased exposure to leadership and accelerated advancement for high-potential diverse talent.

We have a dedicated Chief Diversity Officer to ensure that we maintain a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion on a global scale. In 2016, Nielsen advanced the position of Chief Diversity Officer to be a stand-alone position on the Nielsen Global Leadership team, reporting directly to our CEO.

Details about our commitments can be found in our Diversity at Nielsen section in the Our Company chapter.

Talent Acquisition

Nielsen’s global Talent Acquisition team ensures a holistic approach to talent attraction around the world. As part of this global effort, we have created an internal portal to provide better access and transparency for our existing associates regarding open positions at Nielsen globally. To that end, in 2015, 28% of open positions were filled by internal candidates.

To further enable our strategy for attracting and retaining top talent around the globe, we plan to promote greater diversity and inclusion through ongoing unconscious bias training for all employees and require diverse interview slates for all open positions in North America. We also plan to establish more partnerships going forward with organizations that promote career opportunities for diverse talent. This holistic effort to improve the experience for all candidates applying to Nielsen is focused internally as well as externally. To that end, we plan to continue to drive greater internal opportunity creation and movement through internal talent profiles and be more proactive in matching internal talent to open roles to allow associates to grow their careers with Nielsen.

In 2015, the rate of new employee hires was 25%, with approximately 50% female representation in this group.

Our total turnover rate was up by just 1 percentage point from 2014 to 2015.

Finally, we are committed to the increased use of people analytics to make Nielsen’s employee experience even stronger and to further establish our talent strategy for the future. For more information about our People Analytics team at Nielsen, please visit our People Analytics section.

Nielsen Alumni

Through our Nielsen Alumni Network, we welcome the opportunity to connect, share and hear from our thousands of alumni, many of whom are leading and driving success for a wide variety of companies around the world.

The Nielsen Alumni Network is a global community and central hub for Nielsen alumni to connect with each other and with Nielsen. Through the online network and in-person events, alumni are able to build relationships, acquire key industry knowledge, discover exciting career and professional development opportunities and make an impact in their communities. In 2015, as we prepared to launch the Nielsen Alumni Network, we held a number of global gatherings for former associates in Brazil, China, the U.S. and beyond.

In 2016, we are eager to broaden participation in the Alumni Network. We firmly believe that once you work at Nielsen, you’ll always be part of the Nielsen family.

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Outplacement Services

For certain associates who have left Nielsen in North America, we offer free outplacement services. This service is offered to all associates, regardless of their level, function or tenure with the organization. In 2015, 66% of associates who were eligible took advantage of this service, which helps its clients secure employment at a rate that is 61% faster than the national average. These services include access to career tools and resources, weekly personalized job leads, a dedicated career coach and personal branding support, including help with drafting a resume, cover letters and a LinkedIn profile.

People Analytics

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Nielsen’s business is built on the principle that data makes better decision-making. That’s why we have embraced People Analytics—using employee-related data (e.g., associate demographics, hiring rates, role changes, job openings, etc.) to optimize business outcomes.

Here are some of the areas where we are currently—and plan to continue—making an impact:

  • Strategic workforce planning: This encompasses identifying what expertise is required in the future and reaching the right associates.
  • Voluntary attrition: Every percentage point of voluntary attrition we bring down has potential cost avoidance to Nielsen of up to $5 million. We are focused on hiring from the colleges and companies that are a good fit for us, building initiatives to engage associates in the first year, fast-tracking the internal movement of talent and building a predictive model to better forecast attrition risks and help us be more proactive in our retention efforts. We are also studying associates who “survive and thrive” to guide us on how to replicate that success.
  • Building diversity: One of our foundational principles is to support diversity and inclusion. Based on our Data Science team’s research, we know that having more women in leadership roles results in better business performance. This is a specific focus for us in 2016.
  • Engagement: We are looking deeper into associate engagement to understand how it drives business performance and revenue growth.
  • Resource allocation: This analysis will help us determine the best approach to effectively meet human resource needs by region.
  • Tools: Our People Analytics team has launched a new data visualization tool to enable Human Resources and senior leaders to look at foundational metrics, quickly giving them global insights on metrics for 2015 and beyond such as:
    • We hired nearly 11,000 new employees in 2015;
    • Gender balance of almost 50/50 males and females in 2015. We plan to continue to focus on diversity and inclusion in 2016.

2015 Achievements

  • Established a People Analytics team and internal Community of Practitioners to more holistically collect, analyze and respond to associate data, especially employee retention and satisfaction. This community also serves as a base of practitioners to increase the use of data-driven decision-making throughout our regions and business units.
  • Launched Global People Metrics on Spotfire, a visualization tool for our foundational metrics, which has received extremely positive feedback.
  • Established trailing 12 months voluntary turnover and annualized forecasted turnover reports in Business Warehouse (BW), enabled through portal reporting. Previously, many Human Resources reports required IT support to get basic information. Now, Human Resources Business Partners can directly access foundational metrics, such as headcount, hiring and attrition, through improved internal tools like BW and Spotfire.
  • Internally published our first-ever “Head Count Walk” in 2015 to allow global leaders to better understand the movement of Nielsen’s talent over a period of time. This complete, end-to-end analysis is similar to a Finance “cost walk” that covers revenue and expenses; we are now doing the same thing for our people to show hiring and exits.
  • Nielsen was ranked No. 22 on CEO Magazine’s Best Companies for Leaders list.

2016 Plan: Mobilize Global Strategy

  • Building a global Attrition Model to understand the impact of variables on attrition and identify the individuals who are most likely to leave.
  • Continuing to evolve our Attrition Cost Model to focus on cost avoidance by reducing 1 point in attrition.
  • Capturing the exit survey data linked to our Enterprise Resource Planning systems for easy access and utilizing the data to study attrition.
  • Investing in a Network Analysis/Surrogate study to identify how many colleagues an associate engages with on a day-to-day basis outside of his or her own individual team, because research studies have shown that higher engagement leads to better performance.
  • Identifying the talent multipliers for the business—the leaders that consistently engage, direct and lead associates that become high-performing leaders. These leaders then go and take different roles in various parts of the company and do the same with new staff, hence making them “talent multipliers.”

Long-Term Plan for People Analytics

  • Improve our Strategic Workforce Planning to ensure that we have the right roles, people, skills and locations for all our associates.
  • Increase employee engagement.
  • Increase diversity in the workplace and measure its impact on revenue and profit.
  • Reduce unwanted voluntary attrition through a predictive model based on a risk score.
  • Study and improve the impact of learning and development strategy and programs on revenue and profit.

"Check-In": A New Approach to Performance Reviews

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In 2015, Nielsen announced a new, innovative approach to performance management: “Check-In.”

The new program reforms the performance review process from the traditional annual review to focus on ongoing feedback. Managers and associates are encouraged to check in with each other at least once every 90 days to share updates not only on job performance but also on career and skill development, future aspirations, work-life balance and any other issues that may be affecting job satisfaction. This change to a 90-day cycle also reflects our employees’ preference to receive more regular, informal feedback in real-time.

Checking-in at least once every 90 days helps our associates:

  • Build stronger connections with their managers;
  • Adjust priorities as business and client needs evolve to ensure that they are focused on the work with the greatest impact;
  • Receive real-time feedback to continuously adapt, learn and grow; and
  • Align their experiences to future career aspirations.

These check-in conversations are holistic discussions that cover both performance and experience at Nielsen so that associates can understand how their performance is viewed by their manager and how they can grow. These discussions are collaborative; the manager and associate are both accountable to provide feedback to each other.

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This new approach supports Nielsen’s culture of meritocracy, which rewards top performers and raises the bar for performance over time. This is also part of our commitment to be an “academy company” that provides employees—no matter the stage of their career—with opportunities to learn and grow through training, mentorship and overall development. A key characteristic of academy companies is their ability to attract, retain and motivate associates to deliver higher results and make a significant impact.  This is achieved through Check-In with a focus on delivery of results, leadership development, career management and meritocracy. In order to reward our high-performers and provide all associates with the opportunity to learn and grow, more regular check-ins between associates and managers encourage rich performance discussions throughout the year.

This all connects to the heart of the Nielsen Employee Experience to provide the best possible environment for our associates to be themselves, make a difference and grow with Nielsen.

As of this publication—after the internal check-in system launched at the end of November 2015—70% of eligible employees have participated in the annual summary process.