Turner Broadcasting System: still recruiting top-level tech talent
“We want an environment where ideas are shared and differences leveraged to inspire creativity,” says the VP for talent management and diversity
If you are an IT pro with experience in large enterprise systems and Web-based technology, you might be a good job candidate for Turner Broadcasting System. The broadcast giant is in the midst of another year of top-level recruiting for technical employees, says Michele Golden, VP for talent management and diversity.
Of course Turner’s ideal candidates also have good experience in the broadcast industry. But there’s plenty of work left over for other highly-skilled techies, Golden says.
Turner needs webmasters, Web developers, system software developers, business analysts, project managers, technical directors and production support people that help with network infrastructure, as well as engineering systems pros and broadcast engineers. “They might work on satellite trucks, control room or video and audio hardware support,” Golden says.
Turner also wants people with experience in apps development and support, software and systems analysis both technical and functional, and implementation project management. Technical skills needed include networking and infrastructure, systems admin, QA, ops, EE/electronics and strategic product development. People with customer relations and client support skills are also needed.
Technology and engineering ops are so critical for the organization that staff positions are open year-round, Golden says. During the next twelve months Turner expects to have a high volume of openings. There are usually twenty to twenty-five open positions at any given time. “We had a high volume of hiring in 2009, and we’ll continue to stay at the current level. We have a lot going on in technology areas,” Golden notes.
The jobs are concentrated in Atlanta and New York, but Golden explains that the organization has operations throughout the world. International job availabilities mostly depend on attrition: “We don’t have formalized international rotation programs,” Golden explains.
To be sure the job candidate pool is diverse, Turner relies on a strong referral program through its business resource groups: Turner Women Today; Black Professionals at Turner; TurnerAsia; TurnerUno; TurnerLEADS, a disability group; Turner Seasoned Professionals; NextGen; a parents group; and TurnOut, the LGBT group.
The resource groups work with HR to look for candidates outside the organization, with professional organizations and at conferences like Women of Color in Technology. Turner is also aligned with Global Executive Women, BDPA, NSHMBA, NBMBA, NSBE and SHPE.
Turner recruits at HBCUs, and has a particularly strong relationship with Georgia Tech, which is practically across the street from Turner’s Atlanta HQ, and with Georgia State, Golden says. The company also partners with Georgia Tech in its internal rotation program.
Increasing diversity awareness among employees is important at Turner. The company has “a robust on-boarding program at the Turner-wide level as well as at divisional orientation,” Golden says.
There’s another program encouraging employees to think about how they can leverage their diverse backgrounds. “We developed the program for the exec population two years ago and then rolled it out across the organization,” Golden explains. “This year we’re piloting a program to give managers the tools and resources to manage a diverse workforce.
“We want an inclusive environment where perspectives are shared and differences leveraged to inspire creativity.”
These initiatives come from the realization that diversity is a core operating value, and that to grow its businesses Turner needs to reach a multicultural market. Turner has a strong diversity infrastructure with an overall diversity council made up of execs from across the organization. These are backed up with divisional councils as working groups.
The working groups provide mentoring programs: “circle mentoring” in some cases, where some eight mentees work with a couple of mentors to “build more relationships than just one-on-one,” Golden explains. The mentees go on to be mentors themselves the next year, “almost creating a network of mentors and mentees.” There’s also a mentoring component to Turner’s executive development programs.
Turner encourages community involvement through its corporate responsibility division, partnered closely by the resource groups. The technology and operations division, for example, is involved with 21st Century Leaders and the Year Up Program, both of which work in the schools.
Turner also has employee programs to support work/life balance: alternative work, flextime, compressed workweek, job sharing, part-time work and telecommuting. The company has a childcare center in Atlanta and provides backup care and work/life resources and referral services.
There’s also an onsite gym, adoption and tuition reimbursement programs and an autism support program. “The need was brought to our attention by employees and the program reflects our commitment to families and willingness to respond creatively,” Golden says.