Cultivating talent at Bloomberg

Vivien Shiao Shufen 09 Jan 2013

Ask any self-respecting business executive about Bloomberg, and they will instantly recognise the name of one of the world’s most influential sources of business and financial news.

With 192 offices and more than 15,000 employees worldwide, Bloomberg is an American multinational mass media corporation, famously founded by billionaire businessman and politician Michael Bloomberg.

Despite the gloomy economic outlook, Bloomberg is still raking in revenues that go up to the billions, with US$7 billion coming in last year alone, according to Forbes.

With so much competition out there, it is essential that the corporation recruits and retains the very best talent that will continue driving it forward. In the Asia-Pacific region, such a herculean task falls on the shoulders of the HR team led by Amanda Fankhauser, Head of Recruitment – Asia-Pacific, Bloomberg.

“Bloomberg is a technology company at heart so we have to be constantly innovative, on trading desks and in our newsrooms,” says Fankhauser. “As our people and culture are very much a part of our business momentum, we only hire the best.”

Be the best

To get the best, Bloomberg has to be the best. This is where its unique work culture comes from.

“Few people are aware of the unique corporate culture that is intrinsic to our DNA and entrepreneurial spirit, the hallmarks of which are innovation, excellence and openness,” says Fankhauser.

One aspect that helps Bloomberg stand out from other organisations is the philosophy it espouses, known as the “Bloomberg Way”.

It is about “distinction”, whether in breaking market-moving stories, delivering on the company’s customer-service approach, or developing leading-edge financial products for its clients.

This helps strengthen Bloomberg’s employer brand, giving its recruiters an edge when it comes to obtaining talent.

“We have a flat organisational structure,” explains Fankhauser. “There are no job titles and everyone is very much seen as equal where open lines of communication are encouraged. If you enter any Bloomberg office, you will feel a buzz of enthusiasm and energy as we are one of the most exciting companies to work for today.”

The offices at Bloomberg are distinctively open-plan, with transparent glass walls and the latest technology allowing employees to connect not just among themselves, but with their global counterparts to share work and ideas.

“At Bloomberg, we encourage innovation and for employees to embrace change,” says Fankhauser. “The workspace facilitates the free exchange of ideas and feedback, enhancing business efficiency and creativity.”

Bloomberg also offers exclusive staff benefits which include a wide range of programmes in health, sustainability, literacy, social welfare and the arts.

Thanks to their founder, there is a strong philanthropic culture throughout the organisation. Employees get opportunities to participate in charitable activities and projects during their core working hours. The organisation will also match employee charity donations as well as reward for out-of-work charitable activities.

All these qualities make Bloomberg an attractive employer for potential candidates.

On the quest for talent

With such an emphasis on excellence, Bloomberg takes recruitment seriously.

“Our recruitment processes are stringent and focused on finding the best talent in the market who are able to succeed and fit in with our company culture,” says Fankhauser. “Our people are a huge part of what makes our culture so unique. We look for people who are passionate about what they do and have similar values to how we work.”

She adds that Bloomberg looks for individuals who want to be a part of its business momentum. Those who are smart, bold, open, dynamic and flexible have an edge over the rest.

Although Bloomberg is best-known for its news business, the organisation is expanding into other new areas to support its growth in Asia.

“Right now, the region’s development has seen the need for more global candidates who have the local sensibilities, right language skills, cultural fit and ability to adapt to an ever-changing market,” explains Fankhauser.

“In some cases, these skills and abilities can be hard to find. We are addressing these challenges through more focus on international sourcing, branding initiatives and employee referral initiatives,” she adds.

Developing leaders

At Bloomberg, it is not enough to just recruit talent – talent needs to be continually developed to reach maximum potential.

All employees have access to the company’s learning and development portal, called the “Bloomberg University”. This provides a one-stop shop for employees’ development, both on product and technical knowledge skills development.

“We offer a series of leadership curriculum globally and regionally starting from identifying potential talent and giving them the opportunity to go through the ‘Preparing to Lead’ class,” says Fankhauser.

During this class, employees collaborate in teams to develop business projects – many of which are actually implemented at Bloomberg after the training ends.

Leadership training in Bloomberg is tailor-made for all levels. For middle management, it offers a ‘Leading Leaders’ programme where participants grasp the concept of influencing power and sharpen their business acumen in diverse areas.

For senior management, there is the Global Leadership Forum where participants develop strategic business planning and innovation skills. They also get the opportunity to collaborate across departments to accomplish business outcomes.

It is not just the chosen few who get leadership training – every Bloomberg employee has the opportunity to be a leader.

“Our entrepreneurial spirit encourages everyone to be a leader,” explains Fankhauser. “With no job titles on our business cards, each employee is given strong ownership and empowerment to work creatively and as a team to make an impact to business results.”

She added that at Bloomberg, there are no limits for new hires to lead regional or global projects as long as they have the drive and possess the capabilities.

“Our career path is dynamic as staff can move vertically, laterally or geographically into any of our 192 locations worldwide to grasp leadership opportunities,“ says Fankhauser.

Set apart

Bloomberg’s accomplishments over the past few decades have been tremendous. However, the HR team is aware that in such a fast-paced world, one cannot afford to be content with its present achievements. “As the world of HR is quickly evolving, we are taking steps to implement stronger technology and sourcing methods, with a team of experienced recruiters at the forefront of the market,” says Fankhauser.

She believes that the strength of Bloomberg’s HR team has been a contributing factor to the group’s overall success.

“What sets us [the HR team] apart is the way in which we look to improve and make perfect our daily tasks,” says Fankhauser. “We partner and consult for our business areas and are actively engaged in the business planning process. We are global and ensure the smooth running of a true value-added HR function.”

 

Rewarding staff

“We reward employee based on meritocracy regardless of tenure or management level,” says Amanda Fankhauser, Head of Recruitment – Asia-Pacific, Bloomberg. “We reward those who carry the Bloomberg culture: lead by example, put your customers first, move fast and thoughtfully, and collaborate.”

The group’s annual awards event recognises employees with outstanding performances in business expertise, innovation, as well as teamwork and customer service excellence. In addition, Bloomberg also celebrates the annual “Applause!” event to show appreciation to employees that embrace the group’s core corporate values, such as philanthropy, sustainability, and employee mentoring and development.

 

Bloomberg in Asia-Pacific

•        Offices: Spread out over 17 countries

•        Employees: 1500

•        HR team: 40

•        Key focus areas:

          - Recruitment

          - Training

          - Leadership development

          - Retention

          - Employee engagement

          - Performance management

          - Culture of philanthropy

          - Rewards and recognition

 

Who’s Who in HR

Amanda Fankhauser

Head of Recruitment – Asia-Pacific

 

 

 

 

Kate Wheatley

Head of HR Operations

 

 

 

 

Thavy Read

Senior Recruiter

 

 

 

 

Katherine Sayers

Relationship Manager

 

 

 

 

Juli Ho

Relationship Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 



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