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Meet the… global head of HR

Anna Nilsson, global head of HR at Vizrt Group, describes her journey into media and falling in love with the industry

Talk us through an average day in your role

It’s cliché to say, “every day is different”, but it’s true. My day is about making sure our team has the right tools and support to deliver the best solutions to our customers, by bringing the best talent into the business and help them develop and grow. For me, this might involve sitting down with the team and talking through how we are setting our goals for the quarter or the year, whether that is hiring a person for a specific function or focusing on driving new initiatives internally, to deliver something new to our current 700 employees. 

For example, this year we’ve brought in an employee recognition programme, and ramped up our learning and development through access to LinkedIn Learning. We’ve also been focused on CSR initiatives including diversity and inclusion. In the day-to-day, that might mean a few excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, but it’s quite fun. I have a great team of people working to a shared purpose of helping our customers make more stories, better told. My days are far from mundane.

How did you get started in the media industry?

It was a lot of luck. I was not expecting to go into the media industry. But meeting Elin Tvedt, who was my manager at the time, got me excited about being in this industry and at Vizrt Group. She demonstrated a great disposition and showed me how positive the work culture was. Having a fun and supportive work culture is not a guarantee, so I believe I’m lucky. Only after I started working at Vizrt Group did I realise how dynamic the industry is, and how many people are affected by the possibilities our products have to offer. Our solutions are watched by over four billion people every day. I didn’t know that when I got the job, I just took the opportunity and fell in love with this world.

What training did you have before entering the industry?

Other than being a consumer, I didn’t know much about the industry. My background is in law, I have a Master’s of Law from Umeå University in Sweden. I enjoyed working as a lawyer, and I did for many years before I started working in compensations and benefits, which is what I was hired to do at first at Vizrt Group. It was a newly founded role where my key focus was on setting structures and processes in place. When most of that was done, I found my way into HR partnering, and then my role developed from there.

I learned to tie the business goals into my everyday work, to consider what the business wants to achieve and tying that into actions. The actions as a lawyer and as an HR person may be different, but the thought process is quite similar.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

It’s quite a dynamic industry, things move very quickly, and I enjoy it being fast paced. Working for Vizrt Group, I constantly see how the technology we develop and improve can be used to deliver a better experience for the viewer. In this digital age, when we are bombarded with information all the time, it’s important to consider to how make your story appealing not only to maximise your audience numbers, but also to deliver the story in the best possible way, so people can understand and enjoy it but also come away from it better informed.

Something else I appreciate in this industry are the people. They have a lot of ambition; everyone I’ve met who works in the broadcast industry shows such passion for it. It’s wonderful to work with people that possess that level of ambition and drive and sustain it for so many years. 

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

My career journey is proof that you don’t have to have a specific professional background to work in HR. I don’t know if I had started out with the intention to work in HR, that I would be where I am right now. If you come from a different area, you bring different skills and knowledge to the table that will be extremely valuable if you stay curious, determined and work hard.

The technology and the industry are complex, but the people are open and welcoming and will offer support, guide you, and challenge you – which will make you a better professional. 

It’s learning how to best support and work with people, which are all so unique and incredibly different, through both exciting and hard times, that will help you develop the essential skills for HR – it’s all about people.