HR Practices in Viacom International Hungary

The Budapest office of Viacom International Media Networks has welcomed us in their premises to discuss about HR practices in a multinational company doing activities in Hungary. Peter Szabo, Senior HR Business Partner and his team, Adrienn and Georgina, started with a brief presentation of this global company.
Viacom is an American global mass media company with major activities in cinema and most of all cable television. They are doing activities in 169 countries and in 34 languages. It is a worldwide leader in the sector of broadcasting and cable television and possesses networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount, Comedy Central etc. that reach approximately 700 million subscribers.

Peter and his team has been very welcoming !

In Hungary, Viacom settled in 1997 and created the Z+ channel (now called VIVA channel), the first music video channel of Hungary. Viacom International is divided in clusters, Viacom International Hungary is an entity part of one cluster under the supervision of the UK branch. This cluster gathers 30 countries such as Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Israel, Central and Eastern Europe. It is worth mentioning that Viacom International is working as a matrix organization with different level of reporting. It can be explained by the fact that some channels are broadcasted from the headquarters in London, some by the headquarters in Amsterdam. Moreover the top management of Viacom International is located in New York and this entity is distinct from Viacom domestic activities. Thus, this type of organization generates complex processes in many aspects of the company activities on the daily basis, the local Human Resources department is also deeply impacted.
In Hungary, Peter’s team have to deal with the usual HR functions such as recruitment, compensation & benefits, contract and administrative management, assessments and career development.

Despite the worldwide presence of Viacom, there is no formal international mobility platform or policy. It doesn’t prevent a great diversity in terms of nationality in the Hungarian entity.


Georgina went into the details concerning the recruitment process :
1. Approval form: this process includes the line manager, the HR and the international level HR supervisors (usually at the cluster level then the international level for reviewing).
2. Discussion between the HR and the manager to determine which method, which criteria to prioritize.
3. Job offer posting or contacting Headhunters
4. Preselection of CVs
5. Interviews with line managers
6. Interviews with HR
7. Deliberation between line managers and HR
8. Job offer and acceptance from the candidate
9. “Angel Induction” : Integration process where the new employee can discover all the departments activities
10. 3 months probation period before validating the recruitment of a permanent staff.


Georgina explained that they usually adopt a direct approach in terms of recruitment, using a lot of social media such as Linkedin and Facebook (you can check their page here), that are very accessible and visible for the young audience. Very occasionally, the recruitments require to work with headhunters, it happens mainly for management position or expert positions (accountant for example). In those cases, they work with specialized headhunters to increase the efficiency of the recruitment process. However, recruitment can be very fast at Viacom Hungary ! one took only 4 hours from job posting to actually contract signing !

About the training policy, Viacom provides very diverse type of training to its employees from management training to more operational training. It also emphasizes a lot on team-building, coaching and mentoring programs.
Mentors and mentees meet virtually every months to discuss about their evolution target and to evaluate their progresses. A lot of efforts are put on self-development and it helps bridging with other departments abroad.

About compensation and benefit, a lot of efforts are also done to make it a great place to work. A cafeteria is available in the building. A transport card and “credit card” for leisure and fitness are provided to support the work/life balance. Plus, many events are organized monthly and regularly as to promote team building such as the “Fancy Thursday” where co-workers can gather in a pub, participate in a contest and have fun after work.

To sum up, Peter exposed the key factors of success and the difficulties of the HR department.
Recruitment is indeed a key success factor as the quality of candidates are each time very high and they manage to have great speed in this process and a relatively low costs. The efforts put in employees ‘development is also very positive: coaching and mentoring are efficiently managed. At last, it appeared that the employer value proposition is a great element of success as it has allowed an better attraction and retention of employees.

Concerning the difficulties, it is mainly caused by the complex and matrix organization common to any big group local department. The HR platform (People Soft) is hard to adapt locally, employees find it “user unfriendly” and not very productive.
Many organizational changes are operating in the group and it is always a big HR challenge to cope with. Headcount budget are also decided by the international entity and it can be a restraint for local development.


Anyhow, Viacom Hungary appeared as a fun place to work with great looking facilities and a youthful and friendly atmosphere (the average age in the building is only 25 years old !).

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Posted on: 14 juillet 2015, by : M2 GRH Multinationales