Stefan Mehr by Carl Bengtsson
Founded in 1990, Bonnier Media University has evolved and shifted focus as Bonnier has expanded. But its primary purpose has remained the same - to develop, attract and inspire key people and talent within Bonnier. Now BMU is undertaking the biggest initiative in its history: the Bonnier Key People Commitment.
"The most important task for Bonnier both in the short and long term is to make sure we have the best staff possible," says Jonas Bonnier, the driving force behind the initiative. "Bonnier has always been driven by exceptional individuals with big ideas and strong will power. So there are high demands on leadership - and leaders need to get the best possible chance to develop. This is a huge and above all long-term commitment to make sure we hold onto key people within all of Bonnier."
Which is why the initiative is being called Bonnier Key People Commitment. Each year Bonnier AB will invite some 500 people to participate in the program. The yearly GRID conference and global exchange program GROW will be important pillars of the new initiative, giving key employees worldwide the chance to meet, get inspiration and network together.
A new venture that starts in 2011 will also be a pillar of the initiative: a cooperation with Duke CE, ranked as the world's best tailored corporate leadership education by the Financial Times seven years in a row. The result will be three different types of programs, with Duke CE leading one of them.
"It's exciting and instructive to work with the professionals from Duke," says Stefan Mehr, executive director of BMU. "Duke CE is a forward-thinking and non-traditional business school. It suits us well. It has a fantastic network of professors and corporate leaders who can be brought in. The program is about understanding our world, and how to be a leader in it. To be successful as a manager at Bonnier, there are things unique to Bonnier that are necessary to know. We're looking at what these are - values, strategies, entrepreneurship, etc. - and the focus is both internal and external. It's useful to examine the paradoxes and assumptions that drive the overall company."
The new Bonnier Key People Commitment program will have different tracks. They will target key people at different levels within Bonnier. At the same time, companies within Bonnier will be investing in development of key employees more than ever. The new initiative means that several of the earlier courses offered by BMU will be discontinued to make room for the new and more international BMU.
"We are refining our focus on inspiration and leadership development at the group-wide level," says Mehr. "GRID, GROW and Bonnier Sales Awards are examples of the importance of inspiration and staff development across all kinds of boundaries. This is an impressive investment that only a company such as Bonnier can make, and it's a huge undertaking."
Jonas Bonnier emphasizes the long-term nature of the initiative. "I'm completely convinced that our long-term future depends on the individuals we're able to attract," he says. "Especially in countries where Bonnier isn't so well-known. My congratulations go to everyone who gets to take part in the future."