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Schibsted Connect buddy programme links students with employees

By Kamilla Abrahamsen

Schibsted

Oslo, Norway

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Attracting the right talent is a challenge for any company. When we attend student career fairs, we spend a few minutes explaining what Schibsted is, why we stand out as a great employer, and then we hopefully navigate them to our career portal. 

Then they are off to the next employer with the same message and the same drill. By the end of the day, students have filled their pockets with branded pens and chocolate. But once the chocolate is consumed and the pen has gone missing, how well will they remember you?

At Schibsted, we want to tell our story in a trustworthy, meaningful, and memorable way. So, we built a stage where our employees are the centre of our storytelling and decided to hand out admission tickets to students — but these tickets didn’t land them in the front row with popcorn and sodas.

Instead, this ticket includes backstage access as well as onstage demands: We actually put them on stage together and ask them to write their own narrative. The best stories emerge when everyone is willing to contribute, challenge themselves, and learn along the way. The stage is called Schibsted Connect and we currently have 68 students and employees running the show.

The Schibsted Connect buddy programme pairs Schibsted employees with interested students.
The Schibsted Connect buddy programme pairs Schibsted employees with interested students.

More than mentoring

Schibsted Connect is a buddy programme. It is not a mentoring programme, in a traditional sense, as both sides share their experiences, knowledge, and ideas. Of course, you could say that the employee has more experience, more knowledge, etc., but that is not what this is about. As mentioned, it is not a mentoring programme.

Our employees are keen to learn from the younger generation. They want to learn how the next generation thinks, how they behave, and what their values, attitudes, and beliefs are. By getting to know their student buddy, they are better suited to adjust products and services and keep up to date with future trends. As an added bonus, we learn what this group is looking for in a future employer.    

"Speed dating" is one of the fun icebreaker activities during the regular kick-off session: Dare to ask questions if you want to learn!
"Speed dating" is one of the fun icebreaker activities during the regular kick-off session: Dare to ask questions if you want to learn!

We pair students with employees for seven months and our only request is that they meet at least once a month. Our employees represent various brands and positions within the Schibsted family and are matched with students who have a similar field of career interest.

Adjusting for pandemic protocols

Given the circumstances, we realised quickly that our ordinary office stage had to be reconstructed and digitised this year. This opened up new opportunities, as we could include students and employees from more cities and even collaborate across borders.

We have a social network group where we post inspiration and share the journey with the rest of the group, but in many ways, this is a self-paced and self-driven buddy programme. This works well because it is voluntary participation.

If you put a little effort into building the stage, you would be surprised to see the engagement and commitment that meets you once you are ready to welcome the audience. And we are rewarded with happy students and employees, who both gain from these win-win relationships.

To accommodate restrictions created by COVID-19, this year's kick-off was done digitally.
To accommodate restrictions created by COVID-19, this year's kick-off was done digitally.

I am confident that our employees have guided and prepared the students, both in their studies but also after, when the time comes to enter the job market. Carrying a backpack loaded with knowledge and insights makes it easier to climb onto the next big stage.

This is not a pen you lose along the way; this is an experience that sticks with you! It is a journey to grow and learn. It is a step into the professional world, and it gives a long-lasting network. It is a story to tell. And, when the time is right, I am sure the right candidate will come knocking on our door.

Meet some of the students who have been part of our buddy programme here.

About Kamilla Abrahamsen

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