The Culture Behind the Content

The Culture Behind the Content

By this point in time, I have been an intern for News 4 New York at NBCUniversal for three weeks. I have finally found my ground and feel as though I can provide a more accurate analysis of NBC as a company. In regards to the company’s organizational structure, I can confidently declare NBC as being organized with the purpose of eliminating hierarchical stereotypes. NBC promotes an inclusive, driven, and respectful workforce, void of power hungry and overtly esteemedor brash individuals. This is largely a result of the company’s adherence to its values and expectations.

Any organizational structure is built based upon specific values that ultimately define the performance and culture of and within a company. At NBC, these values include curiosity, respect, drive and determination, diversity, and passion. I first encountered a description of these values on the company website during my internship search. Then, I spoke to individuals who have worked for the company for years, or who have been retired. Generally, these individuals maintained similar analyses of their experiences to that on the website. They described bi-weekly meetings in which the president of their departments checked in with employees’ well-being, ensured that there was mutual respect between all individuals (or more bluntly, between the “superiors” and more general workers, and most importantly, that there were functioning methods of addressing employee concerns, particularly regarding the company structure.

From my conversations with friends or interviewers, I think what I derived most is that NBC’s investment in not only the well-being of the company and overall profit, they are undeniably dedicated towards the well-being of its co-workers. NBC, in alignment with its values as curiosity and respect, works to raise employee engagement and desire to work with each other and for the same purpose. I can see this in the president of my own department, Eric Lerner. During my third week, Eric noticed that over the course of the prior month, a couple of the teams appeared stressed or on high alert. That is when our floor was called to a meeting. He created an anonymous form to help reveal what might be causing higher than normal levels of stress. I had never experienced anything like this. As would be expected, Eric is busy. But as the busiest man on the floor, he dropped his work the moment he felt that his co-workers needed to reconfigure their environments to regain their happiness while at work.

I think there were two things that were really important to me prior to determining where I wanted to intern for this summer. Classically, I wanted to find a place that I liked and that I could see a future in. Maybe less classically, I wanted to make sure that the workforce maintained a sense of humor and passion that was replicated in the content. As I previously described, NBC is structured around employee well-being. As a result, work relationships are generally serious and hardworking, but also lighthearted and humorous, creating a genuine desire to work. Conclusively, the content that is put out follows this directive, informative, but kind and funny demeanor. NBC content is truly derived from the NBC culture. 

Finally, I want to point to NBC’s site context. The company has so successfully maintained its culture because of its origins. One of many founders, Carl Laemmle envisioned a company guided by entertainment, innovation, and quality. As cheesy as it sounds, he was told that his vision was impossible. Combining production, distribution, and exhibition has never been done before. But Carl persisted to design a company to bring joy to a global audience. Today, NBC highlights Carl’s efforts consistently. I think it is this pride for and engagement with its past that helps NBC to produce the culture that it has today. Every day I sit in the NBC cafeteria next to Carl’s lit-up face, with camera in hand, and I think that basically sums it up.

One thought on “The Culture Behind the Content

  • July 11, 2019 at 4:02 pm
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    Thoughtful reflection and nice touch, digging in and going back to find the details about the one founder (Carl). It really helps illustrate what you are espousing about the company. It sounds like you did a lot of research on your own to learn about the organization (in advance of landing the internship) and that the way in which the organization operates demonstrates its values and norms. Would be interested to learn if there is formal on-boarding for new employees/interns in which they company directly shares its values, expectations, and norms with people. So in the end it sounds as though you’d argue that the thing that most impacts the way in which individuals lead at NBC and the certain issues that they make certain to address are less about the context of the industry and more about the founders of the organization and the kind of organization they aspired to create – right?

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