Recruit, rotate, retain – RTL Group’s new international trainee programme

23.11.2017, Luxembourg, RTL Group

RTL Group’s Executive Committee has discussed and decided on the Group’s action plan to follow up on the results of the Employee Survey 2016.

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Walk the talk…

Two quotes from previous Backstage interviews with our Co-CEOs set the scene for the Group’s focused action plan – and they underline why this plan has the full support from the executive management team.

  • “It is of great importance for us that our employees understand that they belong to a large global group where career development can not only be achieved within their company, but also across the Group. Therefore, we need to reinforce mobility.” (Guillaume de Posch, March 2017) Read more.
  • “I believe we need to shake things up! This can only be achieved by attracting and retaining the best talent. This is more important than ever (…) and includes many aspects such as promoting young talent to management positions early on, diversity, fostering internal mobility across our business units… and giving ‘rebels’ the freedom to operate and experiment.” (Bert Habets, April 2017) Read more.

Against this background, RTL Group’s Executive Committee has decided to focus its Group-wide action plan on one key category of the survey: career development.


“At RTL Group, we always say ‘it’s people who make the difference’. We really have to live up to this claim – and this is why we decided in September to focus our follow up on exactly this, the people factor. But to succeed, we need concrete new actions and initiatives,” explains Guillaume de Posch.


Bert Habets adds: “The open discussions we had during our OMC off-site end of June also played a key role here. There was a clear call from the business units and the Corporate Centre that we shall develop a new, international trainee programme, in particular with regards to our digital businesses – because in this area, stronger collaboration and having an international perspective is urgently needed to bring us to ‘the next level up’.”

…with a brand new programme

Anja Reichert (Head of Management Development) and Raffaele Muzzi (Recruitment and Training Manager) at Group HR – developed the trainee programme, to be called “Digital Excellence”, in close cooperation with the HR Directors of the Group’s business units.

Anja Reichert (Head of Management Development) and Raffaele Muzzi (Recruitment and Training Manager) at Group HR

Backstage exclusively presents the key elements of this new programme:


  • Duration: 18 to 20 months
  • 4+1 rotations: each participant will start at RTL Group’s Corporate Centre to gain an understanding of RTL Group and its operations; this will be followed by assignments to four different business units
  • Recruitment: driven by RTL Group HR, with the  business units being actively involved in the final selection process
  • Mentoring: each participant will be supported by a senior executive from one of the participating business units and coached by Group HR
  • Launch date: first half of 2018
  • Number of participants: the first trial run/pilot of the programme will start with three to five participants
  • Perspective: upon successful completion of the programme, external participants will join a business unit

Target group

  • Internal and external candidates with a university degree (preferably a Master's) in Digital Media/Advertising/Marketing; Strategy/M&A; Journalism; Engineering; IT
  • Ideally two to three years' professional experience, including internships
  • Must-have skills: creativity; an entrepreneurial and multi-cultural mindset; fluent English; international experience is highly desirable

Francesco Costadura
RTL Group’s Executive Vice President HR

Francesco Costadura, RTL Group’s Executive Vice President HR, summarises: “This new programme is an important step forward. It squarely addresses an urgent business need and it supports our ambition to become an even more collaborative, diverse and agile organisation. Moreover, we will collectively gain experience in managing internal mobility and enable an increasing need for closer collaboration across business units.”



Exploring a broader ambition in employer branding

In addition to the new trainee programme, RTL Group’s Executive Committee has mandated RTL Group’s Corporate Communications & Marketing and Group HR department to jointly explore the potential of positioning RTL Group as an attractive employer brand.

Oliver Fahlbusch, Executive Vice President Corporate Communications & Marketing

“Successful talent management needs an attractive employer brand. In a first phase, we will work on an assessment of our current situation, in cooperation with external consultants – what are our strengths and weaknesses, what could be key differentiators for the brand RTL Group in the competition for talent, and how can we ensure alignment and synergies with our business units? We will also coordinate closely with Bertelsmann as they are already very active in this area and there are definitely many ideas and concepts we can customise for RTL Group,” explains Oliver Fahlbusch, Executive Vice President Corporate Communications & Marketing.


Isabell Ostermann (Corporate Communications & Marketing) will manage this new project in close collaboration with Group HR. 

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