Seeking harmony at Sony Music Entertainment

Music is known as the universal language that penetrates and enriches the soul – the lifeblood for poets, lyricists, audiophiles, and the everyday folk who turn to it for comfort. 

Professionals in the commercial music industry know this well. That is why Sony Music Entertainment takes pride in having a People Experience expert on board to prioritise this aspect of employee management, which brings out the best musical vibe for its patrons in return.

From Pink, Meghan Trainor, and Pearl Jam to the great legends Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, and more, Sony Music Entertainment delivers every music lover’s favourite hits on traditional radio or live-streaming and on-demand audio-video platforms. The company is a household name that has withstood industry blows through the introduction of modern means to access free and paid entertainment.

We speak to Wendy Weehuizen, Vice-President for People Experience in Asia and the Middle East, to find out how Sony Music’s ‘artist-first’ strategy positively affects the record company’s people experience function and diverse work culture.

Weehuizen explains why Sony Music focuses on diversity and inclusion. “Music has no boundaries and has a huge variety of genres and influences from different cultures. Artists from all walks of life create it,” she says. “We aspire to reflect that diversity and inclusiveness, which is why it is a core value of our business.” 

Present in more than 100 countries and supporting thousands of diverse global artists, the company acknowledges Asia and the Middle East as one of the most culturally rich talent pools and diverse regions. 

“For such a dynamic workplace, diversity is not just a lofty corporate ideal but is fundamental to who we are and our future business success,” Weehuizen says. 

She says inclusive leadership drives high performance, where employees are engaged and thriving. “Our diverse and inclusive DNA allows us to powerfully connect with artists, creators, partners, and fans from all cultural backgrounds,” she says.

The people experience expert says Sony Music aims to be “the preferred company of creative and diverse talent in the entertainment industry”, where people feel “belongingness” and are empowered to amplify their creative potential.

The People Experience function helps shape culture, shift attitudes, and build momentum for change within the company. 

“We pride our employee experience – from leading and working to organising – on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace,” says Weehuizen. “We create equal opportunity for all to thrive and be empowered to do their best. It enables us to be far more effective in reaching out to artist communities, discovering emerging genres, and helping all our artists succeed.”

She says: “Our unique People Experience function focuses on all segments of the employee journey by enabling our people, building the right capabilities, and cultivating our unique culture. We create a meaningful, impactful, and inclusive employee experience that builds trust, commitment, and enthusiasm.”

An “artist-first” strategy positively affects the company’s people experience, says Weehuizen. By prioritising its artists, Sony Music pushes them to create an environment that helps them perform at their most creative and best. “Essentially, inclusive leadership and a culture that celebrates individual differences and embraces diversity deliver a competitive advantage,” she says.

Weehuizen praises initiatives such as ‘Allyship at Work’, Sony’s unconscious bias education programmes, and inclusive mental health and benefit offers for staff. 

Sony Music’s Artists Forward Programme, a first-of-its-kind strategic effort, provides comprehensive support to its talent in all aspects of their career. 

“We hope to motivate our people to support local talent and artist communities in providing them with the platforms and tools to reach their audience and grow their careers, regionally and globally,” Weehuizen says.  

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Chief of Staff Asia