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Case Code: CLHR047
Case Length: 4 pages 
Period: 2017 - 2018  
Pub Date: 2017
Teaching Note: Available
Subject : Human Resource Management
Organization :Pandora Media Inc
Industry : Media and Entertainment
Countries : US

Employee Experience at Pandora



The case is about the employee experience initiatives at Pandora Media Inc. (Pandora) that aimed at creating a positive work environment at the company. The HR system at Pandora was designed in designed in such a way that every employee could contribute to it as their unique experience with the company. Employee experience at Pandora revolved around its music business, which the company felt was a great way to make employees relax and to motivate them to work in a more productive way. Pandora initiated a number of innovative programs to boost the morale of its employees through better work place management and manager-employee relationship. Its internship program for self-motivated college students laid the foundation for shaping its recruitment system. However, it remained to be seen whether the company could go on to make a profit with its employee experience initiatives at a time when it was confronted with consecutive annual losses.
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  • 1) Understand the employee experience initiatives undertaken by Pandora..
  • 2) Analyze how the employee experience initiatives help Pandora to create a positive work culture.
  • 3) Identify the challenges faced by Pandora to continue with its employee focused programs.
  • 4) Explore ways to overcome those challenges.
In 2016, Pandora Media Inc. (Pandora) was ranked 47th in the list of ‘Best Places to Work’ by the Advertising Age and Best Companies Group for its unique employee experience initiatives. Promoted as an internet-based music radio company, Pandora considered music to be an individual’s choice and adopted a similar personalized approach to employee experience. The employee experience at Pandora ranged from the employees working out their own agreements with their managers on how they preferred to work and what they expected, to decisions related to the different Pandora employee resource groups and the voluntary hours they worked.

Founded by Tim Westergren (Westergren), Will Glaser, and Jon Kraft in 2000, Pandora was one of the first music streaming and internet-based music radios in the world. Started with a mission “To enrich people’s lives by enabling them to enjoy music they know & discover music they’ll love, anytime, anywhere,” Pandora aimed to create a separate, individualized radio station for each of its customers. The idea behind the company’s launching music radios was that customers would be able to listen to the music they preferred without any advertising breaks. The company employed a team of 25 trained musicologists who analyzed the attributes of each song and delivered hours of personalized music as per the varied tastes and preferences of consumers. Pandora’s Music Genome Project consisted of 450 distinct musical attributes that covered the qualities of melody, rhythm, lyrics, and harmony. The company shared with the music artists various data like how many songs had been played? how many listeners heard the song over time. This data helped artists to understand the fans they were connecting with. Pandora provided a platform where fans could purchase tickets to the music concerts. The company gave artists a digital dais to connect with their fans, and the artists could also send an audio message to their fans For the fourth quarter of 2016, Pandora reported revenue of US$392.6 million. ...


Employee experience; Manager-employee relationship; Employee engagement; Mentorship; Job satisfaction; Work environment; Competitive advantage; HR system; Perks; Culture; Pandora Employee Resource Groups; Best Places to Work; Internet-based music radio

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