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2013 Collaboration – Division 2

GOLD: MassMutual Financial Group

When MassMutual announced the acquisition of The Hartford’s Retirement Plan Group last year, the company didn’t waste a moment introducing new employees to its business and culture.

A team of employees and managers from both companies led by Assistant Vice President Debbie Cote assembled immediately to develop an onboarding strategy that included a website called Focus Forward: Countdown to Close. The site was the go-to resource for all information related to the acquisition, which was announced in September 2012.

The onboarding team developed a communication plan to tackle issues such as issuing new corporate credit cards, badges, system access, payroll information and benefits. Once the sale closed in December, another website, Retirement Plan Group Welcome, was launched for new employees and customers.

The first day after the close, leaders welcomed new employees at the company’s headquarters and in Arizona and Massachusetts. More than 1,100 employees attended introductory classes at various locations and online.

The onboarding program consists of 12 Web-based learning sessions to help employees assimilate. MassMutual also launched finance roadshows to introduce new employees to the company’s financial model and metrics, such as cash flow and expenses. Employees were asked to come up with cost savings ideas. More than 900 workers attended the sessions.

While employees learned about the company, the sales force received training to learn more about the products and technologies in both companies.

The onboarding process is ongoing, but early results indicate that new employees are “among the most engaged,” according to company officials.

SILVER: Hogan Lovells US

Lawyers are rarely trained on how to collaborate, influence and motivate others — the so-called soft skills of business. Yet these abilities are necessary to succeed in a law firm.
Hogan Lovells US partnered with Georgetown University’s law school to develop two courses to teach first-year associates how to develop these skills. The classes are based on real-life simulations of challenges attorneys face on the job, such as resolving legal issues in a case while addressing client concerns.
In evaluations this year, many employees said the program was valuable and helped them become better prepared for a law career. “We hope this type of collaboration will spark other law firms and law schools to work together on shared learning goals,” said Lori Berman, director of professional development at Hogan Lovells.

BRONZE: Lash Group

Pharmaceutical and biotech consulting firm Lash Group has grown recently, acquiring two consultancies in 2011 that added hundreds of jobs. This presented an opportunity to re-brand and reinvent itself to employees and clients.
In response, Kellie Gillenwater, leadership development consultant, and her team developed a strategy to integrate hiring, onboarding and leadership development. Lash overhauled its orientation program to emphasize its brand, mission and culture, and it revamped its leadership development programs, adding a mentoring program.
About 37 percent of employees who participated in leadership development programs have greater roles in the company, and more than 40 leaders have volunteered as mentors.