RESULT: AT&T’s call centers continued to operate without interruption while 200 call centers were closed and 20 ramped up.
PROBLEM: AT&T needed to close 200 call centers nationwide and open 20 regional centers. Some people would lose their jobs. Others would be offered jobs in the new centers. New people would be hired. Under the law, there are stringent reporting requirements and timelines. The call centers needed to continue to function productively in the midst of turbulent change. This was a massive undertaking and the human resources staff needed as much help as it could get — and to buy into using it.
SOLUTION: Donna Miller was the director of organizational design and effectiveness for AT&T Broadband. She hired me as the writer and editor for a small team of other freelancers. Our task was to create a comprehensive toolkit for AT&T Broadband’s human resources staff to use. The resulting 277-page toolkit lived online, could be customized and was downloadable. It provided the company’s national human resources staff with information and assistance based on best practices and experience. We conducted weekly conference calls with up to 35 HR professionals to make sure we were on the right track and to ensure their participation. The toolkit was easy to understand. It included the business rationale, worksheets, samples of letters, legal guidelines, scripts for group and individual employee meetings, retention ideas, etc.
RESULT: The orientation program significantly improved retention.
PROBLEM: US West, the Baby Bell for 14 states, hired 6,000 new management (i.e. nonunion) employees a year. Many left after six months. Donna Miller was a director of human resources at US West. She determined that a lack-luster orientation program was a major culprit.
SOLUTION: Donna originally hired me to create a booklet that would introduce the company to new hires. She had seen a presentation for European investors I had developed for Sol Trujillo, the company’s president. I found a prospectus developed by one of the brokerages that underwrote US West stock to develop the overview. Within a few weeks, I became the sole copywriter for just about every part of the $100,000 on-boarding program, which included:
* Welcoming videos by each senior executive
* Brochures with tear-out checklists for managers and new hires
* Intranet resources, instruction video and booklet
* Benefits manual
* A mentoring program
* Inserts for mouse pads
* PowerPoint presentations and scripts
* A diversity video
* An innovative take a boss, peer and subordinate to lunch program
I also trained senior executives to deliver the presentations at the orientations. The executives practiced with their staff – many of whom said they wished the program had been available when they first joined the company.
The day-and-a-half orientation program was held twice a month in Denver and simulcast to the company’s other locations. The material was adapted for new union hires. I updated the program quarterly for four years — until US WEST was purchased by Qwest.
Other human resources projects
I really like HR and employee relations projects. I’ve researched and written succession planning bios, hundreds of job descriptions, interface copy to make PeopleSoft coherent, employee communications about benefits, management changes, how to avoid expensive and brand destroying lawsuits, and more.