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Closure, Layoffs and Learning: A Look at First Allmerica Financialís Life Division
5. Knowledge sharing. Sharing knowledge about the life division’s practices and procedures was critically important to the sale of the business. But the division went beyond sharing just business knowledge — the leaders knew employees needed support for their own transitions to take good care of the company.
The list of knowledge-sharing activities was broad and included industry, personal interest, transitional and motivational activities.
“Industry knowledge, including licensing and designations,” Brank said. “Personal interest learning, including photo contests, craft fairs, fundraisers and baking contests. Transition knowledge, including facing the holidays, budgeting and finance, interview skills and techniques, self-esteem and attitude. Lastly, we ran humor seminars, book clubs, ‘get fit’ workshops and weight-loss clubs.”
A Happy Ending for All
The life division achieved its goals. The acquiring company received the business it had purchased, along with deep knowledge about how to best care for its new policies. In addition, the group developed a core team of employees responsible for providing ongoing transition services.
“There are 20 remaining employees responsible for the management of our compliance, finance and other partners,” Brank said. “These 20 employees successfully gained the knowledge of 200-plus employees as they transitioned, ensuring that our policyholders and stakeholders are well-represented.”
On the business front, learning certainly helped create a smooth transition, and the learning strategy was also a success for employees.
“Our employees are, for the most part, transitioned,” Brank said. “Many of our employees have successfully moved on into new and exciting positions, some in the life insurance industry, some in different industries.”
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