Congrats to this year’s winners of CTHRA’s Excellence in HR Awards. The Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association honorees have led the way in developing successful employee learning programs, maintaining clarity during two years of confusing merger talks and prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Team Innovators of the Year

Former TWC HR Team

For two years, Time Warner Cable dealt with a failed merger, more than two years of regulatory review and a second, successful merger with Charter Communications that closed this past May. Throughout this confusing time, TWC went through a performance turnaround that drew praise from Wall Street, with employee productivity among the key successes—as the HR team reassured the workforce. HR developed a multi-tiered severance package, while still prioritizing the professional development of their employees—many of whom would stay once Charter completed the $56 billion purchase. “The biggest challenge we faced was to find ways to keep employees focused on the business and department priorities during the merger distractions that lasted over two years,” said Seth Feit, group vice president, talent for Charter (formerly chief learning officer at Time Warner Cable). Feit and his team were able to do so by watching employee morale, and constantly communicating to employees. “We created an open platform so that any employee could submit a question via email, and a centralized web page where employees could easily see our responses.” Feit said that increasing the communications channels to employees is vital, especially when it comes to stressing growth opportunities within the company and preparing employees for outside opportunities. “There were situations of rotating assignments, enhanced development, and team building exercises through leaders looking to make the most of the situation, and we supported those efforts,” he said.

Q&A with Seth Feit, Charter group vp of talent (formerly chief learning officer at Time Warner Cable):

What was one challenge that you faced when trying to balance the needs of employees and shareholders in an ever-changing situation?

The biggest challenge we faced was to find ways to keep employees focused on the business & department priorities during all of the merger distractions that lasted over two years.

What role did HR play in helping TWC thrive during the merger talks?

We were constantly monitoring morale and keeping a pulse check on employees.  We knew that it was necessary to communicate information to employees in a timely manner, and to listen and be responsive to their questions and concerns.  We created an open platform so that any employee could submit a question via email, and a centralized web page where employees could easily see our responses.

How can other HR departments help put employees first when the future is uncertain?

They need to step up communications, recognizing that there are always more questions in times of uncertainty.  We also emphasized the fact that there were many chances to gain experience through the changes, which are both character and resume building opportunities.  There were situations of rotating assignments, enhanced development, and team building exercises through leaders looking to make the most of the situation, and we supported those efforts.

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