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Company: Advisor Group, Phoenix, AZ USA

Nomination Category: Rising HR Star of the Year


Nomination Title: Kaddie Stephens, HR Communications Manager


Individual Essay

Advisor Group is one of the largest networks in the U.S. of independent financial advisors, overseeing $268+ billion in client assets. The company’s 1,000+ employees in 5 states serve 7,000+ customers in a fast-paced, dynamic industry. The past 18 months have been a time of growth and vitality: the business added 2,000 more customers (+35%), launched multiple new services, integrated 3 major acquisitions, and addressed significant new regulatory requirements.

The 17-member HR team depends on a steady flow of multi-media internal communications to inform, motivate and engage employees, and to attract outside candidates to open roles. A key member of the team is HR Communications Manager Kaddie Stephens, age 24, who joined the business fulltime in August 2018 to support communications on a variety of HR culture, engagement, training, metrics, compensation and recruiting initiatives.

Kaddie is deeply embedded at the center of the HR team, supporting every HR functional leader specifically, and also every functional leader in the business. She combines her objective storytelling skills with an “average employee perspective” to craft compelling communications free from HR jargon, simple to understand, and attractively presented with photos, infographics and video clips. Here are several examples of Kaddie’s contribution to core HR deliverables:

Attracting & Retaining a Talented Team:

Kaddie assists with weekly Glassdoor & LinkedIn job postings. Her work on the external Careers website and frequent and timely updates to social media platforms have helped 200+ roles to be filled in the past year.

Kaddie created multi-format content for a talent branding campaign, and developed and presented a social media webinar to employees. She also filmed, edited and produced 23 employee career testimonial videos. These videos had a dual benefit of employee engagement and role model visibility when used internally, and when used externally on the Career website, showcase these employees as “brand ambassadors,” giving candidates a personalized look into company culture from a current employee.

Engaging Employees:

Kaddie works closely with the Employee Activity Committees (EAC) at each of our 5 sites and the business 22-member Employee Engagement Group (EEG). She helps them be more proactive and professional in how they describe their events and projects, which in turn gives them more visibility with fellow employees, and demonstrates the business commitment to a positive workplace environment.

Kaddie assists with the writing & distribution of more than 40 e-newsletters per month that spotlight various HR and business initiatives. She also writes and produces frequent follow-up stories from company events, important for those unable to attend. She is the content editor for the company’s intranet, and ensures timely updates and content changes, allowing employees to stay informed and improve their self-sufficiency and productivity. Her many video productions reinforce various HR initiatives and process changes, and give visual examples of business strategy.

Kaddie also co-leads the Community Service Program, both in planning events and with communications that encourage employees to use their Voluntary Time Off (VTO) benefit.

Recognition Program & Processes:

After local Town Hall meetings hosted by site leaders, Kaddie takes their slides and creates unique scrolling musical recognition videos in which employee names and their accomplishments are shared company-wide. Every quarter she also transforms a boring Excel document into a colorful and attractive “kudos from customers” communication to highlight customer appreciation for service excellence.

Finally, in perhaps the most impressive display yet of her talent, Kaddie planned and developed an innovative Women’s Leadership Career Panel, and served as the moderator. This involved: working with a local college, obtaining 10 female executives to speak, coordinating attendance, and issuing multiple follow-up video clips, photos and stories (see coverage story attached).

Keep in mind everything described above has happened in less than one year… Kaddie is truly a rising HR star!

Individual Summary

1. Written & edited 800+ e-newsletters issued from 13 e-channels
2. Produced 150+ videos, gathering 5,000+ views in 12 months
3. Produced 23 employee testimonial videos; 12+ featured on external careers site
4. Hosted “lunch & learns” for teams, providing hands on assistance optimizing social media profiles to attract candidates to hard-to-fill roles.
5. Developed and moderated first on-site community service event with college students & female executives
6. Hosted 9-hour photo shoot, capturing authentic images of real employees in the workplace for use in company communications
7. Co-Chair for Community Service team and local site Charitable Works Committee
8. Manages content for a massive 2,000 page Intranet site hosting all-business content
9. Filmed & produced a six-member Executive Steering Committee Video for Service Culture Transformation, the top priority for the business.
10. Created visible talent brand, reaching a high of 4.4 Glassdoor rating from a 2.6