It’s a New Year and a fresh start for setting goals and meeting objectives. To help launch our 2016 Action Matters column, Global Marketing sat down with A&M’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Maria Coccaro, to discuss our firm’s vision for building a dynamic workplace as well as the core values and culture that make A&M a unique place to launch and build a career.
Global Marketing: The workplace has changed rapidly in recent years and will no doubt continue to do so in the New Year. Technology and marketplace trends are increasingly mobilizing employees and placing new demands on employers. How does A&M keep pace?
Maria Coccaro: At A&M, we recognize the importance of providing our organization with the tools that make our jobs easier and more effective. We are constantly assessing the demands of our employees’ roles and identifying ways to optimize efficiency and meet client expectations. Some of our upcoming initiatives will look to improve processes dedicated to increasing our operating effectiveness, aligning people and financial performance, as well as supporting and engaging our workforce enterprise-wide. In addition, we are committed to developing applications that are mobile-ready, which means employees can have the ability to view, submit and approve expenses on their mobile device; view and change their retirement plan allocations through a mobile application; even contact a doctor for an initial evaluation through one of our vendors. In Global Marketing, we’ve facilitated the firm-wide implementation of advanced CRM and automation software technologies that help our consultants communicate with clients and each other under one brand and one shared database of intelligence – making our go-to-market strategies unified and easier to execute. These are just a few examples of the types of investments we are making in technology and in our employees.
Global Marketing: A&M was born just over 30 years ago when Tony Alvarez II and Bryan Marsal recognized and seized the opportunity to provide radically different corporate advice to organizations facing mission-critical hurdles. Today, the firm has catapulted to over 2,500 employees around the world. What, in your opinion, has put A&M on such an impressive path of growth?
Maria Coccaro: Our firm’s overall lack of bureaucracy and emphasis on solving complex issues in the most efficient and effective way enables us to hire talent who look at issues not as problems, but as exciting challenges. We hire talent who want to be part of this unique culture – a culture that embraces change while maintaining the core values of integrity, quality, objectivity, fun and personal reward. It’s what’s in our DNA. From day one, we have prided ourselves on recruiting and retaining a certain type of individual – someone who wants to see their clients and the organization succeed as much as they desire charting their own unique path. There are no limits here. If you have ambition, vision and a collaborative spirit, there truly are no boundaries to what you can achieve at A&M. It is this mindset and these core characteristics, I believe, that have mapped our footprint across the globe and kept A&M on a path of acceleration and growth.
Global Marketing: Employees can easily spend just as much if not more time with their colleagues than they do with their own families. Even more demanding for employees can be the constant connectivity of our modern culture. How does A&M help employees maintain success in and outside of the firm, and achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Maria Coccaro: Fostering the message that A&M cares about its employees has led us down the path of continuing to develop programs which engage our employees in healthy lifestyle choices. We stress the importance of holistic well-being not only as it relates to physical health, but also as it pertains to mental well-being in both business and personal relationships. If your job performance is skyrocketing but your personal relationships or health is suffering, your overall success could be impeded in the long term. A&M Wellbeing provides the information, training and resources to help our employees make healthy choices for achieving continuous, integrated wellbeing. This past summer, the A&M Wellness team extended a Fitbit Challenge to all employees firm wide. The contest brought together people of all roles and ages and showed that a physically active lifestyle is not only rewarding but can be a fun complement to a busy lifestyle. Here in the U.S. and in London, we also participate annually in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge. This is a particularly popular series of events that really brings out a healthy competitive spirit in a lot of our employees.
Global Marketing: It sounds like A&M has built an exciting and rewarding career environment. What are some of the new initiatives that we can look forward to in 2016?
Maria Coccaro: A&M has expanded its geographic presence to reach most regions throughout the world. From Europe to Latin America to India and China, reaching and providing clients with exceptional service globally is a high priority. We look to leverage existing talent, as well as talent that has moved on from A&M but is still viewed as highly-valuable to our firm. To that end, A&M is in the process of launching an Alumni Relations Program which seeks to maintain and cultivate relationships with former employees for the purpose of keeping in touch with those who have, for various reasons, left the firm. The possibility of future business opportunities developing as a result of keeping our alumni in touch with each other and A&M has been the force behind this initiative. Of course, the talent pool of our current employee roster is exceptional and we want to ensure that our staff experiences a long and rewarding career. This spring, we will be launching an Employee Engagement Survey which will collect candid feedback on the current state of the employee experiences and encourage ways that we can continue to enhance our environment.
Careers at Alvarez & Marsal
About Maria Coccaro
Maria Coccaro is Chief Human Resources Officer with Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) based in New York.
Since 2004, under Ms. Coccaro’s leadership, the A&M HR team has been growing and developing in alignment with the exponential growth of the firm, from a company of 250 employees to over 2,500 worldwide. She and her global team provide advisory and operational expertise on benefits and compensation, employee relations and coaching, organizational design, talent acquisition, performance management and learning and development. Read more about Maria and her global leadership at A&M.