CTHRA’s President Erin Hand Shares Her Vision for 2012

Managing a Mobile and Virtual Workforce
Cox Communications shares winning tools and tips

CTHRA's 2012 Surveys Provide Industry-Specific Benchmarks
Join the call for participants in our trio of surveys


CTHRA's 2012 Directors Step to the Plate
CTHRA's officers and board members announced

Cable's Hottest Job Trends for 2012
Read the CableFAX article by CTHRA's Executive Director Pam Williams

Save the Date: June 15 in Atlanta
Plan to attend CTHRA's Annual HR Symposium

Home Sweet New Home
CTHRA is up and running in its new headquarters

Check Out CTHRA’s Newest Members

A Message from CTHRA's New President

By Erin Hand, VP of Talent and Development for Cox Communications

I can't imagine a more exciting time to be an HR professional in our industry! With the pace of change, heightened competition, new products and emerging technology, we have more opportunities than ever to have strategic impact on our organizations. All of these business opportunities and challenges have an impact on our companies' customers, as well as on people throughout the cable industry.

Erin Hand

As our industry evolves, so too does CTHRA. We have a new, fresh look that we feel better reflects our mission to provide an industry-specific forum and resources for HR professionals to drive organizational success. This spring we'll launch a completely new, user-friendly website. Not only has site navigation been simplified, but we've also added valuable resources, including articles penned by CTHRA staff and its members on lessons learned and winning strategies that will prove invaluable to HR pros. A new Job Seeker Center will showcase articles for folks on the move within our industry and for those looking to enter the exciting world of cable. In addition, you'll be able to easily connect with colleagues using CTHRA's online membership directory.

My fellow board members and I look forward to continuing CTHRA's mission to engage our membership and provide them with targeted resources and networking opportunities that are uniquely valuable to HR pros in cable. Our Annual HR Symposium is a particularly effective chance to facilitate a dialogue with colleagues on the trends and technologies that impact our industry. The program committee is hard at work on the agenda for the 2012 Symposium, and I hope you will all join us in Atlanta on June 15.

In addition to the yearly Symposium, we host webinars and regional roundtables throughout the year on topics ranging from CTHRA's annual industry surveys to the impact of social media in the workplace. We plan to continue these events in 2012, and I encourage you to check the CTHRA website for details and registration.

In short, 2012 promises to be another exciting year for CTHRA! I look forward to serving our community of HR professionals and seeing all of you in Atlanta at the CTHRA Symposium.


Managing a Mobile and Virtual Workforce

By Cox leaders Janice Roberts, VP of Field Services, and Erin Hand, VP of Talent & Development for Cox Communications

In recent years, the cable industry has seen the evolution of a whole new category of workers: those who perform their duties away from the office, either full- or part time—and their numbers are on the rise. We asked CTHRA's new President, Erin Hand, to share her insights on managing an off-site contingent in a way that produces winning results all around.

Q. How does Cox define mobile workers and virtual workers?
Cox:The mobile workforce consists of employees who are based at various Cox facilities and are regularly scheduled for work activities off the premises. Field technicians comprise the largest portion of this group. In contrast, virtual employees work from an alternative location, typically home, rather than the primary office. We have a number of virtual employees in the customer service organization as well as in a variety of professional and leadership roles.

Q. How many mobile workers does Cox have? Do you expect the number to increase, decrease or remain stable?
Cox: Within the Field Services organization Cox has just over 3,000 employees, including installers, technicians and their supervisors, who work from "mobile offices." This group makes up roughly two thirds of the field services workforce, and we expect the number to remain at this level.

Q. What are some of the advantages of maintaining mobile and virtual workforces?
One of the major advantagesfor employees, the company and most importantly our customersis increased productivity. Employees have greater flexibility in managing their work day, and they are better able to serve the customers by forgoing an office visit and traveling directly to and from the work location. Cox benefits not only from the resulting increase in efficiency, but also on better customer service and heightened community awareness.

These flexible work options also provide advantages in recruiting and retaining key talent. In particular, allowing employees to work remotely has enabled us to attract technically skilled employees who may have otherwise had to look elsewhere.

Q. What have you found to be the major challenge in managing a virtual workforce?
Cox: Staying connected, providing support, and ensuring that virtual employees are aware and in sync with the overall team and the company objectives. Both managers and employees need to learn and leverage new ways of communicating, and that requires a different level of commitment from both parties. The primary link, though, is the employee's direct manager, who must be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to communicate. Otherwise, virtual employees run the risk of feeling isolated and disconnected.

Q. What technologies, practices or policies do managers use to supervise, direct, and develop mobile and virtual workers?
Cox: Supporting a virtual workforce has required Cox to rethink traditional practicesdeploy new learning technology, new hiring practicesand be proactive about evaluating policies and procedures to support this new environment. Managers of virtual employees are required to take a specific leadership development program focused on leading remote and virtual employees.

Even though mobile employees are seldom in the office, they remain in contact with back-office employees and supervisors throughout the work day. Cox uses a variety of communication tools as well as highly mobile supervisors to keep remote employees connected to their team and company. Cox also has an extensive internal company communication program, with a website that shares company news and ensures that off-site workers have quick access to important and timely information.

Remote employees are also required to participate in company-sponsored on-site events, including monthly staff meetings, all-employee meetings and instructor-led training sessions.

Q. What resources have proven most effective in helping mobile and virtual workers to do their jobs?
Cox: Cox uses a variety of tools and new learning programs to support the changes in our workforce. Cox University offers training and development in a variety of blended formats that provide employees access to information, new skills and tools in a "just-in-time" learning environment. Our virtual classroom technology allows employees to participate in instructor-led sessions from a variety of locations. We have even conducted an entire new-hire curriculum through the virtual classroom and achieved the same level of success as we have with new hires who go through the traditional six week on-site program.

To better equip our mobile workforce for service delivery, we use a combination of wireless communications, mobile devices and information systems that provide remote access to job, service and technical information. We also provide resources to enhance effective communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing across these critical areas within the company.


CTHRA's 2012 Surveys Provide Industry-Specific Benchmarks

In 2012, CTHRA will conduct three industry-specific surveys to establish benchmarks and identify trends in the industry: Compensation, Employee Benefits, and Human Capital Metrics.

"CTHRA's annual surveys deliver information that is critical for strategic decision-making at the executive level," said Pamela Williams, CAE, CTHRA's Executive Director. "By participating in CTHRA's surveys, HR professionals arm themselves with the benchmarks and statistics they need to play a significant role in the success of their companies."

Data for CTHRA's 2012 Human Capital Metrics Survey will be collected and analyzed by Pearl Meyer & Partners. This survey will establish industry-specific benchmarks for more than 25 metrics that quantify how industry companies leverage human capital including productivity, Human Capital ROI (the pre-tax profit return per dollar invested in labor costs which includes cash compensation and benefits), median HR expenditure per employee, employee turnover, training cost expenditures and more. Data collection is currently underway and must be submitted by March 9. Results will be released May 15.

CTHRA's Employee Benefits Survey is being conducted by Willis, one of the world's largest brokerage firms. This survey's scope includes total and net medical cost per employee and covered employee; costs as a percentage of salary; contribution levels; relative benefit values (RBV); and plan features such as co-pay levels, deductibles, and co-insurance for each major medical offering. In addition, the survey will query participants about life insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance, and retirement plans. Data collection began January 9 and ends February 17, so interested companies need to enroll now. CTHRA will release the results by April 30 to allow employers to reference the findings during their budgeting process.

CTHRA's Annual Compensation Surveys, conducted by The Croner Company, are a go-to source for salary and incentive benchmarks, trend identification, and historical analysis. Last year, all of the top 25 national cable networks, five national broadcast networks, and the majority of the largest MSOs participated in the surveys which encompassed data for 154,000 incumbents including both exempt and nonexempt positions ranging from technicians to top executives. Data will be collected in March and April, with the findings released to participants this fall.

In each case, all data collected is held in strict confidence. Survey respondents see only their own corporate results and aggregate data for their own sector (programmer or operator). For more information or to register to participate in any of the surveys, please visit


CTHRA's 2012 Directors Step to the Plate

Effective January 1, Erin Hand, VP of Talent and Development for Cox Communications has taken the helm as CTHRA's President; Christopher Powell, EVP of HR for Scripps Networks Interactive, is Vice President/President-elect; William Strahan, SVP of HR for Comcast Cable, is Treasurer; Tomas Mathews, EVP of HR for Time Warner Cable, is Secretary; and Lisa Chang, SVP of HR for Turner Broadcasting System Inc. is the immediate Past President. The officers will serve two-year terms.

Abby Pfeiffer
Janice Turner

New to CTHRA's board (pictured at right) are Abby Pfeiffer, SVP of HR for Charter Communications, and Janice Turner, SVP of HR for WOW! Internet Cable Phone. In addition, CTHRA's 2012 board of directors includes Sheryl Anderson, SVP of HR and Administration for Starz Entertainment; Rosalind Clay Carter, SVP of HR for A+E Networks; Pamela Hagan, Corporate VP of HR for Bright House Networks; Eric Hawkins, SVP of HR for Discovery Communications; Lisa Kaye, President and CEO of; Margaret Lazo, EVP of HR for NBC Universal Television Entertainment; and Paul Richardson, SVP of HR for ESPN Inc. and Chief Diversity Officer for The Walt Disney Co.

"The dynamic leaders on CTHRA's 2012 board of directors bring an incredible depth of knowledge and broad perspectives to their strategic roles. We look forward to a great year ahead," shared Pamela Williams, CAE, CTHRA's Executive Director.

Cable's Hottest Job Trends for 2012

In the January 18 issue of CableFAX The Skinny, CTHRA's Executive Director Pamela Williams, CAE, assessed the skills sets most sought by industry employers this year. Sneak preview: The outlook is brighter than ever for techies—and also for job seekers less technically inclined. Read the article.

Save the Date: CTHRA's June 15 Symposium in Atlanta

The program committee is hard at work putting together a lineup that you won't want to miss. Industry leaders and HR experts will share their knowledge and insights about the latest developments in our ever-changing industry. In highly interactive breakout sessions, you'll have a chance to focus on the ideas and cutting-edge strategies that will most benefit you and your company.

Home Sweet New Home

CTHRA has moved down the street and we're open for business at our new offices at 1717 N. Naper Blvd., Suite 102, Naperville, IL 60563. Phone numbers and email addresses remain the same.

CTHRA's Newest Members

Farah Aslam
Maslow Media Group

Jen Bray
Time Warner Cable

Haley Burrow

Pat Cabello
NBC Universal Television

Debra Cornish
Cox Communications

Jane Ferguson
Bright House Networks

Alecia Fish
Time Warner Cable

Jennifer Hegman
Insight Communications

Laurie Knight
STARZ Entertainment Group

Mike McKelvaine


Desirea Milan
Time Warner Cable

Lisa Nadler
Cablevision Systems
Shelley Payes
Time Warner Cable

Caroline Schuster
Time Warner Cable

Erin Vierthaler
Cox Communications

Esther Weinberg
MindLight Group

Kellye Wright
Time Warner Cable