A new year means new opportunities and, for BARR Advisory associates, a new training program. The company has grown by leaps and bounds the past year, with new team members having to quickly adapt in order to keep up with client demand.
Hannah Kenney, manager, cyber risk advisory, took note of this issue and sprang into action, leading to the redevelopment of BARR’s associate training program, the BARR Buddy Program.
“As one of the first associates and the first fresh-out-of-college hire, I was a completely blank slate,”said Kenney. “My nature is to standardize processes, creating guides for myself in order to move toward doing my job more independently.”
Before long, Kenney’s knowledge base grew, and she became a go-to associate for new hires with questions.
“My perspective allowed me to identify very clear goals and objectives that are necessary for success here at BARR,” she said.
Kenney pitched her idea for the BARR Buddy program to the leadership team, and received positive feedback instantly. She was off and running. The result? A fully immersive, standardized training program that touches on each of the company’s core values.
“The strongest associations tie to our values of simplicity and future ready,” said Kenney. “We’re providing new hires with the most important skills needed to hit the ground running in terms of client work. And we personalize the training according to their specific role and preferred learning methods.”
Kenney describes the program as dynamic, with a mix of classes taught internally, third-party courses, and self-guided resources. As for what she’s most excited about?
“BARR Buddy office hours!” she said. “We now have a daily, standing meeting for new hires where they can talk about everything from granular, task-related items to more generalized questions about BARR’s culture, benefits, expectations, and beyond.”
The new office hours also provide associates with an opportunity for group discussion, which often leads to sharing of advice across new team members.
“These meetings are fun and generate a sense of camaraderie,” said Kenney. “And we definitely deviate from work-talk and into pop culture, personal goings-on, and weekend plans.”
Kenney’s vision to simplify the onboarding process has provided new associates with a sense of stability.
“It’s a safe place to learn, make mistakes, and get acquainted with the BARR way,” she added. “Onboarding shouldn’t be an opportunity to just throw knowledge at someone, but rather an immersive way to welcome them into your organization.”
The new program also includes opportunities for existing employees to gain further training by becoming a “knowledgeBARR contributor” (KBC), an initiative led by Melody Marra, client service operations manager. Marra’s vision for knowledgeBARR is for associates to have a chance to share what they know about any given topic with the rest of the team.
“I believe the best way to learn is by teaching, and we encourage each BARR associate to teach on any topic they feel relevant to work or life in general—from the latest cybersecurity trends to creative writing to community service and more,” said Kenney.
BARR plans to continue enhancing the program as needs change.
“Our industry is ever-evolving by necessity. With new technology, threats, and opportunities, it’s silly to assume training can be a one-and-done process. Training is a multiplier. Our ability to provide unparalleled support to our clients is either greatly increased or diminished based on the level of training each associate has.”
The program will set an even more secure foundation for BARR’s future, providing endless opportunities for associates to better themselves and the company.
“Every time an associate invests in themselves and takes training into their own hands, it makes the company better as a whole.”
To learn more about BARR’s new training program and job opportunities, contact us.