2002 Best Workplaces For Finance Professionals

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Press Release

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), The Hackett Group, and CFO magazine have announced that the winners of the 2002 Best Workplaces for Finance Professionals are:

  • Kraft Foods North America, Inc.
  • CNA Financial Corporation
  • The Vanguard Group, Inc.

These companies were recognized for their dedication to providing satisfying and innovative work environments that attract and retain top-notch finance talent.

"Now, more than ever, organizations are relying on the knowledge and skills of financial professionals, viewing them as valuable assets to the workplace," said Jim Kaitz, AFP's president and CEO. "The Best Workplaces program recognizes companies that provide the tools employees need to expand their areas of expertise and stay ahead of the curve in this demanding environment. We congratulate Kraft, CNA and Vanguard for exceeding employee demands and offering preeminent workplaces for financial professionals."

Launched in 2000, the Best Workplaces for Finance Professionals program evaluates organizations based on employee satisfaction surveys, an online company questionnaire, and for program finalists, an executive interview. Nearly 150 organizations registered to participate. The confidential application process measures best practice utilization in several key dimensions: quality of work life, personal and professional development, employee job satisfaction, technology and tools, and innovation. Organizations that completed this year's application process received a customized report evaluating their use of best practices compared with leading-edge companies.

The Best Workplaces honorees were recognized at The AFP 23rd Annual Conference in New Orleans, November 3-6, 2002. Details on how these companies created and deployed best practices to provide attractive work environments are highlighted in a feature story in CFO magazine's November 2002 issue.

"While these are difficult economic times, companies should not diminish their focus on attracting and retaining top talent," said Richard T. Roth, CPA, managing director of The Hackett Group. "The Best Workplaces program looks for companies that foster communication with and among employees, and enable them to make significant contributions to the organization's success. Recognizing innovators in finance-function management, and helping other to learn from their strategies is a boon for companies seeking new ways to improve finance's effectiveness."

About the Honorees
Northfield, Illinois-based Kraft Foods is the largest food company in North America and the second largest worldwide with nearly $34 billion in revenues and 113,000 employees. Kraft Foods North America (KFNA) promotes job rotation to enhance employee development, job training, career development and volunteerism. KFNA Finance's intranet provides professional development resources for its employees including access to training, mentoring and career planning tools.

CNA Financial Corporation has been providing insurance for businesses and individuals for more than 100 years. Its Finance employees gather every six months at an offsite location to hear guest speakers from other areas within CNA and to discuss organizational matters. The Chicago-based company also supports flexible work hours, community involvement and a philosophy of open communication among all levels of the Finance staff.

The Vanguard Group is a global investment management company headquartered in Valley Forge, PA, with $540 billion in net assets. Employees benefit from an award-winning in-house training program, generous and comprehensive benefits, a caring and supportive team-oriented environment, tuition reimbursement, and employee satisfaction surveys every two years. The Vanguard Unmatchable Excellence (VUE) program is a Six Sigma-style continuous improvement program, implemented company-wide that motivates employees to improve efficiencies, and understand their personal impact on Vanguard's overall performance and success.

In addition to the three companies recognized for overall achievement, the program recognized leaders in the following five specific dimensions:

Innovation -- Kraft Foods -- for initiatives such as an intranet Web site which enables a wide array of employee development opportunities such as a mentoring program, training and career planning, as well as an annual employee satisfaction survey within Finance, and a career development month

Technology and Tools -- FedEx Express -- for Web-enabling enterprise-wide financial applications, developing annual employee objectives online to promote cross-functional goals aligned with corporate goals, and FX TV that provides company information to employees throughout the workplace and via the Internet

Employee Job Satisfaction -- Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities Co., Inc. -- for providing a dynamic work atmosphere that features flexible work schedules, intensive training programs, cross-functional department meetings and company-sponsored activities

Personal and Professional Development -- Kraft Foods -- for its use of career profiles, which include background experience, interests, aspirations, and strengths and weaknesses, to identify where the individual can develop and move within the company

Quality of Work Life -- Vanguard -- for implementation of cross-functional teams, partnering among Human Resources and Finance staffs, clearly articulating organizational goals, maintaining a company store, and sponsoring in-house training and education courses

Interested Finance departments can begin the application process for the 2003 recognition year at www.bestworkplaces.org. There is no fee to participate and the deadline for completed entries is May 2, 2003. For more information, call Best Workplaces for Finance Professionals at 301.907.2862.

About the Partners
The Association for Financial Professionals in Bethesda, Maryland, supports more than 14,000 individual members from a wide range of industries throughout all stages of their careers in various aspects of treasury and financial management. AFP is the preferred resource for financial professionals for continuing education, financial tools and publications, career development, certifications, research, representation to legislators and regulators, and the development of industry standards.

The Hackett Group, (www.TheHackettGroup.com), an Answerthink company, provides clients with fact-based, objective insights into the optimal design of business processes. Hackett's empirically derived guidance is backed by its continuously updated database of performance metrics and best practices in use at nearly 2,000 client organizations, including 100% of the Dow Jones Industrials, 90% of the Fortune 100 and 84% of the Dow Jones Global Titans Index. In addition to comprehensive and rapid-cycle benchmark studies of finance, IT and related corporate functions, Hackett offers subscription-based executive learning programs in shared services and other key administrative processes.

CFO magazine, a member of The Economist Group, is the leading business magazine written and edited specifically for senior executives with financial responsibility. On a monthly basis, CFO provides its 435,000 readers with in-depth coverage of strategic financial management and its impact on corporate bottom lines. CFO is also published worldwide, covering the global market with CFO Europe and CFO Asia.

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