CHRO Barbara Kennedy Wins 2021 Best in Biz Award

December 21, 2021

Barbara Kennedy has earned the Gold Award in the HR Executive of the Year category for the 11th annual Best in Biz Awards 2021 during a year in which she and her team dealt with significant challenges brought on by COVID-19.

As Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Western Alliance Bank, Kennedy worked with her staff of 73 people to implement innovative programs designed to boost engagement, good health and people retention, — all while reducing isolation during the global pandemic that forced people to work from home.

The bank’s first-ever wellness programs — dubbed WAL Well — debuted and include:

  • Creating an in-house social platform with Facebook-style groups, including one focused on wellness, to support person-to person connections across the bank
  • Rolling out a test of Wondr Health, a digital well-being app to promote wellness during a period when a study found quarantined adults added a half pound of body fat every 10 days — Western Alliance test participants lost an average of 4.5 pounds each
  • Launching Hydro Health, a hydroponic workplace and home gardening/nutrition program that yielded hundreds of pounds of produce and spurred employee involvement

Kennedy’s HR team also onboarded 1,000 new people with the bank’s early 2021 acquisition of a top mortgage company, which represented a 50% increase in total workforce. To boost hiring and retention during — and especially after — quarantine, Kennedy developed and implemented a thorough interview and assessment process for new hires that resulted in a road map for professional success.

This Day One onboarding program pairs new employees with mentors and aligns people who are new to the bank with appropriate resource groups. The program includes regular check-ins and continuing education opportunities to support people at Western Alliance as they build their careers.

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Western Alliance Bank

With more than $66 billion in assets, Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE: WAL) is one of the country’s top-performing banking companies. Through its primary subsidiary, Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, business clients benefit from a full spectrum of tailored banking solutions. Major accolades include #2 best-performing of the 50 largest public U.S. banks in the S&P Global Market Intelligence listing for 2021, and #1 Best Emerging Regional Bank for 2022 by Bank Director. Serving clients across the country, Western Alliance Bank operates individual, full-service banking and financial brands with offices in key markets nationwide.