Kendeo Core: Change Management
Framework: Decision Making
Objective: To help recently displaced IT employes evaluate their current situation and plan their response.
Working with the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association (RCGA), we co-created a community based organization for recently laid off IT professional - Bounce Back Saint Louis. As part of the tool kit for the members, Kendeo created a card deck for participants to sort though in order to help them communicate and plan their response to their current situation.
Working with a core group we encoded a series of pain points that are typically felt by recently laid off employees. Issues were categorized as Financial, Career and Relationships. These issues were mapped to a deck of cards a series of activities in a decoding exercise. The cards were handed out to members as a sort and sequence activity. Once cards were selected as issues and flipped over, the solutions to the issues of concern were presented. Members were also encouraged to take the cards home to ensure that their partners and relatives could use the cards to talk about the issues and plan actionable steps together.
IT workers get a little extra help in sticking around
By David Nicklaus ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 05/16/2008
Mark Welle is losing his job at Macy’s, and he knows that the economy isn’t so great. As a 42-year-old in the fast-moving field of information technology, he also knows that potential employers might raise questions about his credentials.
Still, Welle chooses to be upbeat about his own prospects and those of his 19 colleagues in Macy’s IT department. Boosting his optimism is the assistance he’s getting from Right Management, an outplacement firm, and from an unusual deck of cards.
Right’s services are part of Macy’s severance package, which Welle calls “very good and very fair.” They’re available to most of the 850 people who are losing their jobs as the department store chain closes its Midwest division headquarters in downtown St. Louis.
The cards, though, are just for the IT workers. They come from a civic group, Greater St. Louis Works, that is trying to keep technology talent in town.
“Good, talented people do lose their jobs, and when that happens the region is at risk of losing them from our IT talent pool,” said Blair Forlaw, the group’s executive director. “They might go to a different market where there is a perception of greater demand, or they may leave IT altogether and go into a different field.”
Without a ready supply of technology workers, St. Louis wouldn’t be an attractive place for corporate headquarters or data centers. Companies like Express Scripts and Monsanto, Forlaw said, usually have 30 to 50 IT openings at a given time, even as others like Macy’s are cutting back.
“The supply is there. The demand is there. We have to figure out what it takes to connect the two precisely,” she said.
Enter the Bounce Back resource deck. Using the 20 Macy’s workers as a focus group, Greater St. Louis Works asked them what concerns and questions they had about entering the labor market. It then set out to find answers.
The result was a list of resources for everything from applying for unemployment benefits to updating one’s job skills to dealing with emotional and financial stress. Printing those resources on a deck of 30 cards lets each worker sort them into one stack for immediate needs and another for issues that may come up later.
Welle, whose job as Macy’s vice president for systems support and technology will end Aug. 1, said the cards already have been helpful. He learned, for example, that people in his situation are eligible for up to $5,000 in federal job-training funds.
As someone who switched from finance to information technology because he enjoyed learning new software and using it to automate business processes, he can see that he might need to burnish his credentials.
“I find that doesn’t resonate with a lot of companies when you tell them that you are self-taught,” he said. “They want certificates.”
Welle is certain, though, that he wants to stay in the IT field. He has promised his family - which includes three children, from junior high to college age - that they’ll stay in St. Louis.
The same is true for most of his colleagues. Welle said that aside from a handful of people moving to Atlanta with Macy’s, “everybody else on my team wants to stay in St. Louis and pursue opportunities here.”
Those are magical words for people like Forlaw, whose job is to keep the local talent pool as deep as possible. If a deck of cards can help, so much the better.