Creating a Soft Landing for Recently Unemployed People to Find New Jobs

KettleSpace Teams Up with Uncubed to Help Recently Unemployed People Find New Jobs

Once upon a time, companies didn’t do too much to help unemployed people find new jobs. That was especially true when those out-of-work people used to work for competing companies.

By “once upon a time,” we mean as recently as the Great Recession of 2008, a time when nearly three million American workers lost their jobs over a period of just three months.

Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. AIG and Merrill Lynch almost did. And what did those companies that were still in business do to help unemployed, highly qualified people find new work? Well ... next to nothing, because most of them were laying off employees too. It was “sink or swim” and “survival of the fittest” for millions of unemployed professionals.

Times Have Changed

That “sink or swim” philosophy made sense in a business climate that valued competition over cooperation. At the time, companies placed so much value on beating the competition that if a competitor failed well, too bad for their former employees too.

We are pleased to note that that kind of ultra-competitive philosophy is disappearing. It is being replaced by a new kind of cooperation, even among companies that are selling similar products and competing for the same customers. And do you know what? Cooperation is turning out to be a better way of doing business that benefits everyone.

Here’s How the New Cooperation Works

In the wake of recent mass layoffs at WeWork, KettleSpace teamed up with Uncubed to organize a series of breakfasts for employees who have recently lost their jobs. We called the events Soft Landing, which makes a lot of sense, implying that losing a job is not a crash landing, but an opportunity to land gently, regroup, and make a fresh start.

We planned Soft Landing as an event where newly unemployed people could connect with each other and meet with New York City-based technology companies that are hiring. Within just a few hours after we opened registration for the first Soft Landing breakfast, more than 60 people signed up. They continued to add their names to a waiting list, so we held a second Soft Landing event. And we plan to go right on holding additional Soft Landings.

What Happened at Soft Landing?

We didn’t want to just open the doors and say, “Go ahead, network.” Instead, we wanted to have a solid program in place to help the people who attended, so we included an opportunity for attendees to meet with representatives of 12 companies who were hiring right now. That super charged the quality of the networking that was taking place.

One attendee sent us this message a few hours after the event:

"Great event! I already had one company reach out to me for an interview."

That was a sweet thing for us to hear. And we are not going to be overly modest about how excited people were about Soft Landing.

In fact, reporter Meghan Morris wrote about Soft Landing in an article in Business Insider, entitled “Life After WeWork: Laid-off employees take their next steps via Google docs, viral LinkedIn posts, and recruiting events held by ex-colleagues.”

Meghan wrote, “On Wednesday morning, about 65 former employees and recruiters gathered at a Chelsea, Manhattan, restaurant for a speed-networking event so popular that it had a wait-list. The event, called Soft Landing, was organized by two startups, KettleSpace and the talent company Uncubed.”

“The world needs more communities coming together when things get hard,” Nick Lovacchini, co-founder of KettleSpace, told Meghan. “We feel a sense of like-mindedness with many of the folks who were at WeWork . . . people who worked hard and believed in a vision.”

A New Way of Doing Business

At KettleSpace, we want to help people. We have already seen that helping people become successful is about more than just being nice, it is the best way of doing business. We are already benefiting from getting to know former WeWork employees, and we also know that the more good we can do for them, the more good they can do for us, empowering our company to grow.

Is this a completely new way of doing business? We’re not sure. Did we invent it? We’re pretty sure we didn’t. But it’s working so well, we plan to keep rolling with it. Be sure to read our blog often for more news on how this is all working out.

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