Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Human Resources

Sacramento’s Commitment to Community through Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development

Community Service, Coworking, Entrepreneurship, Event Recap, Human Resources, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Non-profit, Public Sector, Sacramento, Startup Company, Technology, The WorkShop, Training, Workforce Development

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

It’s an exciting time to be in Sacramento—especially if you’re looking at it from the perspective of our sports franchises. From the King’s most successful season in over 10 years to a potential Major League Soccer bid and subsequent arena built in the Railyards—the sky is the limit and our local economy benefits from this success.

Beyond making headlines in the sports pages, nothing screams vibrant economy like a strong workforce and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

KAI Partners takes our community engagement role seriously. Our leadership not only makes community engagement possible—they make it a priority. Community engagement is fundamental to our values, and it is what helps us continue to thrive as an organization.

KAI Partners recently had the opportunity to participate in two events focused on community engagement through workforce development and entrepreneurship.

The first event, sponsored by Valley Vision, was the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Advisory Committee meeting. This event brought together educators and employers to continue to push forward important work around developing the ICT Workforce and relevant pathways.

A strong turnout by educators allowed for interesting discussions around curriculum and its relevance to various industries’ skill demands. In the future, I hope more employers attend events like these. Employers are one of the most important stakeholders in this ongoing conversation and after the ICT meeting, one thing was clear:

More exchange is needed between educators and employers.

An exercise we performed within our breakout group highlighted this disconnect between employers and academics. We were given two job descriptions and were asked to give feedback on the skills—both technical and soft skills—needed to perform these jobs. We found that the technical requirements that employers associated with specific degrees did not match the actual skills acquired through that academic program and were outdated. This highlighted another reason why all stakeholders must work in tandem to ensure perception matches reality.

Next up on KAI Partners’ agenda was Pitch Week, sponsored by Sacramento State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The day-long event included two afternoon sessions of startup pitches sponsored by StartupSac and Future Four & More (an annual regional Business Concept Competition for northern California community college and California State University students, hosted by one of the participating schools in the region).

According to Katherine Cota, the Executive Director at the Carlsen Center, “The purpose of this event is to develop business startups, boost economic development, encourage entrepreneurial thinking, connect students to angel investors and venture capitalists, and provide them with a wider, regional network of students, mentors, and professionals.”

From a plant-based prepared meal service exclusively for kids, to a blockchain solution to reduce efficiencies for real estate land registries, it was gratifying to see entrepreneurs of every age and creed participate.

The future looks bright and KAI Partners looks forward to continuing to support the innovation ecosystem.

We will continue to partner with academia, non-profits and public servants alike to ensure our region becomes stronger, more innovative, and more resilient. KAI Partners is always looking to meet new people, support organizations, and help cultivate solutions—especially solutions around public sector innovation.

We’d love to get to know you better—drop us a line in the comments below, or stop by our coworking and collaboration space, The WorkShop Sacramento.

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, press, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

KAI Partners Internship Program

Agile, Business Analysis, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Human Resources, Information Technology, Internship Program, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Onboarding, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Professional Development, Sacramento, Scrum, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

KAI Partners recently graduated the second cohort of our Internship Program in Sacramento! With interns from Sacramento City College and Sierra College, we were honored to have such hard-working interns adding value to our Special Projects team for the past few months.

We wanted to check in with our interns to get their feedback on the internship program. Here’s what they had to say:

Sumayyah Jackson: Since I was young, I have been exposed to IT consulting—my aunt is in the Organizational Change Management (OCM) field and my father is an IT Consultant. While I had some prior knowledge, IT is not something I usually focus on, so I knew this internship would be stepping out of my comfort zone. I have always been open to change and learning, so this opportunity caused excitement rather than fear.

During my time at KAI Partners, I learned about each field in IT Consulting and I was able to gain background on these fields by interviewing a few of my colleagues. I became a Certified ScrumMaster, learning the ins and outs of the Agile/Scrum methodology. I learned to facilitate meetings, assisted in planning and executing events, and mapped out Business Process Diagrams using the BPMN 2.0 standards. Overall, this internship sparked an extreme interest in me for IT and Business. My internal personal skills strengthened along with my analytical and research skills.

Shyanne Long: I wanted to be an Intern for KAI Partners for a few reasons. I have family members who either are currently in the business or were previously in a similar line of work. However, they were never able to give a solid answer of what they actually did on a daily basis for work. I never had a clear understanding until I started working at KAI Partners.

The KAI Partners Internship Program exceeded my expectations! I was able to become a Certified ScrumMaster and practice using Scrum methods throughout the program. I learned how to create and maintain a LinkedIn profile, how to plan and execute events, and how to write a blog post. I also learned BPMN 2.0 standards and applied them by mapping KAI Partners’ business processes. I supported special projects, the communication team, and the business development team. I was forced out of my comfort zone many times with facilitating meetings, events, and conducting interviews with team members. It felt great to do things I never thought I could do before!

Says Stephen Alfano, KAI Partners’ Fall 2018 Intern Program Manager, “I’ve participated in many internship programs in my career. Of all the programs that I helped construct and lead, this one was the most rewarding for me personally. In addition to helping me drive special projects forward faster, this program provided me with a golden opportunity to deliver on our firm’s workforce development and diversity agenda—creating commercial value for our business in the process.”

Stephen continues, “Shyanne and Sumayyah were engaged and all-in from Day 1; I couldn’t ask for a better cohort.”

KAI Partners wants to thank our superstar interns for their diligence and dedication over the past few months. We know you will go on to do great things and we are excited to be just one small part of shaping your future!

Interested in applying for KAI Partners’ next Internship Program cohort? Email your resume to recruitment@kaipartners.com.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The OCM Consultant

Business Analysis, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Communications, Continuous Improvement, Corporate Training, Government, Healthcare, Human Resources, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Process Improvement, Professional Development, Prosci, Sacramento, Six Sigma, Technology

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of Denise Larcade, an Organizational Change Management (OCM) Consultant for KAI Partners. Denise recently supported Business Process Re-engineering implementation for a KAI Partners client before moving on to implement some special projects at KAI Partners headquarters. Denise’s next client-facing role starts soon—she will be an OCM consultant for a California public sector state agency to help them move from a paper system to an electronic process.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

Denise Larcade: I started in grocery retail working in the stores—I found areas where I excelled and was able to implement Human Resource, Technology, and Operations practices. The grocery industry, much like banking and airlines, fell into mergers and acquisitions. I was placed on various mergers and acquisitions teams and due to my experience, eventually led activities to support retail mergers and acquisitions. My last merger came with a relocation from Idaho to Minnesota which didn’t work for my family at that time, so I chose to go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree. Not enough to fill my time and still residing in Idaho, I looked for local opportunities where my skills would transfer outside of the retail industry. I was hired on as a contractor to a local tech firm headquartered in Boise, Idaho to work on HR restructuring. While creating a plan to support HR restructuring, I saw an opportunity to move from paper-based manual processes to electronic stream-lined process improvements. My next venture, also outside of my roots in retail, was to lead training and development efforts to support the implementation of Idaho state’s new MMIS (Medicaid Management Information System). Two years in, I received the phone call from a former Idaho colleague at MMIS to support training and development on California’s MMIS. This was the opportunity to move back home to California, and I was excited to spend more time with my 96-year-old grandmother. I moved back to California and was fortunate to have three quality years with the matriarch of our family.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

DL: I received training and certification as part of leadership development when I worked in grocery retail. This training was instrumental in understanding the people side of change long before Prosci was identified as a Change Methodology. My experience in mergers and acquisitions prepared me for being a leader for change. Later, getting my Prosci certification was a desire as the methodology aligned to activities I valued in my merger and acquisitions experience.

I have been twice certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. The first time was more than 20 years ago and my recent certification occurred earlier in 2018. It was nice to compare what is still a valued practice in Lean Six Sigma methodologies and how technology advancements provide a more streamlined approach to process improvement.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

DL: Teaching others and assisting resistors through change. No one likes change and what I find most interesting is that we adapt and make changes in our personal lives every day, so why are we not as willing to make changes in our work lives? I like leading a group through the awareness of making a personal change and how and why adopting that same mindset is valuable to you, to others, and to your employer in your work life.

KAI: What is one of the most common question you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

DL: “Why do we have to change? We have been doing it this way forever. Doesn’t ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ apply?” My advice is to walk people through their personal life changes, e.g., The oven still works and isn’t broken, so why would you invest in a microwave? What are the benefits of a microwave versus an oven? Do those benefits support the investment? There are so many examples that support change. If we don’t change as a business, how can we be current and competitive?

Now that we’ve learned more about Denise’s OCM work, here’s a little more about her!

Quick Q&A with Denise:

Daily, must-visit website: I don’t have one, but I subscribe to many technology and change newsletters.  Sometimes you need something that pertains to your current focus of work.

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: Top Pop and Top Country—I like to be relatable to the generations following mine. The music is usually uplifting and gives me lots of positive energy.

Best professional advice received: My grandfather was a great businessman; he developed his own corporation and was successful as a professional business leader, CEO, and mentor. He always said, “Your word is your commitment and treat others how you would like to be treated.”

Book you can read over and over again: Jack Welch’s book “Winning.” I could read it over and over again and it always pertains to my work at hand.

Most-recent binge-watched show: I don’t watch much TV and tend to turn it on for background noise; however, I am a fan of Survivor and the Amazing Race. I love to watch people problem-solve and I like to be on teams where people problem-solve.

About Denise: Denise Larcade is an Organizational Development Consultant and Merger and Acquisitions Expert. She is a Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and is Prosci certified. She has over 25 years of experience in training, development, and leading companies through organizational change management. Denise has worked in corporate retail, technology, and government healthcare and most recently has experience with large-scale implementations nationwide. She currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing client support to KAI Partners’ state clients. Denise grew up in the Silicon Valley and relocated to Utah and Idaho before recently returning to her native California roots.

Where Have All the Project Managers Gone?

Human Resources, KAI Partners, Onboarding, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Workforce Development

By Stephen Alfano, CSM

Run a project manager job search for your location on Glassdoor.com or Indeed.com right now. Chances are good you’ll find there are at least 250 openings. [In Sacramento, on 10/18/2018, I found 936 project manager opportunities on Glassdoor and 256 on Indeed.]

Widen the search area to include your state or province and you’ll see the need for project managers expands exponentially. [In California, on 10/18/2018, there were 20,256 project manager jobs posted on Glassdoor and 5,322 on Indeed.]

Even though I wasn’t a math major in college, and I’m nowhere near being a labor statistician, I can see that job openings in the thousands translates into a huge, human resource and talent gap. This makes one wonder where all the available project managers have gone—in short, they are busy working elsewhere, or they have retired.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) in a report generated five years ago, the shortage of available project managers is right on track with a trend that started in 2008. The report states:

“[through] the decade ending in 2020, 15.7 million new project management roles will be created]” in the U.S. alone with another 13.4 million growing out of 10 other large job markets, including Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

In other words, the shortage is worldwide…which makes me wonder who’s working to fill the global gap. (Hopefully everyone.)

Regardless of who or how many folks are on the task of filling that gap, resolving the shortage is paramount. And the solution to do so, in my humble opinion, needs to start and be sustainable at the local level—through workforce development initiatives that are driven by diversity and economic equality outreach and education campaigns (subject matter that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time).

When I published the blog post, “Why Workforce Development is Everybody’s Business” last October, I hoped my narrative would spark change in the Sacramento business and nonprofit communities. I thought I made my request flexible enough to appeal to both change agents and policymakers to get busy building up the capability and capacity of the regions’ employable talent base. I believed then and even more so now that to have a sustainable workforce development initiative in any community, you need to ensure there is a certified and available pool of highly-skilled resources (including project managers) ready in the queue.

Having these highly-skilled resources in reserve helps fuel innovation and income growth in the marketplace. It brings tangible benefits to the business and public sector leaders looking for options beyond the conventional (and ingrained) approach of binding economic empowerment goals with commercial development tax incentives and concessions.

Perhaps my expectations for a groundswell were too high back then. Moreover, a year later, especially with the unemployment rate around 3.7% in the country and the Sacramento area (a 50-year low!), my rallying cry must sound a bit unnecessary. But I assure you, and most economists and human resources professionals would agree that dismissing the need to build and support a pipeline of upskilled and qualified candidates is foolishness. Prosperity comes in cycles. The next economic downturn could be right around the corner. Planning and preparing for that event isn’t an option. More important, it will take a superhuman effort to minimize the fallout and prevent another great recession. In the meantime, the need for project managers will continue to grow.

Again according to the PMI, this time from the Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap – 2017–2027 report: “[by] 2027, employers will need 87.7 million individuals working in project management oriented roles.” So, if you live in the Sacramento region and are considering a career in the Project Management field, start here.

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has over 30 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and support services to California State Departments.

3 Tips on Using Servant Leadership to Build Successful Relationships

Communications, Coworking, Employee Engagement, Human Resources, KAI Partners, Managing/Leadership, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM, The WorkShop

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D, SHRM-CP, CSM, LSSGB

As a People Operations Manager (traditionally, an HR Manager), my focus is relationship centric. From relationship management to talent management and everything in between, people are at the center of what I do—hence my job title!

Without strong relationships, I would not be able to do my job effectively. Business relationships are important both outside and inside of the organization. Strong relationships lead to strong teams. These are important in any organization because there is an ability to accomplish more together than as individuals. But how does one go about building strong and resilient relationships?

Relationships fundamentally, must be two pronged. There must be effort made on both sides for a strong working relationship to develop. The expectation must be mutual where all parties feel that equal participation and effort are being put forth. This creates accountability and reliability as well. Managing that expectation is important to making sure everyone is on the same page.

In my organization, we have always worked in teams in one way or another. I have worked with teams as small as two and as large as eight. As an introvert, working on teams was not always my first choice; however, I’ve come to not only appreciate the team dynamic but in some instances, I rely on those relationships when I’m stuck or just need to talk through something that I am working on. And, I am able to offer the same to my colleagues as well, because we have built that relationship.

Ideally, the focus of the relationship is not what you can get out of it.

Relationships are about what you put into it and what you can offer the other person, like the sharing of ideas and strengths to get to the best possible outcome.

In my opinion, a relationship needs be cultivated and built. One way this can be done is through a servant leadership approach or attitude, which demonstrates care and compassion. It is the will to serve others first. Here are a few ideas to demonstrate how using a servant leadership approach can assist you in developing strong lasting relationships and teams.

  1. Demonstrate and Encourage: Build the kind of relationship and team you want through example. Let others see you serve and it will naturally encourage that behavior in others. People see what you do and if you are serving others that in turn cultivates strong relationships and teams, it will catch on and others will want to join you.
  2. Invest: Give others your time. Offer to assist with projects, brainstorm together, etc. Let people know that you’re not too busy to assist them. Everyone’s time is valuable—show that by giving away some of yours.
  3. Care: One of the best ways we can build relationships in through example. The way we treat others is a direct reflection on how we want to be treated. Showing care for others is a fundamental stepping stone to building a strong, resilient, and lasting relationship.

KAI Partners recently celebrated 15 years of doing business in California. One way we’ve accomplished this is by fostering our relationships. Our new coworking space, The WorkShop – Sacramento, follows this same model. If you’re looking for a community of individuals who are always willing to talk through an issue or help one another succeed, then look no further than The WorkShop.

About the Author: Dr. Melissa McManus is the Human Resources Manager for KAI Partners. Melissa is passionate about human behavior and knowledge transfer and believes that human capital drives any organization to success. Melissa is a CSM, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and SHRM-Certified Professional. She holds a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. She is ardent about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), going to the movies, spending time with her munchkins, line dancing, being with friends and wine tasting.

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