Thread regarding Kroger Co. layoffs

"Transformation"

Earlier this year Kroger hired Boston Consulting group led by Kristy Ellmer to come in and "Transform" how Kroger works. We started seeing talk about Transformation and Application Rationalization right before the pandemic, it was vague and we didn't know what it meant.

Fast forward to this week and we were brought into a last minute meeting with IT leadership and told we will have a 20 minute 1 on 1 with our VP to talk about our new verticals. Leadership on the phone was very upbeat and said that this would be great for us. There was no indication that our jobs were in jeopardy.

The next day during the 1 on 1s we learned that many teams were being let go. Team members have to reapply for other Kroger jobs by Nov 30 or accept a severance.

This is absolutely crazy, Kroger always talks about how we're a family and when I started here over a decade ago it really did feel like that. 5 years ago they offered an early retirement program to cut costs and it was extremely professional and transparent. This time it is a slap in the face to loyal employees that have dedicated many years to supporting legacy applications with limited resources. Sometimes we sacrifice time with our families to support these systems in the middle of the night so we can keep food on the shelves. For Kroger to do something like this in the middle of a pandemic when Kroger is thriving makes no sense. It will impact hundreds of Cincinnati families and many high paying jobs will be lost.

I will never trust another Fortune 500 ever again. Remember, they don't care about us. We are just a number and the company will exist long after you're gone. If you see Boston Consulting group, get your resume ready.

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Post ID: @OP+17yUmzSa

33 replies (most recent on top)

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2020/11/23/kroger-shuffles-tech-jobs-as-it-expands.html?ana=e_ae_prem&j=90539049&t=Afternoon&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWWpVMU5UY3paREk1TkdFMiIsInQiOiJYeDR5OHZ4XC84OXZ0QUNod0Y2bmRNaTVFWjdsTk5KRCtZZno4ZG9JcGRYalpsWjBGZ3Q5WU9qbmsxaVlXckRcL1IzVDVJZEJMb1dkSXpBSGRIa0YxZW5neUw3azJKcUFaTEpKK2RRQTFidURGRXM3OU52MXBCblpvMzh6SVo0RjRwaHhSbGN3YXBJcUpsT2V4KzJNRVVvZz09In0%3D

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Post ID: @wdjc+17yUmzSa

What do you'll think about the management of a company who could not figure out the skill set of its associate in their long tenures with some having multiple decades and now miraculously they can learn it all in 45 minutes of an "Interview". Amazing...

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Post ID: @wypf+17yUmzSa

Is there any way to unsubscribe from the stupid, insulting, condescending Kristy Ellmer Fresh Forward emails?
"Look at all we've accomplished together!"
"Let's have an uplift!"
"This week I was reflecting on our transformation, and it's amazing what I saw..."

We? We nothing. You're a hired consultant. You're a hatchet woman. Those who you don't lay off will have morale k–led forever. Go away, and take your uplift with you. Goodbye.

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Post ID: @frhe+17yUmzSa

So this transformation only affects IT dept in GO? And the other GO hubs in Blue Ash, Portland etc?

I heard accounting got cut to, went to regional leaders, and Fresh and CS Sales Managers were given a final date if january and their jobs are gone.

What about HR? I heard they were finally getting cut... but still nothing

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Post ID: @cvmj+17yUmzSa

The way this has been handled is TERRIBLE. Everyone was completely blindsided by this, and left feeling totally betrayed. We have given our lives to this company, especially during the past few months when we have given everything to keep Kroger afloat during COVID. As a thank you - 30 days to find a new role or else you’re fired. It’s completely disrespectful and shows how little Kroger values their employees. You can keep your “transformation”.

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Post ID: @bhbr+17yUmzSa

I was told I have a place in the organization and would not need to reapply. But I'm still not sure if that means I'll be doing the same work. Also, there are about 800+ openings, so maybe only a few will be let go. I'm just not sure if I should be happy or feel left out of a potential opportunity to sneak into a new role and learn it from the ground up

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Post ID: @9nup+17yUmzSa

Does Associate Calibration really mean we only want you here 2-5 years? If that is the case it is probably not worth your time to invest a career in a place like this! Raising a family and paying off a mortgage takes longer than this and let's face it who needs to looks for a job, sell a home, relocate etc. while raising a family every 2-5 years? Forget it!

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Post ID: @8zod+17yUmzSa

You know that amazes me the most about this? That Senior Leadership, those setting the course and making the key strategies given for execution by the team's, remains the same. When a group fails they remove the commander, not the troops. This is the complete opposite.

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Post ID: @8tms+17yUmzSa

Asking employees to “reapply” for new jobs only confirms Kroger is not capable of mastering its own data. If it can’t chart employee performance, talents, and potential and “promote” (or lay-off) people accordingly, then Amazon and Walmart have nothing to worry about.

It’s doubtful Kroger is able to master its customer data and make strategic decisions there, either.

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Post ID: @8qah+17yUmzSa

Hearn’s 84.51 VP Milen Mahadevan on a FF cal today say this would result in more jobs, guessing that he meant to say for younger cheaper and offshore talent they will bring in.

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Post ID: @8def+17yUmzSa

Re: None of it makes sense

I don't see any connection so far. looks like most people are included

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Post ID: @7wvj+17yUmzSa

I do not work at Kroger but I have a loved one suffering through this and an associate of them. Just curious doesanyone have serious health problems or a dependent on your insurance with serious health problems? Chronic conditions, cancer, emphysema, diabetes etc. Both individuals I know do and I just wonder if those high insurance cost played into the talent evaluation of individual team members.

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Post ID: @6dso+17yUmzSa

I will give 100 fake fuel points to anyone who can make a gif/meme of this:
"Kroger Thanksgiving Special: The Hunger Games"
Get creative. Make it look like an in store ad. Show Krojis fighting each other in front of the Panel of Judges.

Seriously, Kroger? This is just too coincidental.

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Post ID: @6krf+17yUmzSa

Anyone heard when we are allowed to tell the business that we’re not going to meet their deadlines?

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Post ID: @5ebd+17yUmzSa

Here is the logic behind this: They will let more experienced talent go first because they know if those are the ones that were to remain, then they would become frustrated and more likely to leave the company on their own given they are more marketable. This scenario leaves the company short handed compared to taking less experienced associates, promoting them, giving them raises to work harder and longer but getting them tied to the money.

You have a subjective number assigned to you that reflects what they think of your talent, your future potential, the probability of you wanting to stay with the company or do they think you will leave on your own, your age, your salary, and a value assigned for the impact of loosing you in the department. It is called ASSOCIATE CALIBRATION.

Talent is weighted no more than other variables. Worrisome more is that the people making these assesments probably wouldnt know you if they passed you in the hall. Dont look to your supervisor for answers or help. This is a joint venture of demographic blending devised
by HR and blessed by Legal. That is why it does'nt make sense to you.

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Post ID: @5vwh+17yUmzSa

Here is the logic behind this: They will let more experienced talent go first because they know if those are the ones that were to remain, then they would become frustrated and more likely to leave the company on their own given they are more marketable. This scenario leaves the company short handed compared to taking less experienced associates, promoting them, giving them raises to work harder and longer but getting them tied to the money.

You have a subjective number assigned to you that reflects what they think of your talent, your future potential, the probability of you wanting to stay with the company or do they think you will leave on your own, your age, your salary, and a value assigned for the impact of loosing you in the department. It is called ASSOCIATE CALIBRATION.

Talent is weighted no more than other variables. Worrisome more is that the people making these assesments probably wouldnt know you if they passed you in the hall. Dont look to your supervisor for answers or help. This is a joint venture of demographic blending devised
by HR and blessed by Legal. That is why it does'nt make sense to you.

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Post ID: @5lih+17yUmzSa

F****K KROGER . All this one month re applying for new jobs is a cover up and big sham , nobody is getting fooled by this arrangement .

Just update resume and get applying and hope u land a better job before you are handed the pink slip officially .

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Post ID: @5vao+17yUmzSa

Super sad reading these comments. I've worked with some really talented people over the last decade at this company. It has gone downhill since Dave Dillion left - Kroger is doing better than ever and Rodney still can't turn a profit. He's out of his league and so scared of Amazon

Good luck everyone. We'll find other jobs and for more pay, it just s—s to have to go through this at the worst possible time. Loyalty is apparently a one way street these days

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Post ID: @4myw+17yUmzSa

So, I’d love someone to tell me how this is expected to work. Neither my manager not his manager knew which members of our team had necks on the chopping block. It’s not related to performance. It’s that you don’t fit a “role” - as newly-redefined by the Transformation team, without input from those managing the work in progress by affected individuals.

Review available jobs, apply for as many as you like. Try to determine what mysterious detriments make you unsuited you your current role. And, what happens to transition these hundreds of people from old to new role - again without input or direction from several involved and highly impacted levels of management?

In sum - if you got “the talk,” Kroger is telling you they do not care if they lose you. So, it’s hard not to be aware that you are underdogging your way through whatever “opportunities” are available. It’s truly disgusting. I’ve never seen anything like it - surely never expected it, working in technology for a wildly successful Grocery company experiencing record profits from online business during Covid. Ham-fistedly severing long-term, talented, and deeply committed associates at the Holidays. Just unreal. And a stain on the name of Barney Kroger.

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Post ID: @4yjf+17yUmzSa

Yup. I bought the lies. I bought the hype. Also if we spill the beans our severance is at risk. I have problem interviewing as I can tank that fabulously. I have no desire to work for a company that I’m told I have no talent anymore. I’m not the right fit they are looking for but of course they can’t tell you what fit they mean or even talent. All I know is that if you made a decent salary. Had years of service you are toast. Nov 30. Just have to make it till nov 30 before I can tell them to f themselves

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Post ID: @3osk+17yUmzSa

is it taxes? Money pouring in so pay out bonus early and maybe buy out contractors too?

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Post ID: @3htl+17yUmzSa

This isn't just affecting Cincinnati FTEs either; every hub Kroger has is falling under this "opportunity": Portland, San Diego, etc.This has a national (and international) reach.

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Post ID: @2mpw+17yUmzSa

When I got my FTE position with Kroger Technology, I thought; finally, I've made it. No more consulting/contract jobs, wondering where I'll be and what I'll be doing every 6 months to a year. Now I'm being told I may not have a job as of November 30. This has been a major shock to my fellow colleagues and management in my department. During a year where Kroger is beyond thriving, and we've been seeing record breaking / early bonus payouts of 200% throughout the year. It simply doesn't make sense. Who is going to keep the lights on for all of these legacy applications?

I found it really odd that we (1400 KTD associates) were to have private 1:1 meetings with leadership over the course of a week to discuss "how org transformation will impact your role". Well now it makes sense. If you have a 1:1 meeting in your calendar, you don't have a job anymore. You'll have access to apply and interview for a new position, but the position that you have now might no longer be available... It's troubling that they are pitching this as an "opportunity". Despite ending the meeting with the advice of updating your resume, along with a email with details for a 24-hr "Well-Being" hotline for dealing with stress, anxiety, loss, depression, etc... Many associates in the Cincy area are going to lose their high paying jobs, during a global pandemic and right in time for the holidays.

Even if I'm one of the lucky ones who still have a job after Nov 30; what is morale going to look like going forward? How much crucial talent will we now be missing in our department? Who is going to have to pick up the slack?

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Post ID: @2xhp+17yUmzSa

I could be wrong but I think they pay to be in that top 50 places to work list. 😂 Also computerworld? Are they trying to attract devs in the 90s?

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Post ID: @2dig+17yUmzSa

You know, I'm old enough to have grown up with Kroger as a home-town fixture. We all saw the same strange commercials featuring the guy with that crazy voice.

When I got hired into Kroger, I was so proud. After struggling for a long time, I finally made it. In those days, you could ride the elevator and maybe share it with the CEO. It felt like we were a part of something. It was important somehow. There was professional courtesy. It wasn't rosy with no problems; there was a lot of "old boy-ism" going on, but on a whole, if you were in a good team, you felt like you were a professional with standards to live up to.

You knew people could work in a store and have a real shot at working their way up to G.O. You visited stores to learn what our coworkers really needed. There was nothing more important that keeping the stores open for our customers and coworkers.

Somewhere along the way Kroger lost itself. It's a burnt out husk of what it once was. The people who worked their way up, learned the business from the inside have all retired or were eliminated by one method or another. Now we have consultants telling us that to beat our competition, we need to do exactly what they do.

In the process, good, honest, dedicated people have been reduced to euphemisms like, "Human capital" instead of "colleague" and "friend". The focus on what makes any company great, the people and their dedication was forgotten. Now we have "profit margin by any cost" while the CEO votes himself raises.

Real human beings with unique lives will be harmed in innumerable ways. All so some consultants can make a buck and the stock goes up a quarter of a percent

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Post ID: @2rdp+17yUmzSa

Can we even apply for our old jobs? We’re being told we didn’t “place” whatever that means, and that we have to re-apply for jobs next week. HR won’t reveal what the severance package is, but if you don’t apply for other jobs you won’t receive the severance. Probably because so many people would just take the package and not apply and Kroger would not have the manpower to keep the lights on. This is worse than the VRO. They wiped whole teams out so who is going to support those applications? They want us to train someone else to do our jobs while we find new jobs? I’m so confused about it all. I don’t even thin Kroger leadership has a good plan. They won’t be in the top 50 best places to work next year. Even the people who stay at Kroger will have bad morale because you’re always going to wonder what Kroger has up their sleeves. It’s crazy how the leaders are excited about this and think that we should be too. They want us to find a job that we are passionate about. How about my current job that I loved so much? Good luck everyone. I wish the best to all of us.

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Post ID: @1mas+17yUmzSa

Anyone can Google that Rodney McMullen, CEO has a Masters of Accounting, Yael Cosset, Chief Information Officer has an MBA and Jim Clendenen, newly promoted VP of Associate Technology has an MBA.

Senior leadership that sets Kroger Technology's direction has no direct experience working with technology itself, only accounting and business administration.

They are why Boston Consultants is involved and why a professional hatchet woman, Kristy Ellmer from Boston Consultants, (MBA in Marketing, BBA) is employed by the company. They have no ideas of their own beyond shuffling deck chairs and firing their way to success.

The company has been bleeding talent under their Amazon panicked leadership; this is their response.

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Post ID: @1fia+17yUmzSa

It’s all about pleasing Wall Street, in the end Rodney isn’t at the top of the chain, the investors are. They want more profit and fatter checks. So if you are working for a Fortune 500 public traded company, you are at risk of the whims of the street.

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Post ID: @1dbo+17yUmzSa

I'm trying to remain upbeat and to see if it actually turns out to be the opportunity it's being billed as, but I'm very pessimistic.

Having worked through the VRO period, some teams were shorthanded all the way up to the shoulder, but we all worked through it with the knowledge that we were being asked to do more with less so that no one would wind up cut or forced out. To be reshuffled and potentially cut now, as the company is paying out bonuses as fast as the quarters can end, it smarts quite a bit.

Oh well, look on the bright side – maybe I'll get lucky enough to reapply for my same job and to do it for even less money!

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Post ID: @1zbe+17yUmzSa

Happy Holidays from BSG! Now get the eff out! Bunch of overpaid hacks with newly minted MBA's. Those are always the best consultants since the don't have a shot glass full of sense between all of them!

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Post ID: @1dgf+17yUmzSa

I dont know Kristy, but she is not the one to blame. This lies on the shoulders of Rodney and Tim Mass. It was 3.5 years ago the company offered a voluntary package to selected employees and your correct in that it was handled professionally.
In October of 2019, the company launched a mean spirited and vicious attack and about 1,500 operations associates across the company. Called into a hotel room, immediately severed, loose your insurance October 31. It was targeted toward the older and higher salaried wrapped up with a few sluggards that someone kept hanging on to all to be legit.
The company must have seen how this was not well received and came across more professionally in June and July with the laying off of several in GO Merchandising. This new layoffs with IT look like they will be similar to more recent.
But why is everyone in IT surprised? IT is the department that went in and immediately shut down 1,500 associate emails, passwords, access to multiple systems, security codes, etc??? IT even shut down the 10% employee discount within 24 hers of these 1,500 getting fired.

Consider yourself fortunate to be on the milder side of this but why should anyone be surprised this is happening?

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Post ID: @1bzd+17yUmzSa

The way Kristy brags about her job description on LinkedIn is revolting....

"Leader of BCG TURN practice that exclusively conducts holistic, highly organized transformation programs with an investor's edge that rapidly drive results to the bottom-line, engage the organization, and ensure the business is set to strategically win.

Programs are typically conducted fees at risk with aligned incentives such that we only win if you win. Over 15 years of transformation and turnaround experience, with:

+Multiple interim roles including Chief Transformation Officer (CTO)

across industries

+P&L ownership and accountability

+Direct experience in Retail, Energy, Airlines, Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Metals & Mining Services, and Media +Significant Procurement expertise

+Expertise in leading holistic organization culture change"

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Post ID: @qhl+17yUmzSa

Kristy Ellmer makes me sick. Her weekly Transformation emails share positive upbeat personal stories about the progress of "Transformation" and how well it is working.

She literally makes a living by laying people off. She puts on a happy face and next thing you know she's firing you indirectly with outsourced HR folk. I'm sick to my stomach, Kroger has lied to all of us.

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Post ID: @omr+17yUmzSa

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