Grassroots effort helps JPMorgan Chase ease the tech skills crisis

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has found a way to promote a work ethic, eliminate frustration and build professional staff skills. And it does this on the price of pizza and donuts.

For the past five years, the great financial giant has been promoting the public program Ignite based on villages to do, an informal learning approach that connects people to their shared interests.

Since its inception in the company’s Glasgow, Scotland office in 2016, the program has grown to include 170 people in 23 locations worldwide, ranging from machine learning topics to public speaking. About 14,000 people took part, according to Phil Reid, the marketing manager who launched the program along with colleague Per Hammer.

There are a few rules and a little design, though the company offers training and pays for donuts. The community should be closely associated with JPMorgan’s business, but beyond that the form, policies and procedures are confirmed by the members.

Despite the development of technology and purpose, the developers were also interested in building the esprit de corps which would be challenging in the global business of 190,000 people. “One of the issues we wanted to address was redesigning social networking sites that could be disrupted by a large company,” Reid said.

A small beginning

Ignite was a very skunkworks project. Reid learned about the areas in which he attended a public meeting and decided that starting a group would be a good way to help him adjust to his new job as a technical researcher. The idea worked and 20 districts rushed out to Glasgow. When the JPMorgan international technical committee came to visit, community leaders set up kiosks to showcase what they were doing.

Professional leaders “were impressed by the enthusiasm they saw from all members of Glasgow,” Hammer said. “This made him go all over the world.”

Technology is a popular theme in public. There are DevOps groups, augmented real, Java, machine learning, “internet of things” and nonncoder coded. Python Group in Bangalore, India, is the largest of the 500 members.

What is surprising about a company whose business manages money is that no one is paid. “What we pay for is pizza, coffee and donuts,” Hammer said. “Love of people is a driving force. It’s the same with the principle of learning together.”

Soft soft

Yes, there are indirect benefits. Community leaders use the experience to enhance their teaching skills and to be seen by supervisors. Other staff members have assisted Ignite to help change jobs, such as a New York bank clerk who also trained as a software engineer with the help of a Java team in Columbus Ohio. “We’ve heard a lot of interesting stories about people starting new roles,” Reid said.

The project has grown so large that it is now the full-time work of Reid, Hammer and Heidi Madsen of Columbus. Top support has been strong: JP Morgan Global Chief Information Officer Lori Beer recently added her best to Reid’s. Five-year LinkedIn post.

“Our senior executives are starting to see this as a diversion to recruiting people,” Reid said. And although the company did not take into account the amount of refunds, a number of studies have shown that training and community-based construction activities reduce frustration and increase employee satisfaction.

The plague did not delay the growth of the program. “The areas that were active and active before the epidemic are still very active and strong here,” Hammer said. On the contrary, for those who own property, the scourge has grown – even remote workers have to buy their own donations.

Photo: JPMorgan Chase

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