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Silicon Valley Bank: The On-Call Associates Program

Silicon Valley Bank: The On-Call Associates Program

Sarah A Soule, Davina Drabkin
2014|Case No.OB88| Length 17 pgs.

Melissa Stepanis, deal team leader for Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) New York tech lending group, had been on maternity leave. When she met with her manager to discuss her anticipated return to work, she was not ready to come back. Not wanting to make commitments that she might not be able to keep, she quit.

For Chris Edmonds-Waters, SVB’s head of human resources, Stepanis’s somewhat unexpected departure was concerning. She was the latest example in a growing trend of women who had left the company. Despite SVB’s unique approach to work-life balance and the extent to which it supported employees, Edmonds-Waters had noted that SVB was losing women—although the proportion of men to women was fairly equal at junior level positions in the company, such was not the case at senior levels. SVB was losing talented and promising women—women, who if they stayed with SVB, would likely progress into senior and executive positions. As Edmonds-Waters talked to colleagues about his observations, he realized (1) SVB could be doing more to support and retain talented employees like Stepanis, and (2) he was in a position to make changes.

This case details the development of SVB’s On-Call Associates Program. The goal was to help retain talented and high potential employees who might otherwise leave the company. While in its early stages, the program offered promise and SVB was deciding just how much to grow it.

Learning Objective
To learn about a unique program to support employees during extended periods when they need increased flexibility. To consider the development of the program through the lens of design thinking and analyze how that might contribute to its success.
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