Announcing Silver Lining - A platform focused on supporting tech employees affected by COVID layoffs

This is awful - we all know it.  The economy is in crisis and many are being laid off. The innovation economy has been hit as have other sectors. As of writing, Candor’s widely shared crowdsourced spreadsheet shows over 200 companies having made layoffs. Even well funded businesses such as Bird, Rover and Sonder have made significant cuts as they adjust to the new reality we are living in.

I have been here before. Last summer I shut down my startup, GawkBox, and had to lay off my entire team. It sucked. I wanted to find ways to help my team transition to new roles, but was left frustrated at the scant available resources to do so. I created a spreadsheet and passed it around my network -- much like those filling up everyone’s LinkedIn feeds today.. 

Each of these spreadsheets has different, and sometimes incomplete, information. None of them let companies effectively screen talent. Some do not have contact details. I love using spreadsheets, but they just don’t work well for this. 

I launched Silver Lining to create a better solution than crowdsourced spreadsheets. An early version was launched in November and in spite of seeing profiles created, it failed to really find a market. I put it aside.

But all that has changed in just weeks.  Last week, I was honored to be invited into a Seattle-based task force led by Shannon Anderson and Matt Witt, from Madrona Venture Group, alongside two local Seattle HR leaders in Jennie Ellis, of Bandwidth, and Jill Domanico, of Skytap. Together we came up with ways to leverage the Silver Lining platform to offer more support to employees and companies going through this difficult time. Our initial goal is to get as many people back to work as soon as possible, and we are thinking of ways to extend a support network to the community with things like coaching in the near future.

After just 5 days of collaboration, we were able to turn Silver Lining into an incredible resource for those affected:

  • Candidates can submit their profile to our talent dashboard for companies to review. We are approaching 1,000 active profiles on Silver Lining from companies such as Sonder, Zipcar, Expedia, Bird and Lyric, and recently have seen new profiles number in the hundreds on a given day.
  • Companies forced to lay off workers can also submit their list of employees to the platform, and make a donation to support the service.  We make sure the employee opts into the service before putting their information on the site.  
  • Our updated talent dashboard allows companies to search for candidates by last company, last job title, location and job function. Each candidate has a profile where companies can download resumes, view LinkedIn profiles and learn other details, such as a candidate’s experience level, ideal company size and desired industries. Dashboard access is 100% free to all companies. We already have 120 companies that have signed up to review candidates(!!)
  • We have decided that all Companies that are hiring can post unlimited jobs to our job board for free. We already have over 400 job posts live from companies that are hiring across the US, and more are being added daily. Please share this with any companies you know that are hiring!
  • We have built a network of tech workers affected by layoffs in our Slack community

Already we’ve heard reports of candidates being approached for work they otherwise would not have known was available. Rhea Trupe, a recruiting manager for JBConnect says that she’s managed to “connect with some incredible talent who were recently let go and already has “a number of candidates actively interviewing”.

As we continue to develop Silver Lining, we are looking at other supportive initiatives for the layoff community we are building, in particular around career coaching, resume writing and emotional support. If you are interested in helping out, please contact me on chris@getsilverlining.com. Silver Lining will remain 100% free to use for candidates and employers.