Steelcase seems to go thought a lot of ID people

I have noticed that Steelcase, in the past few years, has been posting pretty much the same jobs here and on other employment sites.

Anyone here have a connection or insight to why? A growing department? Attrition? ID’ers not satisfied with the work atmosphere?
Steelcase has been shrinking its factories for years, and it seems I read they just let more people go? Moving folks around worldwide? I know they had the ID director job up for at least a year, who did they get?

I would kind of hate to apply there if they uncertain about the future of the ID department, or if upper management is constantly changing.

My answer is pure speculation:

They are in a remote area, and they make one category of product. So unless you are in love with that type of product or that area, one might consider this a short term experience: learn a considerable amount from the talented designers there and move on. See also: Kohler.

I was going to point out the same thing. Grand Rapids probably isn’t as nice as it used to be.

This is the exact problem my current employer experiences with keeping ID people. The company’s are usually pretty good it is just a matter of keeping the ID people interested and challenged over the long haul.

Chevis W

From my understanding there was some instability for awhile with some steady attrition which the economy shook up a little further, but that has been about 2 years ago now and the department seems to be more stable and growing. As has been mentioned, Grand Rapids does not have the retention power of an SF or NY, and that has undoubtedly attributed to a few of the departures.

I grew up in Grand Rapids and moved to the Twin Cities area in high school. My dad worked for Steelcase for 17 years (not in a design role) but was let go along with loads of other people after 9/11. They just aren’t the same company they used to be. I have returned many times over the years and noticed GR’s strong efforts to improve their city (downtown area especially). They might not have the retention power of some other cities in the country but I would still give them a lot of credit for these efforts. It seems like it could retain people better now than any other time in the past 30 years. If I had to guess… the problem is the company, not the city.

No way man, GR is pretty nice. My brother was going to school up there until last summer. I think it’s a pretty legit place, a little spread out but fun small city with trains to Chicago and cosmopolitan activities of its own.

In general most young ID’ers don’t stick around more then 2 - 5 years for the initial job. But basically Steelcase as well as many other American Design Firm use to have a very large design departments and they were downsized after the golden years. Currently Steelcases Design side is pretty small, but they also manage several other firms - Nurture, Coalessce, Turnstone… etc. each with there own set of designers and brand identity ( as well as they have European and Asian Divisions and design teams). All those postings that you are seeing, or most of them recently have been expansion - they were hiring alot of Principal positions and most likely are just reacting internally to the addition of New senior staff. Of course if you are looking at applying, keep in mind it’s cold and GR is not SF, NYC, Chicago and does not have a small city feel either like, Charlotte, Austin, etc. it’s much more rural and did I mention cold. If anything what you are seeing is some attrition, quite a bit of actual recent growth - and jobs that you are not applying for and getting good work experience.

Glad to hear. I was purely speculating… Sounds like a fun town.

I would say it’s definitely on its way up with more downtown development and some pretty great events like Artprize, but still a little underwhelming for many young designers looking to live a more metropolitan life.