Making It Work
Target’s Amanda Lagatta wasn’t sure exactly what was in store when the retailer announced a companywide transformation and reduction in force in March.
The workforce reductions and the transitional planning were being made at a high level.
But she soon found out. On March 10, the risk management department at Target was reduced by a third.
Lagatta, the company’s group manager of insurance, was charged with providing the leadership to pull the remaining members of the team together and provide direction.
First, she had to put aside her emotions. Watching the departure of valued team members wasn’t easy.
“It was an emotional day from a personal perspective because we said goodbye to so many of our friends and our colleagues who were just great people to work with,” Lagatta said.
There was also another big shift to deal with.
From a job where she handled the insurance buy for cyber and D&O, Lagatta was told to pick up workers’ compensation and general liability. She also needed to communicate with and cross-train a group of risk management professionals who were all facing a new day.
“We had to adjust to a new culture, lead them through the change, manage the change and figure out how we were going to drive results throughout the organization with significantly less resources than we had in the past,” Lagatta said.
On her second day after the workforce reduction took place, Lagatta took a deep breath, plunged in and did exactly that. First, she and her team met and decided which of the risk management team’s functions were absolutely vital and which should be put on hold.
She and her team also stressed the importance of none of them becoming too … stressed.
“When you are going through this type of change, we also didn’t want to create an environment where it wasn’t pleasant to work here,” she said.
Next, the team conducted a gap assessment, led by Lagatta, a University of Minnesota MBA, to find out exactly what knowledge was lost when one-third of their teammates left the company.
It was crucial to identify information lost or at risk because “maybe two people used to know and now there is only one person, or there was one person and now there is no one,” she said. Those gaps needed to be addressed quickly.
Once the gaps were identified, it was time to evaluate the risk management department’s vendors, to see if they could be given more responsibility in areas where they had previously been more closely supervised by members of Target’s risk management team.
“We took a step back and said we have to be able to trust our TPA,” Lagatta said.
The effort also involved cross-training members of the department.
“I feel really proud about how far we’ve come,” Lagatta said.
“We don’t view each other as ‘I’m a claims person’ or ‘I’m an insurance person,’ but we’ve all become claims and insurance people and it feels good to be part of a team like that.”
For her leadership in a time of transition at Target, Lagatta has been nominated for a number of internal awards.
She can add to that list the designation of a 2015 Risk All Star.