Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Layoffs & food for thoughts !

It is puzzling -how anyone could miss not seeing it!! As a recruiter-one gets a fairly decent ringside view of the action-both at the corporate viewpoint, and the employee's standpoint!
This financial meltdown isn't so much about an 'uncontrollable' tsunami-it has been very engineered by 'short sighted greedy' men!! People who didn't distinguish between 'revenues' and (net)'income'!!

Isn't it as simple as it? Getting the basics right!?
For instance lets consider just a few of the headlines we read in the last week!! Does it take a genius to know the repercussions?
- KerznerInternational splits a $20 million bill for fireworks announcing the launch of Dubai project-exactly 2 days after laying off 800 in a bid to save $25million!!
-AIG executives spending close to $1 billion justifying tax bailout as a last 'resort'!!
-The Big Three Auto Majors flew in private jets to Washington DC to ask for a bailout!!
No wonder -one cannot agree more with what a cost reduction expert Steven Martin, says "Mass layoffs are management's way of telling you they were asleep."
Couple of his suggestions? No, Not rocket science :-)!
1.Hire well. Sometimes it's better to have a position vacant than to hire poorly... especially in management. One bad manager can take down tens to thousands with them.
2.Stop shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. If a business unit isn't achieving its goals, it is unlikely to get better if you just shuffle the staff around. Find the fundamental problems and fix them. Start with the top people. They set the tone.
The role that HR can play -is significant- to counsel the leadership team. It is much easier to attend to an infection-and control it before it becomes a gangrene!!
Especially if a 'layoff' is indeed a temporary solution-doesn't it augur well to do it sensitively-communicating-communicating and communicating? Before/during/after the event happens? The employer brand equity for recruiting is perhaps among the most underrated long term assets!!?
Isn't it prudent for the HR to suggest replacing 'temporarily' some of the high cost (expat) salaried professionals-with those -almost competent 'lower cost' (local) professionals? Just as how financial wizards distinguish between capital expenditure and revenue expenditure?
Points to ponder for all of us?
PS-Wearing the hat of an employee-I feel it is always best to be prepared for a layoff. ie keep demonstrating your value daily...and yes, stay in touch with your favourite recruiters :-)!!


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Feel free to comment.

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