Merger, acquisition, and furlough have become the vernal tact to have a well-balanced cost-vs-growth statistic for many giant industries. On one hand, the star companies announce its acquisition on top of its voice, and on the other hand they declare their strategic moves for cost-cutting. Companys’ cleverness and business astute get names–restructuring, reorganization, going lean and lean.
So far so good. It is business and that’s how it should be run. Cost cutting has to happen; layoff comes as the easiest procurable method to achieve that. Now who will be let go? Of course the “low-performers”. Companies implement the whole layoff under the legal boundaries and by giving the fair choices—put the paper or walk out with the severance package.
But during the whole mechanics, sometimes they do one thing wrong: declaring to the Lord that its employees were under-performers.
Who or what decides the performance level—the appraisal system, which is the byproduct of individual’s skills and manager’s reflection. And those who have worked in any such industry ever, they know the truth about ‘the great appraisal system’ that it is a melange of objective goals and subjective evaluation. No company on the face of the earth can claim that their appraisal system is unwavering and impeccable. If that is true ever for a whit, then no company and no person has a right to categorize one as an underperformer.
Companies are legally unfettered to navigate their business by letting go their employees and the act is justifiable also from the business point of view. But on moral ground, no organization should be allowed to assign a stigma to its employees’ prior performance.
Moreover, the proposition is a lose-lose situation for both of them. How?
For the company itself:
- The employees who worked for the company for years would lose trust in it for the sheer reason that it blamed them incompetent.
- Company is maligning its own image in market. It might be a leader, but its ceaselessly modus might drop it from the position of ‘a dream company’. And who knows it eventually takes a toll on its market share and financial funding.
- Company is setting an environment of unrest among its existing workforce. “Am I the next?” is the thought instilled in the work culture.
- The sulkiness of the broken employees is going to spread the bad name for the company.
For the employees:
They are already taking the tarnished image as all the media pages know by now that they were… This image will accompany them while scavenging job opportunities. Companys’ public statements are going to keep their fired employees occupied in gathering their lost pride.
Dear employers, if you realize that you cannot have your footing on the demolished trust of your own employees, then here upon, before sending tiding to your targeted employees, you should cover the grounds of your own supporting staff:
- Hiring & recruitment managers (they are famously known as HRs): What kind of resources they are hiring whose skillsets are so misaligned with the organization’s need? Are they really hiring a shiner or just a body with a face?
- Talent and resource managers: If your company has developed a culture of hiring-and-firing consistently then there is a big gap in mapping the resource to the requirement. Are there no more projects available or no more person available? Were the employees getting trained enough with the changing needs of the organization? And despite all your efforts could not fit an employee anywhere, then loop to point# 1.
- Project managers: Ask them clearly why the resource was not utilized appropriately in the project? Was there any career guidance provided to them? Review what goals have been set that render a significant amount of underperformers every appraisal cycle?
- Operations and senior management: Are the projected number of headcounts required correct? Why there always been a difference between hired and required?
Becoming lean is good, but leaning beyond a limit may lead to emancipation. Also one of my managers ever said “Cost cutting is not a solution, changing the way we work is”
“Cost cutting is not a solution, changing the way we work is”
Shweta Kumari Sharma
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