2009 is the year of the layoff. Is your company in on the fun? "We've got tooooo many people," the CXO's sing. We need to be more "efficient." We need to consolidate, downsize, streamline, and my favorite, "Do more with less."
For those of us who were already "doing more with less", these words simply mean new ridiculous expectations, disappointment, weekends away, shoddy work, and constant failure. Those people making the decisions about how big your teams should be now don't actually know the nature of the work or even the quantity of it that the teams will be performing.
They're not really qualified to make the cuts.
But they look good for cutting. Ohhh yes, very popular these people are. If only they could be held accountable for their decisions. But alas. What happens is that the company takes a nose dive and everyone suffers. To dissect exactly where the mistakes were made would take more time than anyone actually has so they muddle through, grumbling at and to each other. Some companies will fail. Some will just putter along...and everyone suffers.
That's why this article from BNET caught my eye. It's about the indirect costs of layoffs. And companies should take note of the upshot:
1) You may lose experienced sales and marketing folks who have strong relationships with clients.
2) Layoffs are a pretty clear signal to your remaining talent that they might need an escape hatch. In the process of finding that hatch, they might decide to actually pass through it.
3) Studies show that surviving a downturn is more about maximizing revenues than it is about shrinking expenditures. You should innovate your way out. But innovation takes time and workers with two or three jobs each don't have that time.
4) Clients see layoffs as an unhealthy sign and may take their business elsewhere.
The Chinese have a saying: "If you plant beans, you will get beans. If you plant Watermelons, you will reap watermelons." What this boils down to is that you shouldn't be planting beans and expecting watermelons, America. If you want beans, by all means, cut your workforce and "optimize efficiencies" or whatever.
But if you want watermelons, then maybe dipping into the red and getting downgraded on Wall Street is the better way to survive the downturn. In any case, you should figure out your plan to get out of trouble and make sure you have the people you need to do that. Or you can find yourself another job. It's up to you.