Friday, October 17, 2008

Layoff creepers

Bob Sutton, the author of the No Asshole Rule, has a thought-provoking post on his blog about the quality of the workers who will lose their jobs if layoffs occur. Do the innovators get the pink slip--and the slackers, possibly by virtue of tenure, get to stay?

This is not to say that new workers are the brightest apples in the bushel, but that sometimes layoffs mean that organizations lose quality workers--and probably the people that they could least afford to lose in a crisis. Sutton makes a good argument for the timing of layoffs and how, if you must layoff, to give workers enough of a lead to know what will happen, so they can resort to plan B. In addition, he also mentions companies, like Toyota, that invest in training and skills development during a downturn. Remember, he advises, recruiting and training replacement staff, on the upswing, is as significant a cost as keeping workers through the downswing.

But it probably earns more goodwill to retain than to let them funnel down the layoff drain.

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