Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 | Employment
Every day or two we are informed of yet another wave of retrenchments.
In many instances layoffs are done indiscriminately. For example, when a company closes down, everyone in the organization is without a job. However, sometimes arbitrary rules are applied to determine who will be retrenched, such as the LIFO principle – the last ones in will be the first to be out. Some companies may also use a downsizing situation as an opportunity to move closer to their employment equity targets.
In the current economic climate nobody has absolute job security. Even people employed by the state, or contracted to state-run projects, could be affected when cut-backs are considered.
Layoffs are sad for the victims and their families, but may present a good opening for an organization to get rid of its dead wood.
Dead wood is defined as “people in a group or organization who are not useful any more and who need to be removed”. During an economic squeeze, organizations can no longer afford to carry dead wood, even if it was tolerated during more prosperous times. If staff members have to go, it makes sense to let go of the useless ones and retain the useful ones.
Successful organizations will allow the get-rid-of-the-dead-wood rule to guide their downsizing strategies, rather than directives such as LIFO and EE.
Employees who treasure their jobs want to ensure that they are not regarded as dead wood – they must go out of their way to prove that they are valued fruit-bearing branches of their trees. This may just save them from the pruning knife of the retrencher.