Sunday, June 14, 2009

Credit crunch staff layoffs - the pathetic and the downright bizarre

The credit crunch of 2008, which many were quick to drew comparison to the Great Depression in the early 20th century, had claimed a fair number of victims in the City of London. Despite talks of the UK's economy turning the corner with manufacturers leading the pack, many city firms are continuing the culling in a bid to reduce headcount.

Rumours are rife on how management go about breaking the news. To minimize the size of redundancy packages, some firms picked the oldest trick in the book of letting people go on the grounds of 'performance below expectations'. Not the performance of the firm but that of the affected staff. The remaining (or should I say more fortunate) lot could not help but notice that their colleagues are 'disappearing' one after another without formal notification of any kind.

Well, some of the more decent firms do put up a pretext of setting up 'consultation' sessions whereby departments would have to justify their headcount, failing which would simply mean further culling - although there is this lingering suspicion that the death lists are already decided even before the consultations begin.

Others, in the name of security, have sought to give the redundant staff the minimum possible notice. Be it marching them out of the premises the moment the news broke, allowing no time for revengeful sabotage or carting off of business documents, or ushering those affected into a room while clearing their desks in their absence.

But nothing, absolutely nothing beats the infamous 'fire drill layoff'...

"Dear employees - with sincere regret I have been asked to announce that for many of you it will be your last evacuation drill. Due to the recession the company is laying off almost 50% of its employees. So when this announcement finishes, I ask all of you to move back into the building and if your swipe card does not work then it means you have been laid off in which case you will not be allowed inside and all your belongings will be couriered to you by tomorrow. The management took this approach to avoid an overloading of the email system with layoff notifications and goodbye messages and also to avoid any violent outbursts inside the office. Hope you have a nice career ahead....please go ahead and swipe your card." Source: No-Name247

It might be an urban legend but given how desperate some firms are, I wouldn't be surprised if it is true.

Have you come across (and verified) any bizarre staff layoffs?

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