Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blast From the Past: The Art of the Layoff!

With all the talk about impending layoffs at eBay and Yahoo, I thought it might be a good time to read what Guy Kawasaki had to say, about laying off employees back in 2006. He directed the post to executives, about how to effectively layoff employees, so many of his ideas sound a little harsh. I honestly think, if layoffs are to happen then he makes some very valid points. Layoffs are already harsh, so don't botch the layoff and make it worse. Hopefully eBay and Yahoo managers take some of these suggestions to heart as they prepare for the coming layoffs. 

Some key quotes:
  • #3 - "Move fast. One hour after your management team discusses the need to layoff employees, the entire company will know that something is happening. If you think you need to layoff people, then do so because it’s unlikely that a miracle will happen. Once people “know” a layoff is coming, productivity drops like a rock. You’re either laying people off or you’re not—you should avoid the state of “considering” a layoff." Of course eBay and Yahoo have already diregarded this suggestion.
  • #9 - "Provide support. The odds are the people getting laid off aren’t “at fault.” More likely, it was the fault of top management—the same top management with golden parachutes. Hence, you have a moral obligation to provide services like job counseling, resume writing assistance, and job search help. There are firms that specialize in helping employees during “transitions,” so use them." Hopefully these companies have setup a transition process for their laid-off employees

Just my 15%


ms.pat said...

I'm sure when Ebay does layoff its employees it will do so with the same respect for the dignity of another human being as it has shown its sellers ;-/

corporate worker said...

Ouch. That article was brutal, but oh how true. I work for a major computer corporation (no names, but they compete directly with HP now that they've acquired EDS). ;-) We hear rumors of layoffs that circulate for months before anyone gets the wack, and I can tell you how painful it is for morale. They also lay off in 'clumps', a few hundred here, and a few hundred a few weeks later. Morale of company employees remains in the toilet much of the time because no one knows what's going to happen next. I would hope ebay would just get it over with, take the bite in one swoop, and then move forward.

nadine said...

I read an interesting comment on a Seeking Alpha article by a current eBay employee. He thinks eBay will close down its Salt Lake City operations. He points out that it's mostly TSAMs there, who have so little power to do anything for anyone now that they are basically glorified babysitters being paid 40K+ a year.

Randy Smythe said...

Corporate Worker,

I haven't had to worry about layoffs, since I've been self-employed most of my career, but it would suck to have a layoff hanging over your head. Performance would certainly suffer, which may be what is happening with eBay right now.


The problem with cutting CS and TSAMs is that Wall Street would be unhappy with those types of cuts. If they laid of middle-management that would be more to Wall Streets liking.

Anonymous said...

Well, they did lay us off. 1000+ and it wasn't just SLC. It was every part of the organization.

And yes, it was handled with class and respect. There's nothing that really softens the blow after being with a company for 6 years, but it was handled well, for what it was.

Randy Smythe said...


Please understand that most eBay observers did not want this to happen and I'm sorry that you were one of those let go.

I wish you well on your next opportunity. If you ever feel like talking just drop me a line.

rksmythe at yahoo

Best Wishes!

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