Re: Layoff logistics and etiquette

Subject: Re: Layoff logistics and etiquette
From: Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- marvin -dot- eng -dot- sun -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 13:50:01 -0700 (PDT)

Elna Tymes <Etymes -at- LTS -dot- com> wrote:
> Janice Gelb wrote:
>> Management has indicated that they feel that the fairest way to
>> handle this is in large part (although not completely) to base
>> their decisions on which projects are cut. I disagree: I think
>> the fairest method is to decide what projects are cut and what
>> projects are left. Then leave it up to the line managers to
>> fill the number of positions on the projects that are left.
>> Otherwise, it seems to me to be Russian roulette: if you're on
>> a project that happens to be cut, you're gone, regardless of
>> your past performance.
> Sun has a no-layoff history, so I'm sure that the prospect of
> layoffs is even more troubling to Sun employees than it is in
> most other places. There really is no "fair" way to handle layoffs,
> except to draw straws or some other totally random selection method.

I disagree. Why do we have performance reviews, then? And, as
someone else pointed out, it should be the part of a manager's
job to know which employees provide the most "value" to a
company. I know this is tough on management and a lot more time-
consuming than drawing straws or whacking projects wholesale, but
I think that past performance, experience, and skills should weigh
more than where you are in an org chart. And those aspects
of employees should be known by their managers.

I don't disagree, though, that this is probably harder on
Sun employees and managers than it would be for a company that
has been through this experience before, or one whose culture
has not been so strongly against layoffs. I suspect that part
of their clumsiness in handling the situation is precisely
because they've never been through this and are coping as
best they can.

> However in many other companies, when a project gets cut, those
> who worked on the project have some finite amount of time to
> shop their resumes elsewhere in the company and join some other
> project. I gather this isn't going to be the case at Sun,
> although that would be your preferred method.

When we had a "redeployment" of 400 people a couple of months
ago, this is indeed what Sun did. But this is a real, bona
fide layoff. I imagine that someone being laid off could apply
for an opening even though they are technically outside Sun
at that point and their Sun experience would certainly work in
their favor. In fact, though, there aren't very many openings
and most of the people I know who were redeployed and tried to
find an opening within the company weren't successful.

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
janice -dot- gelb -at- eng -dot- sun -dot- com | this message is the return address.

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