Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Newport News VA
Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans
1st Gear: Ford In Trouble
Layoffs suck, obviously, but there’s usually a standard methodology to it. The basic playbook, especially for non-unionized workers, is:
Announce it all in one go
Rip the band-aid off
There’s a whole slew of reasons for both for and against that operating procedure, but a lot of it boils down to preserving morale. Nobody gets spooked, everyone gets to go about their day-to-day lives without it affecting too much, and if you’re not getting laid off it lets you not worry about it until after the fact.
(The counterargument is that you should tell everyone as much specifics as you can as soon as you have an idea of what the strategy is. A lot of that is about basic transparency, but there’s also a decency thing here as it lets people know who’s safe and who’s not, and allows those about to get laid off the barest modicum of planning ability.)
And then there’s the methodology Ford CEO Jim Hackett appears to be using, which is reportedly freaking everybody the **** out as Ford’s share price drops below $9, which is right where it was in late 2009 during the throes of the last recession. From Automotive News:
“There’s been a lot less exposure to senior management,” said Jack Madden, owner of Jack Madden Ford in Norwood, Mass. “There’s just not enough information flowing down to dealers about where the company’s headed.”
Meanwhile, more turmoil is creeping into the company’s ranks after Hackett told Ford’s 70,000 salaried workers around the world that the $11 billion restructuring will include job cuts, while giving no specifics on numbers and only a vague idea of how or when. Ford is calling changes to its employment structure an “organizational redesign” and says it could take months to complete.
So instead of saying nothing, or telling some people they are safe and others to start job hunting, Hackett is going for the queasy middle route of being vague about layoffs and generally telling everyone not to worry about it unless they really have to worry about it but he won’t tell those people who they are until it’s too late.
You can imagine the sales of Tums are spiking in Dearborn right now.
But fear (?) not (????) Ford employees, as AN reports that when layoffs eventually do come, Hackett will be brutal and merciless (emphasis mine):
Hackett is no stranger to layoffs — he axed thousands of employees at his former company, Steelcase, including the best man from his wedding — but stretching out the process, instead of announcing the cuts all at once, threatens to sink morale and create an uneasy, disillusioned work force, experts say.
A little over a month ago we said that Ford is blowing it. We desperately want to be proven wrong, but we’re still waiting.