Well, it just happened again, and I doubt the trend will stop. Employers firing an employee without cause (they are never told why), or just making up something despite video, performance review, or other evidence to the contrary, to downsize or replace employees. If you are going to downsize, do it formally and publicly and take the hit on your reputation. If you are going to replace employees with someone cheaper, then I encourage those former employees to go onto Glassdoor and have at it in the critique section. The almighty dollar is not so important that you must wreak havoc on an employee’s life temporarily, cause heart-harming anxiety, send them into emergency job search mode, and put them into financial chaos because you want to save a buck. The worst part – it never works out, and the company will always lose down the road in loss of clients, employee attrition due to fear and overwork, and a terrible reputation.
But Karen, you don’t understand, we have shareholders. Yes, I do, I own stock in companies, but I don’t expect them to treat employees like cattle to the slaughter because they are too cheap to do the right thing. This is never about the average shareholder, it’s about the board of directors and the officers/executives of the company who want to make more money and are the often the largest shareholders. The “for all the shareholders good” is just an excuse.
I was hoping after the economic downturn/great recession, employers would be increasingly mindful of the harm this has done. Apparently, that is not the case.
People are not “resources” or “capital” or whatever non-human reference you use. Corporate America’s consistent exploitation of downsizing, firing and position elimination to save money is both illogical and unethical. You cannot “save” your way to profit, because ultimately you sacrifice your clients and other employees on the altar of “cost saving synergies” and your bottom line. Complaints of lack of service due to a shortage of employees or inexperienced staff are always signs of a company that only cares about short-term gain.
Then you must hate Corporate American, you say? Absolutely not, as there are as many companies doing things right, as there are doing things wrong. Many businesses did learn after our great recession, or hired new leadership to create a better environment. I actually love Corporate America, am an avowed capitalist (as socialism creates the ultimate in inequity), and believe in the power of companies to do great good for our society! I am also a Jobseeker Advocate and WILL NOT be silent when I see shameful behavior that negatively effects my clients. I do have the responsibility of using my social media presence, industry standing and bit of a bully pulpit, to make it clear to those employing such tactics that this type of reprehensible conduct will not be tolerated.
Having said the above, there are times where in order to save a company, some employees must be downsized. Likewise, when mergers or acquisitions occur, there could be many duplicate positions and not enough other positions within the company that those duplicates can fill, so some must be laid off. I am not unsympathetic in any way to those realities. Instead, I am going after those that use firings to avoid paying unemployment (I have a list), accuse employees of absolute lies in order to make room for cheaper employees, eliminate positions without putting those employees in lateral (equally paid) positions that need filled, downsize because some board member or hedge fund investor wants to see a little more profit, or any combination of the above.
But you say, Karen, how do you know these things are really happening, couldn’t that just be your client’s opinion? After 20 years in this business, I have executive, internal employee and HR contacts you wouldn’t believe, and I can always get the real story. I then combine that with proof the clients provide me from performance reviews, client letters, awards received, and other documentation to get a clear picture. If you hear the same thing over and over again… Once can be an exception. Twice can be a coincidence. Three times is a trend.
Daily, I work with companies, not just individuals, who treat their employees as people, not numbers, and as valued contributors to their organization. These will be the companies that will ultimately thrive as paradigm shifts beget a new society of workers demanding to be treated as a human being. This will be the greatest gift Millennial’s and Generation Z employees bring to the workforce. However, to the companies using these unscrupulous tactics, you have now been put on notice!
Karen Silins is a multi-certified, award winning resume writer, career, business and personal branding coach working with individuals and small businesses. After graduating with degrees in education and vocal performance, she made her own career transition into the Human Resources realm. Karen left Human Resources to become an entrepreneur and help jobseekers, executives and fellow entrepreneurs achieve their goals. She keeps current regarding trends in the resume writing, coaching, HR, small business and marketing industries by working daily with individual clients on resume development and career coaching, executive/career management coaching, consulting for small businesses in business plan development, marketing, blogging, hiring and overall HR processes, and providing 20-50+ seminars and workshops annually to a variety of organizations in the greater Kansas City area. She can be reached via her website at www.careerandresume.com.