Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Now that layoffs are coming our way, whether we blame it on the effects of the global financial crisis, or using the crisis to get away from the reality that business is not doing too well anymore, There's one thing that's a fact, Zain has set the ball rolling, and I am thinking there's shivers down the spines of several employees as we head into what has been described as the third wave of the financial crisis.

If I may quote Chris Gabriel, Zain Africa's CEO on a response he gave when asked if the same would happen to the Zain functions within the Continent. He says " where there is value, where there is synergies, and benefits to be realised, where there is expertise then we will proceed, but where there is no expertise we will move forward in teh most expeditious and efficient manner"

This reminded me of an article on last months Harvad Biz Review that was looking at the "how to" of laying off. An interesting read that so makes so much sense for me now as Kenyan Companies begin lay off (or right size) according to Zain (Ke. EABL has followed suit, and speculation is that more are to follow.

So how do companies carry out efficient layoffs?

1) First in First Out..which of course was targets the older serving employees, with an attractive goodbye perk sometimes it is easy to let this one happen, but the emotion here cuts deep. Most importantly, What happens when an older serving employee is one of the best performing? How do you justify the lay offs?

That leads to the next option

2)Performance & targets
Those employees that have continuously not met their targets are on the firing line here. Only problem is, sometimes meeting targets takes more than just the input of the person in question, perharps the market conditions are just not condusive.Consider in this case, sales and advertising agents whose clients marketing budgets have been slashed by over half in some instances!

3) Last in, First out
This is a team that has not become part of the furniture and loosing them may not as painfull as loosing long term employees. Only thing though, some of these people could have been headhunted as top cream players in the industry.

So how about divisions within the Company that are Non performing? Do you close the divison and send home the team? What if it is the strategies in the division itself that are the problem?

So how fair can layoffs be?

My take, never.

Whether its down sizing, right sizing or dumbsizing, management of Human resource is the centre of a well performing company.

As Companies begin laying off, they must realise that their employees are the lubricant that keeps the bottom line rolling.

1 comment:

  1. Nice one.
    The undying dilemma,
    The Upside of Downsizing,
    The Downside of Upgrading,
    When does it end????
    Noticed the euphemism nowadays,we sugar coat everything?...we used to call it retrenchment,sacking...nooo,now its downsizing,corporate restructuring...right sizing.