It was truly disheartening to learn this past week about more layoffs at Lawson. (See http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020926S0005).
Over the years, I’ve been employed by, and consulted to, organizations where layoffs have occurred. They are very painful, and I empathize with those who have been laid off, as well as those who remain. It may seem hard to believe, but many who are let go are really getting an opportunity for a "fresh start". Some of the best career moves I’ve ever seen have been the result of a layoff. So, my best wishes for those former employees.
It’s also really tough on those who remain. They all fear the next round of layoffs (after the requisite "this is all–for now–your jobs are safe"). They also have to clean up (figuratively, I hope) after, and take on the duties of, their former colleagues. One of the most awkward positions I’ve ever been in as a consultant is to continue to work with a company after a large layoff. It’s a saddening, and almost morbid feeling.
The irony with this latest round is that, just a couple of days ago, I saw a "help wanted" ad in Information Week for Lawson!
I’m disappointed by management styles that foster a "layoff mentality". Were the employees who were let go really so bad that they couldn’t have been trained to fill other advertised/open positions? Is planning so bad that management can’t figure out how to staff? Was their focus so unfocused that they had to refocus? Isn’t there a management responsibility to "lay itself off"? Or, was this just a periodic housecleaning? If they were just weeding out bad employees, then let them go quietly; don’t make a big show of it.
All this from a company that often touts itself as a friendly place to work!
Yes, the economy’s in the toilet, but I can’t help but think that this layoff is just the typical knee-jerk reaction that a public company makes when they have to announce poor results. This is the second major layoff since Lawson became a public company. Have they grown too fast? Did they really need to grow to compete? Was it really necessary for them to go public? Does Lawson really need to embrace every new-fangled piece of technology? Isn’t it better to be great at a few things, rather than just mediocre at a lot of things?
Which brings us to the survey: Was Lawson better off as a private company?
Send me your vote and any thoughts to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. This obviously isn’t a scientific study, but I’ll try and tabulate the results, and share any comments in the next issue.