Friday, May 29, 2009


The lay offs are cascading through geographies, regions and countries. It started in the US, Europe is now following and soon it will be in the East. Whether all share the same reason for those lay offs is very doubtful. It looks that many companies gratefully use the financial crisis as an argument to get rid of some people.


The main goal of these lay offs is to have cost savings. This will be the case in the short run. In the long run this might very well be different.  The employees who are ‘allowed’ to stay will have to perform the extra work, which normally the laid off employees would do. This means adding extra hours to an already very busy job. It has also an impact on customers. They used to have e.g. a dedicated account manager who knew them and their business and now he or she is gone. It happened a couple of years ago when I did choose a bank, because I would get a personal account manager. He knew my financial situation, my goals and my challenges. Then he was laid off and I no longer did get a personal account manager. I had to do it online only. This might have saved them some money, but I did leave the bank for that reason.


In cast of lay offs, a lot of attention is given to the people who have to leave. This of course needs to be done. However it is crucial to pay significant attention to the remaining employees as well. They have to do this extra work and they are quite fearful that in the next round it might be their turn. So, they will not come up with great ideas and innovations, because they are afraid that their ideas will be rejected. And hence they lose their job as well. Really the productivity will decrease.


Through research it is very well know that the productivity of services employees will only increase when they are enthusiastic and when they can use their strengths throughout the day. When they are not enthusiastic and when they have to do work which does not give them any sense of fulfilment, their productivity will decline substantially.


So it is crucial to optimally use the passion and the strengths of the remaining employees. Their whole mind is needed to cope with these challenges. Even more than under normal circumstances, as they have to come up with breakthrough ideas to design new business model, services and/or processes. The old model has failed so a NEW perspective is urgently needed. Your frontline people are very well positioned to have this new perspective. They know what is happening the market, they have daily contact with the customers about their changing needs and they know what the competition is doing. This is the time to fuel your frontline!





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