NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Thirty or 40 years ago, when the local plant announced a layoff, it was often temporary until business picked up.
Back in the '90s, we shifted to a more permanent notion of layoffs. Since then, we've gotten so used to layoffs, they're actually considered sound, strategic decision-making.
But are layoffs worth the unintended consequences?
In September 2011, Meg Whitman became Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) fourth CEO in a little more than a year.Her first dramatic effort is to disrupt 27,000 families because HP isn't sure how it's going to revive the listless behemoth. Sure, HP investors get excited when any costs are reduced, especially personnel costs, which can represent more than 70% of a company's expenses with salary, taxes, insurance, pension and benefits. Layoffs reduce costs but raise other issues. Layoffs do the following:
- Punish people for doing their jobs and being loyal.
- Reinforce the union mantra that management sees workers as disposable.
- Discourage worker loyalty and morale.
- Increase fear, uncertainty and doubt.
- Reduce productivity.
- Inspire sabotage, rumors and gossip.
- Increase mistrust of company leadership.
- Violate implied security or reward for performance, obedience, or hard work by employees.
- Are seldom part of a well-thought-out strategy or master plan.
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