Thursday, June 12, 2008

The plan

A company announces they will be laying off people in June. It's January. It takes a little while for the employees to get back up and running. It is what most people would call a "recovery period" and it is needed when someone's future is smashed with a sledge hammer. Naturally, even as work resumes, the employees morale is not quite fully intact even after the recovery period and they are not very driven to perform at the same level they had before. This is a problem for the managers because they need to instill some drive in the driveless. So they manufacture a problem "We might be let go early if we do not maintain our numbers!" This falls on partially deaf ears but the workers kind of come back in line. The company thinks they should just be the same motivated workers they used to be but people secretly don't care anymore. As a result the management starts to fire people for performance and for a day or two that works. The problem is the employees still lack drive because no matter what they do they will still end up unemployed. Either way the survivors limp along keeping management just barely off their backs.

The 60 day notice finally arrives in April and things go downhill fast. Now that these people are within the 60 day bubble they feel even less motivated. So the mangaement fires more people and writes up a whole bunch more. Still the people do the bare minimum and some do even less. The threat of being let go early sounds like an alluring option at this point and loses its effectiveness.

The employees find themselves to only have 15 days left on the phone and they begin to completely ignore the statistics and the management's expectations. They think "Who cares?" They have hung in for 6 months and they are done. Management does not share this particular view. They have established stats for these employees and by golly they are going to get these slackers to adhere to them! The question is "how?"

The management thinks back over the last 6 months and realize firing people did not work. Nor did harping at them. Micro-management barely worked when the employees had job security so that was out. Threatening them had kind of work but how do you threaten someone who has nothing left to lose. The management went into emergency meetings to come up with a plan. While they did so the numbers tanked as the employees gabbed and ignored the stats. Some even engaged in a ridiculous email campaign that entertained most, if not all of the employees. The next week the management came in with a new vigor and wrote people up for stupid reasons (like using email to actually email people) and began to harp at people. The employees concluded the management (who are also laid off) were absolutely crazy (and of course they are as it is a qualifier for being a manager).

The next day was when they revealed their evil scheme. It was quite ingenious really and most people failed to see the hook. What was the enticement? An additional day off would be given to everyone so that the employees could "look for that elusive new job." The employees excitedly discussed what day they had with their neighbors and sublimely floated through the day.

The day after the "magical day off plan" the management yanked on the fishing pole and hooked them all. You see, in order to get the day off the people had to maintain the stats while other people were off. If people slacked they may lose their day off and no one wanted that. So micro-management veers its ugly head once again. Management notified those that were slacking by handing out a sheet of paper broken into stats of every half hour. Those that are doing fine do not get one. Then the threat goes out.... If the employees do not adhere to the stats management expects, the day off will be lost for all. The sheets of paper being handed out point out those that may end up losing the day off for the entire office and fingers can be pointed. So people that used to toe the line begin to adhere and those that never have get nagged and they bitch about it a lot but they adhere as much as they ever have (which is not much).

Quite a brilliant plan.... my hats off to the management.


Robert said...

Deceptive, but someone should screw up so just b/c. That way they can prove to mgmt, that no one cares. Maybe even make a coup out of it and have everyone act together to drop the stats!

Michael Williams said...

I have already caused enough trouble..... so I am being kind of good this week. I may be less good next week.

EdieS said...

Ridiculous- utterly ridiculous. God and the ancestors works in mysterious ways and let me tell you, the spirits of my ancestors are for once on my side. I am so, so happy to not deal with this bs.

The reporting, the writing up, the micromangement - it means nothing, nothing at all if you are letting people go.

Michael Williams said...

Yeah all the little tricks they used to manipulate made for an extremely hostile situation. I do not wish any of the decision makers at NW well.