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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Corporate Downsizing - 1391 words
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Corporate Downsizing- INTRODUCTION -Downsizing, restructuring, rightsizing, even a term as obscure as censusreadjustment has been used to describe the plague that has been affectingcorporate America for years and has left many of its hardest working employeeswithout work. In the 1980's, twenty-five percent of middle management waseliminated in the United States (Greenberg/Baron 582). In the 1990's, onemillion managers of American corporations with salaries over $40,000 also losttheir jobs (Greenberg/Baron 582). In total, Fortune 500 companies haveeliminated 4.4 million positions since 1979 (Greenberg/Baron 627). Althoughthis downsizing of companies can have many reasons behind it and cannot beavoided at times, there are simple measures a company can take to make theprocess easier on the laid-off employees and those who survive with the company.- STAGES OF DOWNSIZING -The downsizing process can generally be broken down into three distinctstages.
The first stage is called the diagnostic stage. In this stage,management staff pulls together and determines the amount of costs and expensesthat need to be reduced, and how much can come out of layoffs (Moore 49). Thisstage usually takes about two to three months to complete. During this time,the upper management reviews all financial records in order to determine howmuch is needed to be cut from salary expenditures (Moore 50). This stage isconcluded when the senior management has a detailed plan on who will be let go,and who will remain with the company
During this stage, there is one commonmistake many companies make: lack of communication. The middle management isusually left out of all downsizing plans. This is wrong and creates a bigmistake. Middle management should be looked upon as a valuable tool for givinginput where cuts should be made (Moore 51). The next stage of downsizing is the implementation stage. During thisstage the employees are laid off.
The time between an announcement and theactual layoff should be as short as possible. This will almost insure that apanic will be avoided, and give a clear view of the situation at hand withoutcausing mass-hysteria. In a managerial position, it is difficult to explain to an employee thathe or she is being laid off, but Terrence Moore gives a guideline on how itshould be done. Small talk should be avoided. Management should clearlyexplain that the employee is being laid off and be prepared to answer questionsdirectly; avoid beating around the bush.
It is extremely important to detailall employee benefits and severance pay, also the employee should be encouragedto come back with any questions that he or she may have (Moore 52). An important note is that the employee should not be given false hope.It should be made clear, from the start, that the employee is being laid off anddoesn't have a chance of being rehired. Finally, you should not try to lie tothe employee and say you know how they may feel if you don't (Moore 52). The final stage is the post-implementation stage. This is dealing withthe survivor syndrome and helping displaced employees find jobs throughoutplacement sources. Sadly, management usually expects the remaining employees toreturn to their jobs as if nothing had happened. However, this is not usually the case.
Survivors suffer with negativefeelings of resentment, frustration, irritability, fatigue and burnout. Theymay also undergo feelings of insecurity with their company. A way to helpsurvivors deal with their problems is to offer personnel workshops (or programs)that offer support to help cope with the anxiety that adjustment brings (Moore53).- REASONS FOR AND EFFECTS OF DOWNSIZING -There are many reasons why a company might need to downsize. In today'scorporate America, it is a plain fact that far fewer employees are necessary tomaintain a successful operation. Many times, it is the case where atechnological advance or breakthrough makes it possible to replace a previouslyhuman job. It is also an all-too-common scenario that outside influences suchas sudden shifts in the market or changed government policies force corporateexecutives to make coinciding decisions regarding their staff and these externalchanges.Another one of the major problems in today's business world are thesalaries being paid to the workers.
Since employers are not paying theirworkers high wages, the workers have little to put back into the economy. Thiscauses the system to plummet and forces companies to downsize to keep from goingunder.The downsizing of a company can affect employees before, during andafter it occurs. Employees usually know of a possible downsizing (care of thealmighty grapevine) months before it is supposed to happen. Thus, employees maybecome paranoid and self-absorbed, and their top priority is their own careerrather than the bottom line of their employer. This causes them to be unfocusedand prevents them from performing their jobs efficiently. Many workers wouldalso be perfectly willing to stab their peer(s) in the back in hopes of keepingtheir job.
Usually when a downsizing is complete, the company is at an all-time low.This is due to the fact that in almost every merger, acquisition or downsize,employees are faced with uncertainty about their jobs before and after therestructure. After a large percentage of downsizes, ten percent of theremaining workforce will easily adapt to the change, while another ten percentwill never adapt (Hollreiser 27). Workers who survive the downsize often havefeelings of anger, fear or distrust. Further internal problems result fromemployees who survive with the company, but cannot adapt to their new settingsand expectations, and eventually quit their job. Many steps can be taken to ease the transition of the employees afterdownsizing occurs.
For the employees who were let go from the company,reasonable severance packages should be offered to help the person until a newjob is found. Downsizing not only affects workers that have been terminated,but also affects the survivors. This is commonly referred to as the survivorsyndrome. Many people who survive as a result of downsizing often live with thefear that they too will be terminated. They are often shell shocked anddistrustful.
They are mentally scared survivors of an economic restructuringthat they have never seen before. In this constant climate of economicinsecurity, their jobs are constantly being redefined. They are forced to meetnew levels of production criteria requiring them to do more work in less timeand the notion of job security (because of expandability) is obsolete (Caudren52).As for the remaining employees, simple means of communication can be veryimportant. One of the major reasons for employee problems after a downsizing isthe mistrust in the management and lack of knowledge regarding their own jobstatus. If the employees are informed of what is transpiring within theircompany, they might not be fearful of losing their job, or so quick to stab afellow employee in the back. This problem has affected millions of families in America and has forcedgood, decent workers to settle for lower wages and little or no benefits inexchange for supposed higher job security.
I also have some personal experiencewith this subject. My father currently works for AT&T and survived the recentdownsize and split the company underwent. However, he was not so lucky with hisprevious employer, Nabisco, Inc. In 1988 Nabisco, Inc. and RJ Reynolds, Inc.Merged and downsized, laying off thousands of employees of which my father wasone.- POSITIVE EFFECTS OF DOWNSIZING -Although downsizing can have devastating effects on those people on the negativeside, the remaining employees can have tremendous opportunities for growth andskill development. After a restructure, there are many ways an employee cangrow vertically and horizontally within their company.
Since so many positionsare eliminated in such a process, the remaining employees sometimes need tolearn new skills and adapt to handling greater amounts of work than ever before.While this may be an inconvenience at first, these skills and abilities canassist these people in future job searches.- CONCLUSION - The downsizing process is a fact of life. It affects all people frommanagers to laid off employees and their families as well as those who remainwith the company. It is something that will continue to occur with no end insight. As long as our world market continues to grow, so too will the conceptof downsizing grow. This process can lead to psychological problems, andcreates anxiety and frustration for those of both ends of it.
This is a problemthat most likely will not have an easy solution, or at least not any time soon.It is something that we all must deal with in one way or another, and as for thevictims of downsizing, the only thing they can do is try to piece their livesback together and hope for the best.
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