Re: Competences LO2814

Beth Clark (
14 Sep 1995 10:58:58 -0600

Replying to LO2778 --

Bernard Girard wrote:

"I had yesterday a lunch with the boss of a french data processing company
(about 2000 persons). He is reorganizing his company along competence
centers. In the process, he discovered that 10% of the workforce had
competence that was of no use to the company. He dismissed most of them.

My question is :
- would this be a fact in most companies?
- do companies have feedback that tell them that the people who work for
them have obsolete competences?
- could we design a system to get this feedback?"

A few years ago, the company for which I work arrived at a similiar
conclusion [10 percent of employees had skills of no value to the company]
and took similiar action [fired the employees]. Apparently that was so
successful that they fired the 'bottom 10 percent' every year for two or
three years. Now that morale is completely decimated and the 'top 10
percent' is leaving voluntarily, it was decided to eliminate this
practice. IBM did the same thing during their massive downsizings, but
they called it "raising the bar." I propose a more humane approach that
encourages (with time and dollars) employees to gain the skills the
business requires now and in the future. There will always be the case of
the employee that refuses to learn, but that should be dealt with on a
case-by-case basis, not with a pogram.

Beth Clark