LO and Big Layoff LO5429

DAVID REED (DPR9989@KGV1.bems.boeing.com)
Wed, 07 Feb 1996 16:51:23 -0700 (PDT)

Can we look at this issue differently?......

I have read with interest, individuals on this listserv who feel that
executives with fat paychecks are evil and companies who practice
layoffs are destined to ruin. But we, as students of LO, must elevate
ourselves above our feelings and look at the situation of layoffs,
employee mobility, and the re-tooling of skills at a systems level. I have
been developing a relatively simple systems diagram to help me
understand where we are headed as an organization. I would like to
share some thoughts with you and solicit your reactions.

Our strategy is a desired system focusing on business excellence. This
system requires high caliber people, small focused organizations, and
quality products to be successful. To reinforce the system, and to drive
decisions within the system, we entertain a set of assumptions. These
focus around our high-caliber people and include: rapidly changing
skills, broadly defined jobs, flexible-team-based people, a willingness to
learn, and a desire to retrain people instead of hiring new. If these
assumptions hold true, we should nurture high-caliber people. But,
( and here is the balancing system) even though there is a willingness to
learn on the part of our people, the company expects them to learn
during their off hours while our people desire more personal time.
People do not see a direct tie of learning to compensation and
therefore, do not see a value to obtaining new skills. The more this
occurs, the less willing they are to learn and the less the company sees
rapidly changing skills.

Looking at the factors; rapidly changing skills, high mobility of people
in-and-out of companies, and the need to continuously retrain, I begin
to see a model of our software development industry today. It was
suggested to me that this was not a desirable model for the future. I
would like to explore a different model with you. The Teacher Model.

Here in the U.S. our teachers work and get paid for 9 months. During
the 3 months off, many return to school to refresh their skills and to
obtain higher accreditation. Upon completion of their training, they
often receive greater pay. If a company would adopt a similar approach
with their people, would they reinforce people's willingness to learn
and to attain new skills? (maybe I'm not making sense)

Try to envision this.... You work for a company that pays you a full
years salary and allows you 2-3 months off and provides the
opportunity for retraining (Of course, these training costs, and the costs
of additional workers needed for coverage, affect the profits of the
company and probably the bonuses and raises available). You have the
option to spend your time learning or whatever you like. For those who
show successful completion of training, they are rewarded by
compensation or by new work opportunities. For those who do not
elect to retrain, they will find others progressing faster and further, and
their own skills quickly becoming obsolete. In other words, they must
take ownership of their learning process. The company is committing
to support them by providing effective opportunity for successful

Your thoughts?

 For now...
 David Reed
 (206)655-3245  E-mail: dpr9989@kgv1.bems.boeing.com
 Human Resources Strategy Development

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