CXR Recommends: An approach to layoffs

Alternately titled: How to pretend to be bold when laying off your employees

With our recent spurt of layoffs, this HR Executive headline naturally caught my eye this week: Are executive pay cuts the bold move your organization needs? What followed was, at the very least, a missed opportunity for transparency and authenticity in sharing the pain of what laid off employees are feeling and would consider a ‘bold’ response. And at its worst, an intentional attempt to say something edgy that could only appeal to board-level leaders long insulated from their employees by averaging 1000 times their salary.

To make her point that it can be done, the author, Jen Colletta, stated early, “Among the high-profile execs who will be taking home a lower salary are CEOs from Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Apple and Goldman Sachs. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also reportedly told employees in a town hall meeting—held after company wide layoffs—that he and other top executives would be taking a pay cut this year.”

To support HR Executive’s headline contention that this would be seen as positive, an expert, the “founder of eLearning Industry” is quoted as saying, “…lowering executive compensation is a ‘bold move’ that could send an important message to workers about company culture. It signals to employees that their leaders care about their staff and the success of the company, so much so that they’re willing to sacrifice their own pay.”

I’m calling bullshit. Nowhere does the author indicate the size of the pay cuts nor what would be left of their supposed salary. Any curious sourcer, recruiter or, frankly, anyone capable of using a search engine, (especially someone out of work with time on their hands) could find the answer. And that answer seriously dilutes the perception of a ‘sacrifice’ in the works. Can’t imagine a journalist overlooking the obvious hypocrisy.

Tell me about the leaders willing to forgo planned additions to their wealth this year and who then subsequently convert that delta to supporting or saving the employees they had overhired last year and I’ll happily share my appreciation for their ‘bold’ move.

Read the full article here: Are executive pay cuts the bold move your organization needs?

Picture of Gerry Crispin

Gerry Crispin

Gerry co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and has written 100s of articles and whitepapers on similar topics during a career in Human Resources that spans more than 40 years from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the University where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm even as he launched CareerXroads 25 years ago.

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