Yahoo to Downsize 14% of Staff Initially, But Will That Help the Company?

Update 4-10-12:

Here are some details about the restructuring of Yahoo as reported  in today’s Wall Street Journal:

In a memo sent to employees and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Thompson said he was splitting Yahoo into three main groups: consumer, which oversees the company’s popular media websites as well as its commerce-related, Web search and email services; regions, which he said is accountable for all of Yahoo’s revenues and is broken up into Americas, Europe and Asia divisions that work with the company advertising customers; technology, which will include the data centers and systems that power Yahoo’s Web services as well as its advertising platforms, including Right Media ad exchange, that Yahoo is currently considering selling.

Original Post 4-4-12:

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that:

Yahoo Inc., YHOO +0.26% in a long-expected move, began laying off staff Wednesday as the Internet company tries to cut costs and change its focus after years of flat revenue growth and declining use of some of its websites.  The company announced cuts of about 2,000 employees, or 14% of its 14,000 work force, but further cuts are expected, said a person familiar with the matter. The layoffs are expected to span Yahoo’s many departments, including its marketing division and product group, which builds and maintains new Yahoo websites and mobile apps.

“Today’s actions are an important next step toward a bold, new Yahoo—smaller, nimbler, more profitable and better equipped to innovate as fast as our customers and our industry require,” Chief Executive Scott Thompson said in a written statement. “Our goal is to get back to our core purpose—putting our users and advertisers first—and we are moving aggressively to achieve that goal.”

Yahoo expects to reap about $375 million in annual savings from the cuts and to recognize the majority of an estimated $125 million to $145 million pretax cash charge relating to employee severance in its second-quarter results. The company said more information would be provided about its future direction in conjunction with the release of its first-quarter results on April 17.

From comes this disturbing picture of Yahoo’s decline in market value:

In our own peer-reviewed research on organizational downsizing, we’ve found that simply reducing headcount is not a successful strategy for improving the bottom line or other positive outcomes.  Dan Farber at agrees:

This latest layoff, deleting 2,000 people from its ranks and saving $375 million in costs, is the sixth downsizing in the last six years. The workforce reductions that took place under Jerry Yang and Carol Bartz have not led to greater glory. Current CEO Scott Thompson says he is making Yahoo smaller to be stronger, but there is no indication that he will fare much better than his predecessors in returning the legendary company to its former glory.


Eastman Kodak Files for Bankruptcy, Could Have Been the First Facebook

My blog post title may reflect my age, but for us Boomers, Kodak really was the first Facebook.  We trusted Kodak with our precious film, and it magically turned it into keepsakes we could share with anyone around the world, albeit at the speed of an aircraft and not light.  Karen’s family took (and still takes) thousands of photos each year.  Mine took fewer, but plenty enough.  Karen and I then did the same once our children were born, filling a score of photo albums with the years and sub-years stenciled or written on the spines.  Then our habits changed.  First we requested photos to be written onto a CD, then we trusted it to the Cloud via Shutterfly, before it was called the Cloud.  Then I took great (for me) pictures of my trips to Istanbul and Punta Del Este, Uruguay using my 5 MP camera on my Blackberry Bold in 2008, and posted them to our blog without ever getting any of the pictures printed.

Where was Kodak when all of our family photography behaviors were changing?  It’s too long and painful a story to write about here, although I discuss it in my leadership development programs.  One example of the firm’s inevitable demise should suffice.  When I was a newly minted Ph.D. back in 1992, Kodak’s Imaging Division flew me up to its headquarters in Rochester to consult with them about a downsizing effort they were contemplating.  They had read my research with my colleagues Kim Cameron and Sarah Freeman at the University of Michigan on how to do downsizing effectively, achieving both bottom-line improvements while actually enabling employees to redesign their jobs so that layoffs could be minimized or even avoided altogether.

I should have known something was wrong from the moment I arrived at the headquarters.  Instead of meeting with the division president as I had been led to believe I would be doing, I spent the entire day with two employees from the organizational development staff.  Rather than seeking my help in crafting an effective downsizing strategy, they had hired me to help them craft a communications plan for a strategy the top brass had already decided upon, one which involved a lot of layoffs.  I tried my best to get them to change their minds, but even though those two employees agreed with me, they had no influence to change the strategy.  So my first big consulting engagement was a failure.  Yes, I collected a nice check for my one day’s work, but as I flew back to State College, PA where I was an assistant professor at Penn State, I knew that Kodak was embarking on the road to failure.  The destruction of a brand trusted by tens of millions, the loss of tens of thousands of jobs lost, and billions in equity gone forever would be the result of a firm that downsized rather than innovated.

For information about the bankruptcy announcement, please go to the Dealbook article.

For a timeline of the company put together by the Wall Street Journal, go here.

For a discussion in the Wall Street Journal as to whether filing for bankruptcy will save Kodak, go here.


Update: Why are layoffs the first resort for Pepsi?

Update 3-24-12:

Meanwhile, CEO Indra Nooyi’s compensation increased about six percent in 2011 over 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal today.

PepsiCo Inc. PEP -0.14% Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi received 2011 compensation valued at $17.1 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Friday, a 5.8% increase from the prior year driven primarily by an increase in the value of pension benefits.

Nooyi’s 2011 compensation included $1.6 million in base salary, up from $1.3 million, her first increase in base pay since becoming CEO in 2006. Stock and option awards totaled $9.5 million, roughly equal to year-ago levels, while her incentive plan compensation fell to $2.5 million from $3 million last year.

Nooyi’s pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation earnings was about $3 million, up from $2.1 million in 2010.

PepsiCo is undertaking a turnaround this year that will try to boost the company’s performance, especially in its Americas beverage division where sales have been lackluster. PepsiCo is slashing 8,700 jobs and boosting its marketing budget this year by up to $600 million that it will invest mostly behind a dozen global brands.

Update 2-9-12:

PepsiCo Inc. plans to spend up to $600 million more on marketing this year to try improve sales in North America and will lay off about 3% of its global work force to pay for it as part of a much-anticipated strategic overhaul to try to catch up to global rivalCoca-Cola Co.

PepsiCo’s job cuts will affect some 8,700 employees in 30 countries, and are part of a broader productivity program to slice $1.5 billion in annual costs from the global drinks-and-snacks giant by 2014.

Update:  1/13/12

Despite Pepsi’s move to cut costs and resurrect the Pepsi Cola brand, the board says it will stand by it’s CEO, Indra Nooyi.  It sounds as if everyone agrees that Pepsi needs to be more aggressive in advertising its flagship brand, to compete with Coke.  Once again, I don’t see a reason to layoff people to achieve that goal.  Why not enlist those employees in helping transform the company, to once again improve the profitability and market share of the Pepsi brand?


Due to a stagnant stock price over the past three years, Pepsi feels it needs to do something to demonstrate its commitment to earnings growth and to move in a positive direction by laying of 1% of its workforce, or 4,000 people.

Why are layoffs always the first response to distress?  Pepsi has an abundance of products; maybe they have just spread themselves out to thin with their acquisitions and focus on the Frito-Lay snack division.  Plus, this focus on “better-for-you” products at the expense of good ole’ Pepsi advertising and head-to-head competition with Coke will not keep Pepsi in the top of mind with consumers.

Consumers don’t eat soda and snack food because they are good for them–they eat them because they taste good and want a snack (and not always a healthy one!).  In addition, consumers like the head-to-head competition between Coke and Pepsi; it forces them each to bring their best advertising, packaging, and new products to the table for consumers; it brings out the best in both of them.

Because of our research on downsizing, which you can download for free here, and my former work as Account Executive for the Pepsi Cola account, I don’t think downsizing is the answer.  I think that getting back to basics and remembering what makes Pepsi exciting for its consumers is what will bring that stock price back up.  When I would call on Coke, they would never utter the “P” word.  Maybe it was arrogance, or maybe it was a total devotion to dominating the market.  Maybe Pepsi needs to take on that same mind-set.

Just my two cents.


As Rain Man said, Kmart Sucks! (And now so does, apparently, Sears)

The latest from the Wall Street Journal, 12-30-11:

Sears Holdings Corp. identified 79 of the stores the retailer is planning to close, with nearly half being Kmart locations and Florida having the most closures by state.

Earlier this week, the retailer said it planned to close between 100 and 120 stores and record up to $2.4 billion in quarterly charges after another weak holiday season.


Closures affect 25 states. Florida led the list with 11, followed by six each for Ohio, Michigan and Georgia. With the exception of Ohio, those states had jobless rates above the national average in November, according to the Department of Labor.

Most of the closures were distributed evenly across the U.S., though the Northeast won’t see many. Pennsylvania and New Hampshire each are expected to have two store closures so far. No others were mentioned by Sears on Thursday for that region.

Sears will close about 120 Kmart and Sears stores in a bid to revitalize its business. Shares fell 27% in reaction. Karen Talley has details on The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images

Sears is planning to close 38 Kmart stores, 25 Sears full-line locations and two Sears hardline-only locations. The company will also close 14 Grand/Essentials stores, a format Sears had opened over the past decade in an effort to better compete against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.

According to the company’s website, Sears said employment totals varied and thus the company couldn’t provide an estimate of how many layoffs would occur. Sears said a typical store being closed employs between 40 and 80 associates.

Original Post 12-28-11:

Full disclosure:  I wore clothing from Sears as a kid.  We also used to take our children when they were young to have their portraits done by the photographic studios at Sears.  We even purchased our first washer and dryer from Sears right before our first child, Maggie, was born and we knew our laundry needs would increase dramatically (the number of loads per week has yet to decline 17 years later).  However, we haven’t purchased much if anything from either Kmart or Sears in the past decade.  Our clothing purchases have migrated to higher-end department stores or clothing chains.  Our bigger ticket items are now bought at Best Buy or online.  Any tools I buy, I typically get at Home Depot or Lowes.  Is it any wonder that Sears/Kmart is in so much trouble and closing 120 stores according to today’s Wall Street Journal:

Sears Holdings Corp. said Tuesday that it will close as many as 120 stores and record up to $2.4 billion in quarterly charges after another bad holiday showing, raising fresh doubts among analysts about the future of the middle-market retailer.

Sales at stores open at least 12 months have slid every year since the company was created by the well-known hedge-fund investor in 2005. But its deteriorating condition has accelerated this year—it posted a $421 million loss last quarter—and it said Tuesday that same-store sales for the eight weeks ending Christmas Day dropped 5.2% compared to the year before.

The 49-year-old Mr. Lampert has struggled to retain qualified executives: Under his watch, the company c-suite has become a revolving door. Stores have been criticized for showing their age.

Its once highflying shares—which peaked at $191.93 in April 2007 amid speculation that Sears would be an investment vehicle for Mr. Lampert akin to Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.—plunged 27% to $33.38 Tuesday. They have lost more than half their value this year and are down 73% since the merger closed in March 2005. The market capitalization of Sears by the end of Tuesday had dropped to $3.6 billion.

That is far from what Mr. Lampert envisioned when he launched an $11 billion purchase of venerable Sears, using money from Kmart, a company he had steered out of bankruptcy earlier in the decade. He predicted the merger would create a “powerful leader in the retail industry.”

Frankly, if you’re going to get me and my family into a physical retail setting, you had better make it worth my time, in terms of giving great customer service, making it easy to find what we want, providing a pleasant environment, and of course offering decent (but not necessarily the lowest) prices.  Otherwise, forget it.  Nonetheless, Mr. Lampert chose a different approach:

But from the outset, Mr. Lampert’s strategies for reviving the fading Sears and Kmart brands confounded retail experts, who especially question his decision to scrimp on renovating aging stores.

While store chains typically spend $6 to $8 per square foot on annual maintenance according to retail experts, Sears is spending a fraction of that amount—about $1.90, according to investor research firm International Strategy & Investment Group.

Mr. Lampert’s bare-bones décor frustrated some of his business partners, notably Martha Stewart Omniliving Media Inc., whose relationship with Kmart ended acrimoniously in 2009.

“Have you been to a Kmart lately?” Ms. Stewart said in a CNBC interview around that time. “It’s not the nicest place to shop.”

I think Raymond “Rain Man” Babbitt put it best:


CNN Lays Off Employees During Employee Appreciation Week

I’d categorize this as ironic except for the sickness of the event:

By Chris Ariens on November 11, 2011 4:54 PM

Breaking: Layoff notices are being handed out across CNN/U.S. today. Photographers, editors and other staffers in Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles and Miami are being let go. In all, at least 50 positions are being eliminated. As many as 12 staffers in the Washington, DC bureau alone, four of whom are longtime photojournalists.

CNN Senior VP Jack Womack writes in a note to staff that the cuts come after a 3-year analysis of the company’s work processes.

The CNN Library, which houses CNN’s archives, is centralizing in Atlanta. The library in CNN New York is closing, while there will be cuts in staff at the library in Washington, DC. New positions will be added to the CNN Library in Atlanta.

“As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta,” Womack writes, adding, “Some photojournalists will be departing the company.”

“We cannot begin to thank these individuals enough for their service to CNN. They leave with our respect and our sincere best wishes.”

Even with today’s cuts, CNN anticipates adding staffers in the New Year with overall staff levels at this time next year, around the same.

I’d hate to see what CNN does during Staff Appreciation Day…


Police Do the Pink-Slipping in Ohio

As if police didn’t have enough to do, now they are being tasked to delivery layoff notices to county employees in Ohio:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Plainclothes Cuyahoga County sheriff’s detectives fanned out last Wednesday to knock on doors and deliver pink slips to county employees, an assignment outside the norm for law enforcement.

Leaders of the national sheriffs’ and Ohio police chiefs’ associations said they had never heard of using law enforcement to hand out pink slips. A human resources expert denounced the practice.

But Human Resources Director Elise Hara defended the practice, saying that hand-delivering notices spares employees the humiliation of showing up to work with identification badges that have been deactivated.

“I was trying to prevent people from coming back not knowing they’d been laid off,” she said.

During several rounds of layoffs this year, county Executive Ed FitzGerald has dispatched the sheriff’s officers to issue layoff notices to employees who are not at work at the time.

This not only is a waste of precious law enforcement resources, it demonstrates cowardice on the part of county executives who should be the ones notifying people they have lost their jobs.


Groupon to Get Rid of Worst 10% of its Sales Staff

Full disclosure:  I’ve purchased Groupons before, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased in favor of the company.  Far from it, as most of the daily deals I’m pitched are for products and services I don’t want, for which already have a trusted provider, or are in places far enough way that I’m not going to want to try them out.  I’m not sure that its the salesforce’s fault for my lack of a response as much as it is top management’s poor strategy and tactics.  Nevertheless, Groupon’s top executives have decided to improve the quality of their offerings by laying off the “worst 10% of its sales staff.

(Reuters) – Daily deals site Groupon is replacing the worst 10 percent of its sales staff as it pushes to win stronger deals from merchants and ensure it can keep growing, the company’s chief executive told potential IPO investors on Wednesday.
Andrew Mason told investors who had gathered in Boston that the action was designed to improve the quality of the deals being offered.
Groupon currently has a salesforce of over 4,800, according to its IPO prospectus.
As of September 30, Groupon had 143 million subscribers, but in the third quarter only 30 million of them bought Groupons.
Repeat customers increased from the second quarter but only numbered 16 million, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Failing to win enough repeat customers may dampen the rapid growth that currently supports the company’s roughly $11 billion valuation.
Some merchants have complained that Groupon did not help them win permanent customers, and instead delivered bargain seekers taking advantage of price cuts. A portfolio manager at the roadshow said these complaints raised doubts about Groupon’s ability to keep growing.

People who’ve read our research on downsizing know that simply cutting people, especially when you haven’t determined properly which people need to go, is a poor downsizing strategy.  I’m wondering if they properly identified who the 10% are, informed them in a fair and transparent way, and provided them with a compassionate severance package.  Absent all of that, don’t expect the quality of Groupon deals pitched to you to get better, an in fact, expect it to deteriorate.


Marvin Windows and Doors Avoids Layoffs Despite Housing Slump

As regular readers of this blog know, we have researched and consulted on organizational downsizing, and how to do it effectively, for two decades.  Most of the time, organizations do a poor job of it by any measure:  financial, operating performance, or employee morale and engagement.  Nonetheless, there are few that do it right, and based on my reading of this company in today’s New York Times, I think Marvin Windows and Doors, is one of them:

Marvin Windows might seem like a footnote in the nation’s economic ledger. It employs roughly 4,300 people, about 2,000 of them here, and has annual sales somewhere from $500 million to $1 billion. But what this company is doing — and, more to the point, what it is not doing — is worth knowing.

Marvin Windows and Doors is a throwback to another era. For starters, it is a private company. No public stockholders are complaining that the latest numbers fell short, that the share price is down.

What’s more, Marvin takes an old-fashioned, even paternal view of its role here in Warroad, where the Marvin family has run things for just about as long as anyone can remember. The company has cut employees’ pay and reduced perks like tuition reimbursement and 401(k) matching. Employees haven’t received profit-sharing checks in two years, nor have the 16 members of the Marvin family who work for the company.

But, unlike its top competitors, Marvin has refused to fire people.

Many here wonder if Marvin can hold out, particularly if, as many fear, the economy sinks into another recession. Company executives say they aren’t panicking yet.

“Housing isn’t in a recession. It’s in a depression,” says Susan Marvin, the company’s president and a granddaughter of George Marvin. “While it’s challenging for our people right now, and not everybody understands all the reasons why, the alternatives are devastating. These people would have to pick up and leave.”

The article is worth reading for many reasons, not the least of which is that when owners take the long-term view, and realize the value of their human capital in their organizations, layoffs as a first resort to even substantial industry downturns doesn’t have to be the rule.  Their cost-reduction tactics may not work in every organization, but do you think they would work in yours?



Downsizing’s Steady Drumbeat

We’ve been conducting research on organizational downsizing for more than two decades, but even so, it is next to impossible to keep up to date on downsizing activity in the U.S. and around the globe.  Nonetheless, we’ll post here some of the downsizing efforts taking place that we don’t comment on elsewhere in our blog.  Here are some of them:


General Mills Unveils Restructuring, Job Cuts


Capital One to lay off 850 employees in Salinas


Bank Of America Plans To Lay Off 2000 Senior Bankers: Report

Frontier Airlines files formal layoff notice for 129 Milwaukee job cuts


American Airlines announces 1200 layoffs of nonunion workersPrimeFlight To Lay Off More Than 300 At Texas AirportsHawker Beechcraft warns employees of 350 layoffs


First Solar plans to lay off 2000 workers, California-ordered cuts will shutter 56 courtrooms, lay off 350


Sony confirms 10000 layoffs as part of ‘One Sony’ initiativeHawker Beechcraft warns employees of 350 layoffs


Sony to cut an estimated 10,000 jobs.


PPG to cut 2,000 jobs, J.C .Penney to lay off 14% of its headquarters staff.


Dow Chemical plans to lay off 900Yahoo Layoffs To Start This Week,


T-Mobile to lay off 1900 employees,


Jackson Memorial to layoff over 1000 workersUnion reports layoffs at IBM.


Nokia to layoff 4000: Europe’s pain is Asia’s gain

2-9-12:  Pepsi to cut workforce by 3% or 8700 employees in 30 different countries.


Supervalu to Layoff 800, 200 in Minnesota


Verizon to lay off 336 employees in New JerseyBose laying off 200


American Airlines to lay off at least 13,000UMass Memorial to lay off at least 700 (report)San Diego Unified Prepares to Lay Off 1100+ Employees


Sub-Zero Releases Layoff Information involving 100 employeesP&G marketing layoffs new sign of the times, expert says,


P&G To Lay Off 1600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On FacebookUBS reportedly to lay off 10% of staff in Germany

1-25-12:  UPS plans 400 layoffs at northern Ky. facility

1-24-12:   Texas Instruments to close 2 plants in cost-cutting move that will lay off about 1000 employees.

1-18-12:  Kraft to lay off 1600 in 2012Oakland gives layoff notices to 2500 city workersBMO Harris Bank to lay off 350.

1-12-12:  MetLife to lay off more than 800 in Irving, TXArcher Daniels To Lay Off 1000 Jobs Sanofi Canada to lay off 100 employeesCSC to lay off 114 local employees

1-5-11:  Health Plus in Virginia to lay off almost 900 employeesUMMC to lay off 115 workers, leave unfilled positions vacant.

1-4-12:  Northrop Grumman layoffs planned for Fort HoodPhilly schools send layoff notices to 1400The potential hidden costs behind temporary layoffs (Canada),

12-29-11  102 Holiday Inn hotel workers in Charlotte, NC get layoff notices.  No, make that Hawaii Medical Center layoffs number 500.

12-23-11:  Hawaii Medical Center to lay off employees on Christmas Eve

12-22-11:  Vulcan to layoff 200, consolidate regionsHarley asks for layoff volunteersAttleboro metals company announces layoffs

12-20-11:  Harley-Davidson offers voluntary layoffs in Wisconsin

Harley-Davidson Inc. is offering voluntary layoffs to hourly workers at three plants in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area to reduce staff by about 26 percent, giving itself flexibility to hire seasonal workers.

Nassau OKs over 300 layoffs
The Nassau County Legislature voted along party lines Monday to approve the layoff of more than 300 municipal employees by year’s end.

Jefferson County, Alabama eliminating hundreds of jobs

12-16-11:  Morgan Stanley to Cut 1600 JobsAT&T passes out 100 layoff notices

12-13-11:  Tampa Tribune begins layoff of 165, NPR Reports two Make It Through Five Layoffs In Five YearsPostal Service downsizing will be messy,

12-11-11:  Mosinee Factory Closure.

12-8-11:  AstraZeneca to lay off another 1,250 employees in the U.S..

12-7-11:  Citigroup To Layoff 4500 Employees, To Take $400 Mln ChargeBristol Compressors Announces Major Layoff.

12-2-11:  Ingalls Shipyard to lay off 500 non-union employees, Wisconsin Public Service to lay off 74 union employees.

11-30-11:  In Germany, Eon to eliminate 11,000 jobs and Manroland to file for bankruptcy.

11-23-11:  U.S. Navy to lay off 3,000 mid-career sailors, Ovonic Energy Products,  Motiva to lay off 500, Nokia to downsize its global workforce by 17,000 or 23%.

11-22-11:  Sikorsky to cut workforce another 3%, Booth Newspapers and to cut workforce in half, The Wilderness Society to cut staff by 17%.

11-20-11:  City of Detroit to lay off 1,000, reduce workforce by 9%, Citizens Financial Group.

11-18-11:  UBS to downsize investment banking unit by 11 percent by 2016.

11-17-11:  Citigroup to lay off more than 3000, Pella Corp., ITT Exelis,

11-16-11:  Stryker Corp. to lay off 5% of its workforce worldwide, Capella University to lay off 4%, Nassau University Medical Center.

11-13-11:  Women’s clothier Christopher & Banks to close 100 stores and lay off 7% of its HQ staff.

11-12-11:  Dozens of layoffs at CNN, 300 laid off at Hawker Beechcraft.

11-11-11:  Simplot to lay off at least 800.

11-10-11:  Andesen Corp. to lay off 250,


Adobe lays off 750, Excite Technologies in Tennessee.

11-8-11:  Lansing, Michigan police slower to respond, make fewer arrests after layoffs.

11-3-11:  Element K, AMD to cut 10% or 1,400 jobs, Gameforge, and 3500 layoffs avoided in New York as a result of a new deal with the Public Employees Federation union.

11-1-11:  Kudelski Group to lay off nine percent (9%) of its workforce, Illinois’s Cook County, software developer Silicon Knights.

10-29-11:  Whirlpool to downsize in Europe and North America by 10% or more than 5,000 jobs, Motorola, BuyWithMe, Clearwater Paper in IdahoHewlett-Packard may kill off WebOS and lay off 500 .

10-26-11:  Mass layoffs in September affected 153,000 workers, and Procter and Gamble plans to downsize through early retirements, but not how much or why.

10-20-11:  Amgen to lay off 226.

10-18-11:  Kimberly-Clark, Babcock & Wilcox, Lowes Home Improvement to close 20 stores and lay off 2,000 employees, mass layoffs at Goldman Sachs,

10-10-11:  Ararmark lay off 128 at Disney locations.

10-9-11:  AstraZeneca to lay off 400 in Wilmington, DE.

10-8-11:  BBC to downsize by 2,000 jobs over the next five years, Navistar by 130 jobs by year’s end, and NV Energy 100 jobs by spring of 2012.

10-7-11:  Compensation Insurance Fund to lay off 30%, or 1,800.

10-5-11:  Illinois companies to lay off 650 workers, and Friendly’s Ice Cream restaurants files for bankruptcy and will lay off 1,200 employees.

10-4-11:  Hanford Nuclear Reservation to cut 1,000 jobs.

9-30-11:  Nokia to cut 3,500 jobs.

9-29-11:  Governor Andrew Cuomo sends layoff notices to first of almost 3,500 New York State employees to be laid off, and the union develops a proposal to try to avoid the layoffs.

9-28-11:  MetroHealth Systems in Cleveland, OH to eliminate 450 jobs, cut $30 million in expenses over next two months; more than 500 Lockheed will lose their jobs as a result of previously announced downsizing of 1,500.

9-27-11:  Novartis announces new, unspecified layoffs in addition to 2,500 already downsized in the past year, and Georgia Health Sciences University to lay off 150.

9-24-11:  Red Bull Nascar Racing Team,

9-23-11:  Viacom.

9-22-11:  You’ve got to be kidding me:  Hallmark Produces Layoff Greeting Cards.

Duke Energy-Progress Energy merger will lead to 2,000 jobs lost.

WIPP announces layoffs to start in October.

H-P Starts Layoffs in WebOS Unit, and has eliminated or will eliminate more than 34,000 jobs since 2005.  Is it any wonder that H-P is considering getting rid of its CEO after he’s been on the job for only a few months, as reported in today’s WSJ??

United States Postal Service (USPS) would like to eliminate 120,000 employees.

Bank of America Layoffs Need More Transparency

Update 9-19-11:

I was interviewed in today’s Wall Street Journal about Bank of America’s recent downsizing announcement.  Here are some excerpts from the article:

Rumors of massive layoffs had been rippling through the ranks for months, according to one senior analyst at Bank of America. “A lot of people are really scared about what’s going to happen,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who’s not looking [for another job].”

He said managers have tried to send short notes to reassure employees but it seems they are nervous about their own positions. “They say it’s going to be 30,000 over the next couple years. Does that mean that for the next several years we’re supposed to wait for our number to be called?”

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment.

Still, multiple announcements of layoffs tend to compound employee stress levels, said Aneil Mishra, managing partner of Total Trust Coaching & Consulting, a human resources consultant. “The more often you do it, the more brittle employees become,” he said.

Update 9-12-11:

Bank of America announced today that it would downsize by another 30,000 employees over the next few years, in addition to the more than 6,000 already downsized this year.   This means that when this current downsizing effort is completed, it will have shed almost 90,000 jobs, ore more than 27% of its employees, since 2008 by our count.

Original Post 2-10-2009:

I have many former students who work for Bank of America (or did, as some have already been let go), and so I am always interested in knowing what is happening at the bank.  One of my former students alerted me to this article in today’s Charlotte Observer:

Two months since Bank of America Corp. announced major companywide layoffs, the cuts are rippling through Charlotte, but it’s still unclear how many jobs will be lost in the bank’s headquarters city.

The bank last month filed a notice with state officials saying it would eliminate 139 workers in Ballantyne, but beyond that it has declined to confirm reports of layoffs, or to say how many workers will be affected here. The 35,000 job cuts announced in December are related to the Jan. 1 purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. and a weak economy. They will take place over the next three years.

Current and former employees say job cuts began in December and have intensified in recent weeks, hitting a variety of divisions and levels, but even those inside the company say it’s difficult to gauge the total impact. The quiet nature of the cuts has eroded morale and left many nervous about their own posts, they say.

Not surprisingly, the way in which the layoffs are being conducted are negatively affecting employee morale and productivity:

Bank of America employees say layoffs are happening quickly, with workers often having their access to bank systems immediately cut off. Sometimes e-mails circulate with farewells from workers shortly before they leave. Sometimes employees learn a co-worker is gone after the fact. “Nobody knows what’s going on,” said one Charlotte employee. “People leave their desk, come back, and then people applaud when they walk out.”

Said another: “It’s almost like a bomb went off and you don’t know till afterward who’s alive and who’s dead.”

Employees are leaving so abruptly that they are leaving behind unfinished work. In the past, workers were given more advance notice they were losing their job and given time to search for other positions within the company.

The cuts have spurred resentment among Bank of America employees against Merrill workers. Some think Merrill workers are getting preference for jobs, even though their company is the one being bought out, and they’re angry that their bonuses have been cut while Merrill paid bonuses in December.

As my former student told me today, it’s “hard times here at the bank — everyone is on pins and needles, presently company included.  Trust, well it’s essentially evaporated.”

Our published research shows exactly that.  When leaders are not transparent about the purpose for and the process by which downsizing/layoffs are to occur, employee morale and trust are negatively affected severely, which makes it exceedingly difficult for them to take the necessary initiative and actions to improve the organization and avoid future layoffs.