CEO Of OMGPOP Dan Porter Hires Back Laid-Off Workers and Shares the Wealth

Here’s a good news story you certainly don’t see everyday:

OMGPOP — the creator of the popular Draw Something game available for both iPhone and Android — was sold last month for $210 million to social gaming company Zynga Inc.

This was a huge boon to the once-struggling start-up that was close to going bust, according to Fortune. A few months ago, with sales floundering, Porter made the difficult decision to lay off several Flash developers, reports.

Then, of course, the launch — and consequent popularity — of the Pictionary-like game Draw Something changed everything. Within six weeks, it was downloaded by 35 million users, becoming the most popular iPhone/Facebook game around, Wall Street Cheat Sheet reports.

That’s when Zynga came calling — and Porter quickly got to work getting the employees he fired back in the game.

“He was literally negotiating the deal and jamming the re-hires back into payroll to make sure they were covered with hours remaining in the close,” an anonymous source with first-hand knowledge of the situation told Business Insider. “Their options kept vesting and they benefited from the sale.”

In our research on organizational downsizing, this Compassion-based approach to rebuilding trust following layoffs is exceptional.  If there were more CEOs like Dan Porter, the U.S. economy would be much further along in restoring all of the jobs, and the wealth and incomes that go with those jobs, that were lost in the Great Recession of 0f 2008-.


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.


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.


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.



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.


Cutting Costs without Cutting People — Rhino Foods Does it Right!

Update 6-10-10:

I recently taught a group of Nissan managers about the ROCC of Trust and the Competing Values.  I shared Ted Castle’s story and how it related to building lasting positive change.  Here is some follow-up information:

If you would like additional tools that you can use in your organization, and are current or former student or client of ours, please contact us at trustdr at gmail

For more on Ted’s company, please read our book, Trust is Everything.

Ted Castle and Rhino Foods were profiled in the latest issue of Business Week for being able to reduce costs without resorting to layoffs, not an easy accomplishment as demonstrated by the hundreds of thousands of layoffs by scores of firms around the U.S. and around the world over the past several weeks.rhino-foods-employee-exchange-program

As Matthew Boyle writes:

Instead of jettisoning workers during the Great Depression, Iowa-based window maker Pella had its employees wash and rewash the windows it could not sell. These days, companies such as FedEx (FDX), Dell (DELL), and Motorola (MOT) are adopting their own tactics to hold on to jobs, from hiring freezes to companywide unpaid vacations. (All have had to resort to layoffs as well.) And some are doing more than chopping pay or perks.

Vermont’s Rhino Foods, which makes the cookie dough for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, recently sent 15 factory workers to nearby lip balm manufacturer Autumn Harp for a week to help it handle a holiday rush. The employees were paid by Rhino, which then invoiced its neighbor for the hours worked. President Ted Castle is looking to adopt a similar approach with salaried managers, too. “It’s a lot easier to just do the layoff,” says Castle. “But in the long term, it’s not easier for the business.”

Congratulations, Ted and Rhino Foods!


Don’t be Up in the Air When it Comes to Downsizing

Our review of the film, Up in the Air, starring George Clooney and Anna Kendrick was recently published in The Work Style Magazine, an international English-language publication.  Here is an excerpt of our review:

We have been advocating for effective downsizing strategies for almost two decades, arguing that firms who treat their employees fairly, and with compassion and openness during the process of laying them off, will end up better trusted by both those who leave and those who stay.  We advocate for transparency during the downsizing process, open communication at all levels of management, and transmitting a hopeful attitude for the future, for both those who leave and those who stay.

We have also long advocated for better training for front-line managers who have to implement the layoffs.  Many times, they are thrown into a room with their friends and colleagues with nothing more than a list of who they will have to layoff, and no training on how to deliver the bad news, or how to handle the range of emotions they are about to encounter.  We believe that character of Natalie (played by Anna Kendrick) is in many ways a realistic portrayal of what those managers will feel, especially if they have not had previous experience firing people who are not being fired for poor performance.

Natalie is initially quite detached, and uses the scripted information that she is supposed to convey to the downsizing victims as though she really believes it.  Once she begins accompanying Ryan to give the bad news face-to-face rather than across a video connection, the victims’ unscripted reactions unnerve her.  Their responses force Natalie to confront the reality of what she has been asked to do.  As she progresses in her job, however, she becomes hardened to it, as Ryan has, as a result of years of giving horrible news to countless downsizing victims.  It is only at the end of the film, when the results of their downsizing messages turn even more tragic for one victim, that Natalie rediscovers her humanity and chooses another path for herself.

For a copy of our complete film review, please go here.

Aneil and Karen