Hire them, fire them, do what you want with them

A quote from Deming:

“In Japan when a company has to absorb a sudden economic hardship such as a 25% decline in sales, the sacrificial pecking order is firmly set. First the corporate dividends are cut. Then the salaries and the bonuses of the top management are reduced. Next, management salaries are trimmed from the top to the middle of the hierarchy. Lastly, the rank and file are asked to accept pay cuts or a reduction in the work force through attrition or voluntary discharge” He then states that the pecking order in the United States is the opposite.

At Semco, employees are asked to leave only when all other options are exhausted. Even then, those with the least social impact are asked to leave first. They are not asked to leave as in “walk him to the gate”. An effort is undertaken to find him another job.

I got my first “job” as a trainee. The company planned on a product and I planned on learning. It was an unpaid job and I eventually found one that paid me (very little). I remember the reluctance I had to resign from a company that wasn’t paying me. I was naturally attached to this place, and they were to me (?). How could I face up to them and say that I was leaving? Silly me.

My observation of companies in the United States has disappointed me. They seem trigger-happy without due consideration to the person’s social position. Hire without restraint when demands are high and fire easily when there’s a slump.

I know that this notion of allegiance to an employer or an employee is scoffed at. To many people this smacks of socialism. To me its a natural human trait. We need to belong to a group that has a purpose. We need to feel that we are positively contributing to society. If those ties that bind us are weak, there is a lack of fulfillment. This has now become a norm. We have moved backwards and because of that both business and people are suffering. The reason that this is not acknowledged is that there is no place for empathy in the corporate world anymore.