Yesterday, our man Steph Willems chronicled the details of a memo obtained by The Detroit News in which Ford brass promised 2019 will be a pivotal year for the company. Amongst the revelations, CEO Jim Hackett said a job cull is the price it must pay for adding so many new employees after the recession.
That was confirmed today, with news that some salaried workers in departments such as accounting and human resources will get their walking papers later this year.
According to the Detroit Free Press, a few folks in admin support roles at the Glass House are also set to be pushed out the door. Pressed for details, Ford reps said they are “not going to provide any numbers,” before adding that this right-sizing of the company will result in a more dynamic and empowered workforce. Anyone who’s been laid off or made redundant (or left behind after the cull) knows the potential danger behind those words.
It must make for a stressful time at Ford, as it is often harmful to production and morale when the employee base knows job cuts are coming down the pipe. When all hands are fearful for their jobs, huddling around the water cooler and casting nervous glances over the cubicle farm walls, it tends to create a tense atmosphere. John McElroy, a talking head who knows more than a thing or two about the industry, opined that Ford would be well-advised to just rip the Band-Aid off and get it over with. The man has a point.
Hackett acknowledged this anxiety during an interview with Freep last month. From the exchange:
“I think it’s totally fair,” he said. “My mind wants to say, ‘Is that because of the anxiety of the restructuring? They’re holding onto the ambiguity, saying, ‘I don’t know my status.’ That is really unfair to our people to have to go through that. There’s a trade, see. You end up with a lot better process from end to end if you involve the people actually in the design of what we’re doing. When CEOs edict that we’re just taking out x thousands of people, like you’re mowing the lawn, it makes everyone feel like inanimate objects. Bill (Ford) and I care a lot more than that.”
Those people with the anvil over their heads will have a bit longer to wait. All signs point to a mid-2019 date before the extent of these cuts are revealed.
[Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy/TTAC]