Project workforce management and Dell Layoffs: When is “Lean” not “Mean”?


Blogger and author Kevin Meyer has some interesting commentary on his blog about Dell’s recent announcement of layoffs. (Click here for the straight news story on CNet.)

Dell has been a model of a "lean" company, as Meyer describes. But ideally, a truly lean company would never get so "fat" that it would have to shed 10% of its workforce just to keep Wall Street happy. As Meyer points out, letting the company get to this state not only disrespects the employees who must be laid off, but also sacrifices "employee knowledge, creativity, and experience."

Dell has either made some terrible mistakes in letting itself get too "fat" to be "lean," or it is taking a tremendous risk lettting 10% of its human capital be lost forever. Possibly both.

In this highly competitive world, the quality and quantity of internal talent has to be constrantly evaluated — so that it never has to be "corrected" like the price of a stock. Too much value and spirit is lost in the correction. Let’s hope that Dell’s correction is a new start for truly lean operations and higher respect for the value of its current workforce. Companies now have access to new tools such as outsourcing and project-based hiring that reduce if not entirely eliminate mass layoffs which are the root cause of the growing mutual distrust and lack of loyalty between employers and employees.

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  1. #1 by Rudolf Melik at June 13th, 2007

    Here is also another great article about recent layoffs in general, and the knee-jerk reaction companies are making for quick profits:
    CIO Magazine, What’s With All The Layoffs? by Meredith Levinson:
    http://advice.cio.com/meridith_levinson/whats_with_all_the_layoffs

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