Overheard: Word of the Day

Oct 22 2008   2:57PM GMT

Overheard: Stealth layoffs at Yahoo

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

pink_slip.jpg By disguising layoffs as negative reviews, Yahoo management may push employees to leave, sans severance.
Yahoo’s stealth layoffs

The Company’s goal is to reduce its current annualized cost run rate of approximately $3.9 billion by more than $400 million before the end of 2008. The Company anticipates that both headcount and non-headcount-related costs will be reduced by these actions. Because the majority of expenses are headcount-related, Yahoo! expects to reduce its global workforce by at least 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Whenever I read about reducing head counts and see the photo above, a little tune runs through my head.
“It’s the most – wonderful – time – of – the – year!”

I’m glad I’m not working at Yahoo. If their press release says they’re letting 1500 employees go, you can bet it’ll be closer to twice that number by the time the Christmas carnage is over.

And with all the “crisis of confidence” sound bytes in the media, I’m also going to bet that the commenter over at Valleywag hit the nail on the head.  This year, as never before, there will be some creative aspects to the traditional laying off of employees before the holidays.

Of course we all know the words to the song as we gather round the water cooler around the beginning of December .  You can expect the traditional “downsizing” and “reorganizing” verses that we’ve come to associate with garland and mistletoe. But this year don’t be surprised if employers introduce some new lyrics to the song and we find ourselves singing about “stealth layoffs.”

Stealth layoffs sounds much more hi-tech than “pushing an employee out so we don’t have to pay him benefits, severance or unemployment insurance.”  For the latest numbers in layoffs, be sure to check out Rafe Needleman’s Tech Layoff Scorecard.

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