Painful writing coming out of the Harvard Business Review yesterday. Walter Kiechel blogs that companies that laid off a ton of their staff are maybe not going to hire so many people back.
“My clients,” said a consultant to Kiechel, “were amazed by how much productivity they could squeeze out of their people in the downturn. In fact, the CEOs are mad at their middle managers for not having eliminated more jobs earlier.”
Kiechel adds: “For about five years now, particularly after dinners that featured wine, human-resources executives have been telling me, “We’ve come to realize we don’t really want most employees for the whole of their careers. We want their particular set of skills when we need them but then things change so fast, we don’t need that particular skill set any more.”
Enter the temp, the contractor, the freelancer.
Savvy employers, he says, are keeping in touch with former employees to “lure them back” when they’re again needed. Fine.
But we’re not digging this “less is more” approach. You can’t just keep asking more and more from the fewer and fewer workers you have. They all worked their butts off during the recession because they were terrified of losing their jobs. Now that the economy’s picking up and they have options, they’ll use them.