Are redundancies ‘a normal part of business’?

Published on : Monday, June 30, 2014

HBAA-300x108HBAA members Grass Roots Meetings & Events’ MD Des Mclaughlin has argued that redundancies are ‘healthy for business’ and criticised the events industry for too often letting performance drift.


In the latest issue of M&IT magazine, Mclaughlin said: “A lot has been written in our trade press about redundancies of late, much of it in connection with Grass Roots. I recognise that these stories have news value, but am I wrong in thinking that in our industry we treat them with a little more shock and horror than in many others? It’s about time we acknowledged that a) occasional redundancies are a normal part of business life, b) labour turnover is healthy for business and c) redundancy can be liberating for those affected rather than the end of their world.


“No one bats an eyelid when the bankers have a good clear out. Other strong client sectors such as pharma, telco and automotive also enjoy a spring clean and actively manage their labour turnover.” He cited Jack Welch, the former chief executive of General Electric, who was famous for saying that every year the bottom 10 per cent of his organisation needed to be replaced.


“Generally speaking, it seems to me that as an industry we are loath to take action in the face of low productivity. We let performance drift, accepting all too easily excuses relating to market conditions. Our failure to tackle poor performance then makes it more difficult to reward and promote talent. And if we don’t do this properly, we suddenly realise we do have a 10 per cent labour turnover. The only problem is that the 10 per cent who are leaving are from the top quartile of producers.


“When all the emotion has subsided, I genuinely believe that for many people redundancy can be the jolt they need to find a better place. Meanwhile the business has the chance to reorganise, promote and train for the future.”




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