I spoke with Kath Walters yesterday from Leading Company in relation to the retrenchments at Toyota. Kath has written a great piece ‘Eight leadership challenges facing Toyota’ in which I am referenced. I am keen to add further points to this article and clarify my views.
Yes, the reality is that retrenchments (the role is made redundant, the person is retrenched) are part of work life for everyone and have been for 10 plus years now. Nor is it unusual for most of us to expect to be retrenched multiple times in our careers.
As the Leading Company article highlights, the key is for organisations to manage the process in the most dignified manner possible, adhering to best practise, which unfortunately does not always occur.
When we join an employer, we engage in a contract with each party agreeing to uphold their end of the bargain. I don’t advocate employers unfairly treating employees, nor do I advocate employees taking advantage of their employers. While the majority of employers and employees do the right thing, there are always those that play by their own rules!
In the instance of Toyota, it was a mixture of both the company not performing, resulting in them assessing staff who had low performance ratings. It is likely that those low performing staff were doing so for a variety of reasons – from not being in the right work environment, the right job or just not being engaged due to their own personal reasons. One would hope that Toyota took the steps to address and assist them, before making decision to go down the redundancy path.
I certainly wish that those who lost their jobs with Toyota receive great outplacement support and go on to find rewarding jobs and careers.