By on March 13, 2019

Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy/TTAC

Yesterday, our man Steph Willems chronicled the details of a memo obtained by The Detroit News in which Ford brass promised 2019 will be a pivotal year for the company. Amongst the revelations, CEO Jim Hackett said a job cull is the price it must pay for adding so many new employees after the recession.

That was confirmed today, with news that some salaried workers in departments such as accounting and human resources will get their walking papers later this year.

According to the Detroit Free Press, a few folks in admin support roles at the Glass House are also set to be pushed out the door. Pressed for details, Ford reps said they are “not going to provide any numbers,” before adding that this right-sizing of the company will result in a more dynamic and empowered workforce. Anyone who’s been laid off or made redundant (or left behind after the cull) knows the potential danger behind those words.

It must make for a stressful time at Ford, as it is often harmful to production and morale when the employee base knows job cuts are coming down the pipe. When all hands are fearful for their jobs, huddling around the water cooler and casting nervous glances over the cubicle farm walls, it tends to create a tense atmosphere. John McElroy, a talking head who knows more than a thing or two about the industry, opined that Ford would be well-advised to just rip the Band-Aid off and get it over with. The man has a point.

Hackett acknowledged this anxiety during an interview with Freep last month. From the exchange:

“I think it’s totally fair,” he said. “My mind wants to say, ‘Is that because of the anxiety of the restructuring? They’re holding onto the ambiguity, saying, ‘I don’t know my status.’ That is really unfair to our people to have to go through that. There’s a trade, see. You end up with a lot better process from end to end if you involve the people actually in the design of what we’re doing. When CEOs edict that we’re just taking out x thousands of people, like you’re mowing the lawn, it makes everyone feel like inanimate objects. Bill (Ford) and I care a lot more than that.”

Those people with the anvil over their heads will have a bit longer to wait. All signs point to a mid-2019 date before the extent of these cuts are revealed.

[Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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13 Comments on “Ford Axing More White Collar Workers In Company Overhaul...”

  • avatar

    Bean counters and HR getting canned.
    When was at GM, HR didnt do a whole lot, but were ALWAYS rated as Top Performers. (and getting the higher pay hike.)
    Us chumps banging the iron and knocking heads and fixing real hard problems got peanuts.
    Bean counters? My ex wife was a GM bean counter.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I got my share of plant closings and layoffs from both Dana and GM, 5 different plants total, now after 40+ years I get to sit back and read about others going through what I had to. That’s the cyclical unemployment of the auto industry, like it or leave it, or should I say get forced to leave it! ;-(

  • avatar

    HR and accounting? No loss, maybe even an improvement. Just don’t cut back on engineering. Production workers should match best estimates of near term demand.

    • 0 avatar

      I used to think so, but after the last bloodletting (in HR and accounting) at my workplace, a lot of survivors ended up not getting paid and a bunch of new hires didn’t get signed up for benefits. Who knew? Maybe HR and accounting did something after all. Who knew?

  • avatar

    What is Ford asking its workers?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Was this memo in pink? Seems pink would be the appropriate color.

  • avatar

    In Silicon Valley it is done often, normally Friday morning and takes couple of hours and thats it – you can stay and work the rest of day and all others are invited to the meeting where they are assured by management that they are safe (for now) and can return back to work and work harder than before.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      No man, in technology you show up and can’t log into anything. Then you get informed and escorted out. No way in Hades you have access to anything after you’ve been notified that your services are no longer required. That is a great way to get screwed as a company.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s the way it is where I work. I could put a serious hurt on about a hundred or so financial institutions in about an hour from the comfort of my computer screen. That time would include writing a program from scratch to do it. Now, if you leave for another job and you aren’t a dink usually you can shut down whatever you are doing with a 2 week notice over those 2 weeks.

        We have an operations dept. Last fall they let 5-6 people go , mid morning, non-persons. You don’t even get to tell the person you are sorry about what happened. You are told after it happened.

        I.T. gets the Looney Tunes Treatment

        “A Mutt in a Rut” – Elmer Fudd cartoon

        A dog show is on TV and Elmers dog is watching.
        The guy says you know your master is going to off you when he takes you
        hunting: “Two go out, but only one comes back!”

        • 0 avatar

          I had to do this working in IT at a non-profit. The CFO and an executive were let go.

          Of course I was told to disable their network access and not say anything to anyone.

          Meanwhile, their staff were wondering where their bosses were for several hours until they were finally told. It was quit a poop-show.

        • 0 avatar

          “which way did they go, which way did they go? they went for F A Y G O ……” ( the Faygo kid,Detroit)

      • 0 avatar

        Art, close, but far too often it works this way.

        – Can’t log in.
        – Call the help desk
        – Help desk says your account is actively disabled, they don’t know why, and you should speak with your manager
        – Your manager is out that day
        – You insist in speaking with the help desk manager
        – Help desk manager tries to pass you to HR, but you won’t let him
        – Poor help desk manager gets to be the one to let you know you’re out of a job

        Seen it far too many times.

      • 0 avatar

        I was laid off twice in Valley and in both cases I had full access to servers until the next day. I even could and did connect from home even to lab servers. There was no bad feeling between us – it was business not personal. by same token many people including key employees left company for greener pastures with no problems from company’s side – usually even had farewell parties in restaurant or cafeteria. And they continued to have access to company’s network for about week or so after they officially finished.

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