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Five ways to lose your employees during a crisis


If you want to fire staff you have to go through the courts, a costly process, and a judge may deny your request altogether. Z24 has compiled a list of 5 ways (Dutch) that modern, mid-sized to large companies use to ditch their workers.

The idea behind the list is that in this time of crisis, the courts will at least grant you a permit for some dismissals. The courts will have to follow certain methods to compile this list, which basically comes down to maintaining a certain diversity of age within all levels of the company. Employers that want to keep only the eager-beaver young workers, or the workers that contribute the most, may feel compelled to game the system in order to trim the fat.

Z24’s list:

  1. Promote favourite employees to other functions
  2. Create a new department, discontinue the old, and let the workers of the latter apply for jobs in the former
  3. Have a few, quick evaluation rounds; trump up charges of bad functioning in the first, conclude that the worker isn’t willing to improve in the second
  4. Give certain employees only boring tasks, and hope they’ll leave by themselves
  5. Promote creeps to become the bosses of the ones you want to get rid of; again hope the latter will leave by themselves

Another method that used to be popular was to rely on the lack of familiarity most employees have with the law by simply stating to an employee that they were fired. This happened to my mother once in the 1960s: her boss told her she was fired, and that she had to pack her stuff and leave. When it came to a court case, the boss denied ever having said anything of that nature, and since there were no witnesses of the dismissal, but plenty to the ensuing ‘dereliction of duty,’ the court could do little else than to allow the company to fire my mother.

I don’t know why this latter method isn’t more popular, although I’d venture to guess it’s because it might backfire so easily. You can fool the first employee, but not the next few hundred, which makes it a method larger companies would be unlikely to use.

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