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Archive for the ‘Retrenchments’ Category

Getting the sack

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For Australian ad creatives Shane Dawson and Ben Birchall, getting booted from their their company after it lost a key account meant starting a whole new project about their unemployed status.

Armed with a website, The Sack, the two men document their daily lives of the unemployed. Some of the video content include montages of the guys clearing out their desks at work, going for job interviews, and working on their portfolios.

They have even managed to garner a fair bit of media interest in their project – which could certainly help in landing their next job.

As far as creative job searches go, this one definitely comes up tops.

(Via The Pitch)

Written by Human Resources

October 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Retrenchments, Video

Key communication steps to take before restructuring

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A poorly managed restructuring exercise can result in a loss of top performers and sharp decline in morale but here’s what HR can do to avoid this scenario.

In the video below, Dr Ric Roi, senior vice president and Asia Pacific practice leader of Right Management,  shares details on how to carry out an effective step-by-step internal communication plan six months before a restructuring exercise.

For more guidelines on effective communication before any restructuring exercise, click here: Human Resources website

Written by Lee Xieli

June 11, 2009 at 1:49 pm

The next Singapore Idol?

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Have trouble remembering how to keep your company’s employees safely employed during this downturn? Let NTUC Labour Chief Lim Swee Say remind you – in a song!

Filmed at a recent NTUC event, the video which has been seen 3,724 times, has drawn scathing responses on Youtube. Some replies include, “We’re paying them good money for this,” and “Why is it that I cringe when I hear this?”.

But if you ever want to sing along to this Hokkien song cover, the lyrics are:

Upturn the Downturn

In this downturn, workers may feel sad
When its upturn, we will all be glad
Go for help and e2i
Or call union hotline
Cut costs save jobs good for Singapore
With some help from SPUR and also Jobs Credit
U Care Fund and all our SEs
For U, from U
Let us stand in pride and unity
We are pro-workers oi oi
We are pro-business oi oi
Upturn the downturn.

(Via mr brown)

Written by Human Resources

June 1, 2009 at 10:02 am

Posted in Retrenchments, Video

Termination with a heart

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Termination does not have to be violent

An economic downturn is fraught with the perils of retrenchment and job losses. With companies downsizing and restructuring, change is inevitable and often detrimental. While retrenchment stirs up fear and anxiety in employees, managers responsible for delivering the notice may also be traumatised. Is there such a thing as a successful termination? Sattar Bawany, head of transition coaching practice with DBM Asia Pacific, believes so and recommends the following process to ensure a more successful termination.

Prepare the materials

If the termination is performance-related, prepare a written documentation. If it is due to job elimination, explain the rationale. You should prepare all severance information in writing – notification letter, salary continuation/severance period, benefits, outplacement counselling and other information.

Prepare the message

Write out the script you will use during the meeting and the information you need to convey to the remaining employees. It will also be good to list some factual reasons for the termination, keeping everything short and straight-forward.

Arrange the next steps

If necessary, schedule additional meetings for the employee with HR and outplacement. Review what should be done with personal belongings, and specify when the employee says goodbye and leaves the organisation.

Prepare yourself emotionally

Remember that the termination is a business decision and not your personal responsibility. Acknowledge your anxiety and be sensitive to your feelings throughout the process. Also, be prepared to talk about your feelings with the HR professionals or outplacement consultants. To avoid rumours and gossip, do not discuss your plans with colleagues and friends.

Anticipate employee reactions

Try practise dealing with anticipated reactions like anger, shock or denial. The preparation will benefit both yourself and the employee as it provides structure to keep you focused during a difficult meeting.

Termination is never easy, but it can be made better. A successful termination is possible if you are well-prepared, says Bawany.

Written by KT

May 13, 2009 at 10:38 am

Blessing in disguise?

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Recently retrenched? Dont cry, it may be a blessing in disguise.

Recently retrenched? Don't cry, it may be a blessing in disguise.

Can getting retrenched be a blessing in disguise? Yes, says Andrew Taylor, a UK freelance journalist and author of the book Burning the Suit.

In an interview with JobsDB, Taylor talks about how getting the slip proved to be one of the best things for his career.

It was only a little later that I realised what an opportunity it might prove to be. I had been stuck for several years in a job which paid the bills all right, but which had long since ceased to enthuse me, and being eased out of it gave me the impetus I needed to go out and find something more rewarding.

Taylor goes on to cite other examples of people whose sought out to fulfilll their life-long dreams after being retrenched.

Other people looked at the skills they had picked up, and found new ways to use them – like the nurse who used her years of comforting people in the extremes of grief and loss to turn herself into one of very few female funeral directors in the UK, or the television journalist who used his experience of speaking in public to help him forge a new career as an actor.

Without the initial shock of being retrenched, none of these people would have achieved these goals, and their lives would have been less fulfilling because of it.

However, Taylor does admit that people will inevitably suffer from strong feelings such as anger, disbelief, panic and fear, he advices those recently retrenched to take some time in figuring our what the person wants to do next, and not just latch on to any “passing log because you think it will help you stay afloat”.

Another important thing is to sit down and write yourself a list of the things you’ve done. The three A’s – Assignment, Action and Achievement – are what potential employers will want to hear about, and putting them down on paper will not only give you a good start in any interviews that come up, it will help repair your battered confidence as well. What jobs have you been given to do, how have you carried them out, and what did you learn and achieve in doing them?

What do you think? Have you ever been retrenched and found that it helped kickstart your career? Can a retrenchment ever be a good thing?

Written by Human Resources

March 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Don’t push the button just yet!

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If you have managed to survive a lay-off, start acting like a survivor and don’t let your feelings get the best of you. “People who survive difficult experiences and economic times are able to do so because they can imagine a time when things will change for the better,” says Janet Banks, an executive coach in Boston. While it is never easy to keep the ball rolling when your office is undergoing so many changes, here are some suggested ways that may help you start taking charge of your job again.

Throw out negativity. Survivors left behind can easily fall into a state of being sorry for themselves as they go about having to pick up the pieces. Managers look for people they can count on during these times – people who can handle more pressure, easy to work with and are team players. This means that it is essential for you to keep upbeat, looking out for the positive things, rather than to harp on all the negative energy. “You want your manager to see you as having a personality that brings energy rather than zapping energy from the group,” says Banks.

Be sure of new business priorities. Businesses tend to change their direction and priorities of the different projects after a big cut-back. Thus, keep on top of things and find out what is the highest priority at work by checking in with managers who are one or two levels above you, says Mark Phelps, a senior consultant at Development Dimensions International. Always check and make sure that you know exactly what is expected out of you, especially when taking over the work of a former colleague.

Establish yourself as a team player. Layoffs usually calls for more collaboration between the remaining staff as departments will be merged and responsibilities end up being shared. Instead of complaining and getting upset over how your tasks are now blurred, use this chance to built up ties and get to know your new team members better. This will help facilitate the different ways you can get work done with fewer people around.


Perhaps it would be helpful for you to read Burning the Suit by Andrew Taylor for a different take on retrenchment. Taylor’s experience will make you feel thankful that you’re the one having to do the clean-up, rather than being thrown out. Instead of fighting back against the redundancy of not being needed by the company anymore, fight back against the desire to hold the company responsible for all the guilt and uncertainty that you are feeling after a wave of layoffs.

Written by nasirah

February 18, 2009 at 1:24 pm

A lose-lose situation

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We have heard many horror stories about companies ruthlessly chopping off their workforce by the thousands. While we are all so caught up sympathizing with the plight of these displaced workers, it is easy to overlook the impact that this recession has on the employees who are left behind to pick up the pieces from where their ex-colleagues left off.

People assume that the ones who are still with jobs are the luckier of the lot. Of course it is a valid assumption to make. Isn’t it better to still have a steady income that will help you tide through this awful downturn?

Not necessarily so.

As reported in Time, employees who are left behind often have to dealing with guilt that it wasn’t them who was laid off, anxiety that they might be next, exhaustion from the extra work they must take on and even envy of those who get to leave such a depressing environment.

Says a market researcher in New York City who recently watched an entire division of her company be cast off,

“It’s depressing. You walk into the office and it’s quiet, the entire atmosphere is different. When someone gets promoted you want to say, ‘That’s great,’ but then you realize they got the job because the two other people in that group got laid off; this person was cheaper. You start feeling evil. People say at least you have a job, you should be grateful. Well, I’m not sure how happy I am. And then I feel selfish about that.”

It seems to me that the economic climate today has spared no one – regardless of whether there is a job or not. Everybody is just as mentally, emotionally and physically drained as the next employee.

So who’s got it worse, really? Having no job at all? Or having too much work all at once from taking over an ex-colleague’s workload?


Written by nasirah

February 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

New kids on the blog

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A couple of local blogs have sprouted up on the internet recently that revolve around surviving this economic downturn.

With a tagline that says, ‘Keeping track of global and Singapore layoffs and cost cutting measures’, the  Singapore Retrenchment Blog is all about, you guessed it, retrenchment news. Not something you would want to read if you’re down and depressed, though.

The other website,  Transitioning, recently got its day in the sun when it was featured in The New Paper.  Started by two guys who were previously laid off, the site hopes to “form a support group through the site, offer online counselling to those going through difficult times, and eventually get employers to publicise job openings online.”

Written by Human Resources

February 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Sombering statistics

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In what seems to be the scariest and sombering statistics ever, The International Labour Organization recently said that 51 million jobs may be lost worldwide due to the recession this year, pushing the world’s unemployment rate to 7.1% by December 2009.

“Many governments are aware and acting, but more decisive and coordinated international action is needed to avert a global social recession,” says ILO’s director-general, Juan Somavia via BBC.

Asia happens to have the world’s lowest unemployment rate, with East Asia capping at 3.8%. That was followed by South Asia (5.4%) and Southeast Asia & the Pacific (5.7%). North Africa and the Middle East, on the other hand had the highest unemployment rates at the end of 2008, of 10.3% and 9.4% respectively. 

However, it seems as though the second wave of layoffs have already started, as coffee empire Starbucks announced that it would close 300 stores and lay off up to 6,700 jobs worldwide due to a “weakening global consumer environment”. While these recent announcements were “extremely difficult decisions”, explains a Starbucks Singapore spokesperson, the coffee chain hopes “these necessary actions will sustain the organisation and reduce the need for additional workforce reductions” in its goal of preserving long-term viability.

However, the impact to local Starbucks stores and employees is unclear just yet. She adds, “Though there may be some local impact based on these announcements, we do not have specific details to share at this time.”

Written by nasirah

January 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Posted in Retrenchments

Gossip: Which company committed a retrenchment boo-boo recently?

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Blind item: Which company recently made a big boo-boo by conducting its mass retrenchment exercise auditorium-style?

Now we all know retrenchment exercises are never pleasant for the people involved. But if companies have to lay people off in a bid to keep itself afloat during this economic downturn, the least they can do is show some compassion to their soon-to-be former employees.

Yes, The Snitch understands giving pink slips to over 200 people might take a while. But telling these employees to report straight to the auditorium the minute they reach the company’s guardhouse in the morning just so you can save time? Shame on you.

Heard of any other retrenchment horrors lately? Have a rant in the comments below.

Written by Lee Xieli

January 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Retrenchments