Thursday, December 13, 2012

They Oughta Have Heart

Absurd Supreme Court rulings notwithstanding, few would believe big corporations have all the attributes of people. For one thing, people have hearts. Big corporations don’t these days, if they ever did.  Pfizer, the biggest drug provider in the world proved it once again this holiday season.

Pfizer announced on Dec. 5 that it will cut its primary-care sales force. The corporation did not specify how many people will lose their jobs, or at which locations the cuts will be made. It would be hard to design an announcement to induce more stress in employees and have a more negative effect on productivity if one had those goals in mind. Thousands now are sitting and wondering, “Will it be me?”

The doomed workers won’t have to stew for long, however. The company said it will notify affected employees of their job termination on Dec. 20. What a Christmas present!

Apparently not employee lives
Couldn’t this affair have been handled in a more sensitive way? A simple delay of the whole thing until after the holidays would have been better. And a public announcement the same day the notices were delivered probably would have been less stressful for those involved. Perhaps the dolts who planned the timing could do something positive and hand themselves a termination notice.

But than, the whole affair smells like a year-end stock manipulation. The news was "leaked" to Dow Jones. Nevertheless, if a stock price uptick is the goal the result still shows a lack of sensitivity toward employees.

According to my local newspaper, Pfizer has reduced its workforce by about 50,000 people since 2005. Despite this indication of long-time poor management, the company continues to reward its top executives with huge multimillion-dollar compensation packages.

Maybe those managers could do the company a favor by taking early retirements. That would free lots of salary money that could be used to retain employees who make positive contributions to the corporation. That would show some real heart.


Big John said...

Last year Pfizer closed the UK plant near to where I live. 2,500 people lost their jobs, not to mention others who depended on getting business from such a large site. I doubt if the area will ever fully recover.

PiedType said...

Year-end firings must somehow relate to the business calendar, but beats me how, since it's not the end of the fiscal year.

As for cruelty, I've often wondered which is worse, firing someone just before Christmas and ruining their holiday (but possibly keeping them from incurring some holiday expenses), or firing them after they've had a lovely Christmas but have also incurred all the debts of Christmas.

As for how pharmaceutical companies do business ... don't get me started.

Dick Klade said...

There really is no good time to lose a job, but, unless they decide to forgo the season altogether, by Dec. 20 the employees probably will have their Christmas shopping done.

Also, right around Christmas is one of the worst times of the year to be seeking professional employment. Getting a fresh start early in a new year would seem preferable.

So I'll stick with the idea that letting the condemned employees have a merry Christmas would be better than ensuring it will be dreadful.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

David just had a discussion with our pharmacy owing to drug costs. He bought the medicine at one drug store for $22 and then found it at our local store (a large chain) but they charged him almost four times as much. Our doc says he can prescribe a generic drug at much less the cost.

As for workers let go before Chistmas, how awful. Must be owing to personel expenses associated with 2013. Could it be Obamacare? Dianne

Tom Sightings said...

We all realize that sometimes companies have to make difficult changes and lay off employees. But as you say, do they have to be so brutal about it? And how can these execs. look themselves in the mirror when they reward themselves so lavishly for their own failures? They're supposed to be accountable to Boards of Directors and shareholders; but the system seems to have broken down.

Kay said...

I agree. That's awfully heartless, but t's what I've been expecting of these companies now.