I’ve always been a “rip the Bandaid off all at once” kind of guy, so the latest from Redmond strikes me as a bad move:
Microsoft yesterday said it could take as long as a year to lay off the 18,000 workers who will be eventually shown the door, a long, drawn-out morale-busting process that was criticized by both labor experts and industry analysts.
“I’m definitely not a fan,” Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, and like many at the Kirkland, Wash. research firm a former Microsoft employee, said of the lengthy process. “You owe it to your long-term Nokia and Microsoft employees to do it as quickly as possible. You also owe it to yourself to do it as cleanly and quickly as possible. The longer it drones on, the more randomized people get.”
There are some simple rules for keeping a happy ship. One is to praise your people in public, and to scold them in private. Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer were both pretty bad at this, if by “pretty bad” you mean “terrible.” Another is that when you have to let people go, let them go ASAP so that the survivors can stop worrying and get back to work.
What the hell is Satya Nadella thinking? It’s clear he has a major restructuring in mind, but stretching out the layoffs like this indicates that it isn’t ready for implementation yet. It makes no sense to me to make this a drawn-out two-step. Cuts, but over the next six-to-twelve months. Restructuring, but not yet.
Or as a better writer once wrote, “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly.”