Enough With the Corporate Deforestation Already!

Are corporate lay-offs really the answer? And will we ever be able to grow the talent we need again, as we move into the recovery?

A day doesn’t go by without another company announcing a major layoff. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing about the destruction that has taken place, which has changed the landscape of the workplace forever. We know that destroying our natural resources can be devastating to the planet. But what about the impact these layoffs are having on another valuable resource – our people?


I understand the need for corporate pruning, as sometimes growth gets out of hand. Occasionally, you have to cut back some branches so that you can increase the vigor and health of an organization. But what I’m seeing happening in corporate America goes much further. Companies are taking out large chunks of the workforce and they aren’t planting any saplings to replace these resources, which they will need as demand rises again.

We have to start looking at how this is impacting our society. Newly minted graduates, many with school loans equal to some people’s mortgages, are working in minimum wage jobs. That is, if they are lucky enough to land one of these prized positions. Gen Y and Gen X workers are feeling trapped in their current roles because those darn Baby Boomers are hanging onto their jobs like they used to hang onto their prized Led Zeppelin albums. And of course there are the millions of workers who are one unemployment check away from losing their homes.

I suggest that we put a moratorium on layoffs. Who knows, maybe if we do so, companies will start to flourish as workers can focus on their productivity, rather than waiting for the bulldozer to come through to clear them out.


Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Human Resource Solutions

Author of the forthcoming book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Suceeding all Around


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About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders