Webster Industries

After all the employees have been through this past year, with round one of layoffs equaling 12K at the beginning of the year, round two seems to be coming.   Bob Cater has been put in charge of these layoffs and after reading the case, it doesn’t look promising.  
The time frame for these layoffs was not disclosed but given the urgency of the meetings and tight secrecy behind those meetings it stands to reason that the layoffs will be implemented within the next few weeks, possibly sooner. It is said that the problem behind the recent layoffs is the steady decline in earnings during the previous year. It is unclear as to whether or not this second round of layoffs will be affective if they were in fact implemented. With the layoffs the might be taking place certain guidelines would be followed:
• No one with over 20 years of Webster service and 50 years of age should be terminated without a review by the president.
• Since the last reduction had affected primarily hourly and weekly workers, the next possible go around would focus on managerial levels.
• Seniority would not be a major determining factor as to who would be separated.
• Early retirement would not be relied on as a mechanism for meeting reduction targets.
• Blacks, women, and other minorities would not be terminated more aggressively than other employees.

With these guidelines it is difficult to speculate just how the layoffs will be implemented and who will be let go. It is believed that the voluntary performance appraisals and the personnel audits would play a role in the decision making process. This would be a difficult task considering the voluntary nature of the performance appraisal systems and the subjectivity of the personnel audits.
Taking in these criteria there are several weaknesses in the way Cater is going about these layoffs.   One factor is the usage of the performance appraisal (PAS) at Webster.   Carter admitted that he had not gotten...