So, tomorrow is the last day for one of the guys I work with. Since December, our group has lost 43% of our original staff. December, you may recall, is when our group underwent a pretty massive reorganization. I posted stuff about it back in January and February.
Since I have a pretty good idea that not only do my peers read this, but the occasional management person, this normally would be a good place to vent. However, doing a quick search at Google for "Fired for blog" returned over 2100 entries, which blunted my actual desire to beat the hell out of my company in this forum. Take a look at Dooce.com and you'll understand.
Nonetheless, I will offer my opinion on the situation, and let the chips fall where they may.
1. There seems to be a general "they don't give a rats ass" attitude amongst the staff. What I mean by that is when someone quits, it doesn't seem like the people in charge do all that they can do to retain them. Granted, some situations, like the guy who is leaving on Friday, are just un-addressable (is that a word?). But there are plenty of times when if they'd just clue in early, the person could be saved.
2. When 43% of the people who worked for you 10 months ago have left, you'd think that most groups would be damn near in a panic, unless of course you want to root out all the people who worked for the earlier group, in order to replace them with a crew of 'yes-men'.
3. When 43% of the people who worked for you 10 months ago have left, you'd think that raises for the remaining walking wounded would be significant. But, according to the few people I've talked to, they're average, at best. I don't know the exact figures, as that would probably be grounds for me to get canned, but the folks that have volunteered the information around me, have stated that they've had better. And contrary to the rumor which circulated even amongst partners/senior staff, I don't have a spreadsheet of everyones raises and bonuses. I just have a good feel as to what many of them were, and some people actually shared theirs with me because they feel comfortable talking to me about their concerns and problems and I listen. Perhaps if management would like to save some people from leaving, they should try that tack. Listening.
4. Overall, I think the reason why we've lost so many technically strong people is because the challenges aren't there any longer. How exactly is filling out a worksheet with X's in the appropriate box challenging? Ok, I guess the challenge there is to keep from falling asleep, or to see what kinds of cool pictures you can make with the x's, but from a brain-stimulation standpoint, there's not much. Our former leader was constantly challenging us to come up with new ideas and motivating us to charge forward with technical thought leadership. Our current leadership doesn't seem to really see the importance, or if they do, they're more concerned with billable hours than innovation.
5. The company I work for, overall is a good company to work for, as companies go. The job is ok, could be better, but certainly could be a lot worse. However, it is just that. A job. Not a career, and that's what I'm afraid that many of my co-workers are feeling also. The former management made you feel like you were a member of a team, and that the loss of one person was a hit to the entire team. The current leadership seems to just want ignore that they left, and not replace them and act like it's just another day. Not only have we lost a ton of great people but we can't seem to hire new people to replace them. I'm not sure whether that's due to effort on our part or a function of the job market, but either way, we're doing a huge amount of work, with 43% fewer people.