Monday, May 11, 2009

200 Bluntly RiF'd in India last week

SMSG India and MSIT India got impacted big time, 50/500 & 150/1200 are the laid off employee numbers from both these orgs respectively. Surprising that all the high level leaders get to keep their jobs.

For those whoever got affected by the brutal layoffs starting 6th may to 11th may, our sympathies and prayers are with you and your family. We’re confident that you’re much more capable than those of us who got chance to remain back, only thing it is about the luck and manager whom you reported to since our company really did not adapted any strategy to cut in an efficient manner.

Got all the information for previous post and this post by interviewing 5 of the impacted people over phone, IM, mail and home visit ( 4 MS IT, 1 SMSG; 2 of them came voluntarily sharing their story so that future junta can get ready for further rounds).

As mini-msft-india, I’m not so much convinced because this exercise has happened without any due diligence. Everyone including Gold stars to Rock stars are gone, Tenure at Microsoft didn’t matter, performance didn’t matter, only thing is how well we have created rapport with our manager matters. We are not buying the 'position essentiality matters' for deciding about the elimination of position.

Mediocre to low performers got chance to stay back because they were good in sticking to management a$$ $ucking. Tons of middle management (62-65, Senior/lead, Principal) and upper management (PUM, Director, GM) were not touched and remaining intact.
Since none of the leader’s position are cut owning the accountability behind the MSIT & SMSG India failure, this exercise became an mere eye wash to show case it to wall street and our quirky large investors that we’re making efforts to contain cost.
Board of Directors- Are you guys alive and watching this space?
We had so much confidence on Board of Directors like Dina Dublon and on Bill Gates that they will guide the company in making right decision at this exercise. But ?

Finally we ended up cutting people based on whoever is on manager God’s peril zone without considering any metrics behind it.
Any methodology we have adapted to find out ‘how the position becomes non crucial”
We were hearing instances from the impacted ones that their teams have retained their Redmond counterparts who were not even coming up to achieved/70% mark in previous cycles and not even doing any role, leave the crucial part.

My take after seeing this first official round of layoffs here in India and interacted with many impacted known ones, it seems like taking the usual empowerment this Godly Microsoft Machine has given to it’s so called usual Gods (people managers), innocent people who don’t have loud voice and don’t crap often to their teams with their nonsense mails were hit as targets despite their importance.

Also it seems like in this 2nd round of restructuring, MS wanted to please the senators and made its targets across globe, not much in Redmond.

Now coming back to the ‘employee experience’ on the D day, employees were pinged/ phoned by their manager or skip level manager along with a HR manager or HR business partner. Then during the short meeting 15-30 mins, the manager reads out the readymade script "position elimination, economy, etc blah" story.
Employees are directed to write a 'voluntary' (No pun) resignation letter and then an pre prepared letter accepting that resignation is given in the form of "Acceptance of Resignation and Terms of Disengagement".

I’m leaving it everyone of you about the ethical values what our company is preaching to it’s employees and following other hand in real time.
1. To safeguard from local Indian labour department and it’s fleecing officials to avoid legal actions and controversies, HR and managers were forcing employees to write resignation letters threatening that their future employment with other companies will be spoiled in case if they are not signing it that day. Is it right ethically to threaten the employees those who put their heart and soul for the company?
2. How much dump the local management guys(raviv, nvedula, tonysco, monkey boy,etc) are ?
You’re making 200+ layoffs across India and show casing it as just ‘resignations’ to save the company’s a$$hole and save more paise to please the local masters. Show us the example where employees have such mass resignations in the recent past history of corporate India…
3. Why only base salary as severance? Who came up with this figure? You’re spoiling the smooth financial flow of an employee and his family. Better give a decent severance without stringent constraints and bid farewell in a decent note so that the employee will go and serve as our ambassador still ( check with Intel HR how to execute this , they have done it in a decent way)
4. Why revoking employee access card, technically you’re showing them as “resigned from service“ and they’ve time till the notice period ends. You should provide access to all the facilities to them until their last day as like rest of the benefits.
Don’t worry about morale of the team getting spoiled, kicking someone who’s long enough in the team on the same day without even access cards create hell lot of panic among us than allowing them to talk to us for few more weeks. We’re more concerned about them staying intact with their morale during this tough period of their career transition.
5. Don’t hide, be transparent like big brother IBM. When you try to hide the apple, we are going to deeper extent to connect those who got impacted sympathizing and knowing what has happened in more detailed manner.
6. What harm they will create by getting a decent treatment for few more weeks before they sign off ?

Better solution for the future ‘lean-mean’ exercise is,
Ø Do it diligently and uniformly. Treat the employees as your employees until their last day.
Ø Do not act smart tightening the severance ( only base pay, 1 month /year of tenure etc) what you’re paying, you’ll become “penny wise pound foolish” then.
Ø Co-ordinate all your internal recruitments across the country providing opportunity for the impacted ones first( 1 group in MS IDC hired madly 30 employees/week until last week to get some 150 on board, despite we were firing most eligible ones who can go and fit in there)
Ø Follow a process across the board to identify individuals
o managers are not only Gods who can decide about the employee’s necessity in the team( peers, partner teams, customers, senior management, cross groups, etc)
o put more checks in place
o get more GM, VP level reviews as like promotion, fiscal performance reviews,
o no popularity contest methodology ( we see lot of LOUD people got chance to stay back)

Have roped in couple of different people for next 2 posts, each will come in 2 weeks interval. It will be guest posts by some impacted employee sharing the family side of impacts and one HR managment employee sharing their (mental, physical) pain exercising this.

Tips to MS IDC at this important juncture- Kindly keep watching your backs. Please no hydchat, no games, no pool table, no late night parties, no 11 am show ups . Do this just to save your a$$es, keep writing daily reports to manager keeping informed what’s happening with you. Q4 earnings call is going to can another 300 people in MS IDC. The Lion has tasted the blood now finally and it'll continue to do so for each step of wall street starting here...
Hope atleast we'll try to give a real shot of doing the lean&mean from both ways top to bottom and bottm to top next time when we try this at MS IDC. Stay tuned until post Q4 earnings results on July'23...

Lean&Mean, but DO IT RIGHT !!!

latest update : After finishing the last lay off today on May 11( some of the planned heads were on vacation it seems), latest mail sent by MS India Chairman Ravi Venkatesan thanked everyone in MS India(particulalry HR org coming through out India together in this common crappy exercise) for their support performing this exercise and bluffed saying that MS will continue invest in India. LOL, fire yesterday, hire today
This man who does not have a single clue about how much the grass roots are frustrated needs some coaching for sure.

Mon(k)ey Boy Ballmer meeting all employees tomorrow 13 May Noon in Hyd Campus
People have volley of questions about their future in stake. Some daring guys are planning to ask about Steve's last day plans with Microsoft and it's due date.


  1. "Some daring guys are planning to ask about Steve's last day plans with Microsoft and it's due date."

    Advise if they do. I'd like to hear the answer to that one.

  2. shocking .. news says its just 1% , why are they faking this .. microsoft needs to give explanation, they are cheating govt, by showing highly fudged figures. I guess the layoff was 5% or more isnt it. (last week , last to last week .. maybe in future too), wondering what this 1% figure meant.

  3. I do not work for Microsoft India but after hearing about the impotent leadership for years what did you really expect? That they would grow balls of steel at this juncture?

  4. So how many people in India got cut? Any director or GM?

  5. Final exact number is 65, unofficial kicked out people are more.
    Seems like almost all of them are innocent good performers belong to wrong soaring business groups who dont have muscle to play politics to influence their Redmond business

  6. 5-10 Senior Principals are also gone in MSIT, MGSI. No GM/Director is taking accountability and gone on their own until now for their wrong way of making various wrong business decisions.
    Some of them wrote their sad stories to me @ after digging my profile in depth, will try to publish after appropriate censoring. Very stingy to hear about the nasty side of organizational politics.

  7. What Microsoft Doesn't Want You to Know

    The Secrets Behind Windows 7

    Maybe you will want to care and be concerned about your Microsoft market? This report is getting around the net.

  8. I got laid off on 6th May From Gurgaon office. Internal positions offered were a mere eyewash. Was escorted out by the group manager as if a jail convict.Been more than a month,jobless with a gloomy future.Have to return the company assets soon to get the so called "good severance package" ,lost my job still paying 30% Tax to the government who doesn't even care to know what happened to me.I extend my sympathies to my fellow brethren who went through the same. God Bless all..All the best !!

  9. Very exciting news, because my stock value and profits up. Surely India's own customers will provide all required investment and business opportunity to keep IDC healthy. All the best!!

  10. Anyone hear of the next wave of Lay offs in mid Nov? Will India be Impacted?

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