Thread regarding SAP layoffs

HR Issues

The way how SAP HR is managing the layoff process here in the US is just bad - it's substandard and it's borderline unprofessional. The communication is lacking, the journey is fuzzy and the rumors swirling in the office are mind boggling. I am reading comments here on layoffs.com and I can tell you that the stuff I hear in the office is worse than the rumor mill we see on these pages. So, what did HR to to stem this, to provide comfort and guidance to the worker?

Frankly, the entire layoff should have been completed in a week, tops. Do it quickly, rip off the band aid and move on. We are all professionals and adults here, we understand that things like this sometimes have to happen and in order to run a business you need to both hire and fire. Yet, what I cannot accept is the sheer sloppiness, lack of planning, change management and communication. It's just bad and the HR leadership together with the entire executive line up should be ashamed.

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz

10 replies (most recent on top)

People think HR is bad at doing layoffs when the reality is it's just the opposite. There are smaller, more controlled layoffs all the time. When SAP can't hide it due to scale (e.g. requirements under the WARN Act or other US state laws supplementing it), you get numbers, but they try to obfuscate the impact so you don't know. People in divisions who were laid off generally feel that this is a sign that their area is "dead" and don't want to share the knowledge; people who were laid off on teams where most of the team survived don't want to admit that out of fear as being seen as being the "weakest link".

HR does this on purpose, they do it so that people (particularly reporting to a manager with many people under them) don't necessarily notice the true impact of the layoff, they do it to try to contain overall morale, they do it so parties both within SAP and outside SAP have more difficulty in understanding the strategy behind the layoffs. When it's opaque, it's hard to tell if it targeted anyone (e.g. years or wage) or if it showed that, despite public statements, SAP was cutting investment in an area (so existing customers don't bail or get worried).

They do the layoffs in the least emotional most robotlike fashion so they can say they told you of everything that was required and there's as few grounds as possible for a lawsuit. They read from a script, everything is checkboxes. They (managers) book the meeting with you and the HRBP separately so you don't know what to expect coming in and they'll book them as private appointments in outlook to hide what they are. They will generally refuse to ask any questions of substance you have (e.g. why was my position eliminated and not the 10+ other people on the team doing the same job; how many people were eliminated in the division; why will 6+ colleagues per quarter continue to come from overseas on rotation where they are paid original (lower) foreign salary if the area was no longer relevant).

The cited examples by @Y5SrKGz-2wux - either bug on the windshield in terms of corporate strategy and the guillotine coming down (whole team is cut), or a way to remove a more costly employee to replace them with someone younger and/or lower salary. That employee at the funeral home? Maybe they're in california where the law is 60 days minimum under WARN act. Want them out the door as soon as possible and don't want any lawsuits that some employees got more of a head start on open jobs then others because they were notified first. Orgchart changes from HR perspective (all relevant internal systems) occur on the 15th or the 1st so we have to get it out before we have to add another 1-14 days to that!

They give lip service about how employees can upskill into new jobs. The reality is if their skillset matches and someone wants them badly enough, you get an interview. Most employees especially in the heavily cut areas won't, because the replacement jobs to match their skillset will not exist locally, because SAP eliminated the teams wholesale. Especially when the end point of the layoff is to make up for a licensing/sales shortfall and cut costs in the wake of an overpriced acqisuituion (Qualtrics).

SAP HR is not bad at doing layoffs. They are exceedingly good at it, to the point of minimizing SAP's legal liability, appearing as blameless as possible to non-internal parties who weren't directly impacted, looking good in the public face (it's a fitness exercise! it's transformation!) if it has to be publicly visible, and disassociating the managers and the HRBP from the person with pre-made scripts and minimizing human interaction.

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-dpyw

Bump

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-dtgb

I could have told you that all the HRBPs are useless bots years ago ... They don't provide any support to the employees they are responsible for. Instead, they are busy accepting Best Employer awards from different sources. When they are not busy accepting awards and attending high profile HR conferences to promote SAP's brand, they spend all their time working on useless programs and initiatives while dedicated employees are getting cut left and right. All the HR teams are well protected and are not affected by any of the layoffs. They are also getting some sweet promotions - how the hell can you be promoted from a HR BP to a Director of HR within 2 years? Some individuals are getting transferred and promoted to another location - must be nice when teams are worried about getting eliminated. They should all be ashamed of themselves while they watch their fellow colleagues getting laid off and they are not doing anything to help them. If they are not doing their job, they should be the first ones to get cut!!!

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-bcwj

HRBP’s should be ashamed of themselves.

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-2mvt

HR has handled this so poorly. Case in point: an emploee on leave to bury a parent laid off while sitting at the funeral home (yes, said employee asked to reschedule the meeting and told HR why), an employee promoted 3 weeks before has their job eliminated (this planning was well underway when they promoted this person!), an employee who offers to relocate at personal expense to the collocation office and is told if they do, they’ll need to reapply for their job anyways (high performing, well rewarded employee). These are 3 of any number of stories like this. The employees deserved better.

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-2wux

HR will be replaced by AI chat bots soon and that will save tons of money for the business. So are managers.

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-2nxw

From Asia here. Our HRBP is just the management dog for execution. They don’t make any stand for employees, and Management groomed someone local who is on their side to be HR President to liaise with the Government authorities. But we know she is not on the employees side.

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-2pyx

Not actually sure how the HR team is functioning.. they make no decision and always empowered team manager to do based on the own decision of the manager.

And frankly if every team manager can act in HR capacity with neutrality stand, why do we need HR? HR should be able to advise and even stop managers from carrying some actions.. but most of the times HR is no one but another team manager follower..

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-1bwd

Stefan is a Ken doll. The last 2 HR leads resigned (one was fired) because they would not be Barbie Dolls. They actually had integrity and ideas.(strong women with real direction ).

In all seriousness, what has he proposed? I remember there was a HR pillar program or something like that under Angela, and an HR business program to partner with sales, and so many others. Under Stefan...nothing...please tell me one program under his leadership and I will shut up. Nothing! Zilch! A Pawn!

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-1otg

The irony is that it's actually good to work for a company that's bad at layoffs. That means they don't have to do it very often, so when they do, there are hiccups.

I worked at EDS from 1989 to 2005. The company had its very first layoff in 1993, and it was handled horribly. By the time I left, the process was smooth as silk. It had become a standard quarterly or even monthly process that managers and HR planned for.

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Post ID: @Y5SrKGz-qcn

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