Don't Layoff in Singapore, Choose De-Employment.

by MIKOspace/Michael Heng

A New Talent Solution as the Recession Looms

Few companies will miss the obvious signs of impending business doom. Declining orders, falling sales, narrowing profit margins, increasing relative costs, inventory build-up, fewer competitors, fewer customers and increasing difficulties in accounts receivables.
Layoffs in Singapore reached a 5-year high with weakening job vacancies since the 2009 global recession triggered then by the banking and currency crisis.  Nearly 16,000 lost their jobs in 2015; mostly middle-aged executives with degrees and higher-skilled workers.  Most of them also did not find a job within 6 months from their layoff.

A careful analysis revealed that about 71% of the layoffs were skilled and experienced professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), ages from 40-49 years old, up from 66% in 2014, even though PMETs made up only 54% in the workforce.  Also, an increasing number (44%) of the higher educated – degree-holders – lost their jobs when compared to just 41% in 2014.

Embracing De-Employment as the New Normal

Given the demo-psychographics of the talents most susceptible and vulnerable to layoffs, de-employment becomes an innovative, empowering and integrative human resource management (HRM) solution best suited to manage talents long before their layoffs are deemed necessary. 

The steady 2015 unemployment rate in Singapore last year at 2.9% for Singaporeans, and 2.8% (2.4% in 2014) when included Permanent Residents (PR) belie the looming onslaught of layoffs expected in 2016 given the weakening global economic conditions and persistent low oil prices. 

A company facing high risks of layoffs to happen sometime in the next 6-9 months can manage the risks by adopting a strategy of de-employment. Embarking on the de-employment journey, the company prepares its employees as it enters into a joint-employment relationship with a “Surrogate Employer”

A Surrogate Employer (SE) reinforces the corporate culture concurrently as the company engages the competitive forces that are affecting the business.  On the one hand, the SE empowers the company’s recovery strategy by focusing on its core competencies to restore and grow their bottom line whilst pursuing vigorous costs reduction. On the other, the SE augments the company’s talent management team by assuming responsibilities for the strategic re-configuration of its talent pool leading to whatever necessary re-calibration and re-sizing in order to service the increasingly difficult marketplace more successfully.      

The goal of de-employment is business recovery with a particular emphasis on key talent retention, redevelopment and excess talent deployment. Strategy and talent management are the twin challenge of the de-employment strategy.  Strategy focuses largely on the external competitive space, and talent management in de-employment involves radical and fundamental internal organizational re-structuring. 

Organisational re-structuring aims at reducing layers and widening job scope through job re-design, job merging, job sharing and jobs elimination. This deploys a lean thinking approach to eliminate wasteful cost drivers and, more importantly, the retooling of talent through re-skilling, redevelopment and redeployment for and in anticipation of business recovery.

Important HR tools like shorter work week, wage/benefit cuts, working online/off-office, mandated vacation and outsourcing workers to other companies can be attempted, but recognize that these are merely short-term measures that merely postpone the inevitable.        

What is crucial in a de-employment strategy is to assure continual smooth business operations without the often disruptive effects and morale-depressing sentiments from layoff exercises.  This means the transfer of the entire (or most of the) workforce – including a large number of prospective redundant and excess workers – to the SE, who is now tasked with the mission to assure continuous income flows, not necessarily at their previous levels, to those workers who are not needed by the company either on a full-time or part-time basis.  This way, the company can reduce its labour-related costs immediately paying only for talents that it actually needs. The other redundant and excess talents are engaged by the SE to work in other companies.        

The de-employment strategy promotes income assurance in the participating workers, instead of job security.  Layoffs would be a thing of the past.  They will be continually engaged rather than occasionally employed.  Their works are assignments as they perform them not always at physical workplaces but at designated service-hubs or centres, which may be virtual or through social media cyberspace or on the internet. They are not controlled through adherence to some fixed reporting times but managed through agreed performance milestones or indicators.  They also commit to at least 100 hours of continuous learning and development per year, so as to be empowered and eventually become truly independent to pursue their desired career experiences.

Companies participating in de-employment no longer worry about layoffs as bad times loomed. They retain their relevant key talent on a full-time or part-time basis as mutually agreed with the SE.  Talents with flexible skills are able to work at more than 2 service-hubs or centres to multiply their income streams.  And they can work at their own pace and place without infringing the legal restrictions on working hours or working during holidays and rest days.   

The SE is essentially a community of talents who are well educated, skillful and experienced (like PMETs, for example).  Their SE provides such portable benefits as CPF, medical, dental, vacation leave and various other welfare benefits usually enjoyed by regular employed workers. They can seize available opportunities for multiple enhanced income streams from assignments to various SE clients.  Their skill-sets are continuously revised, upgraded and re-calibrated to ready them for future jobs which are yet unknown.   

The crucial difference between de-employment and HR out-sourcing is that the SE is contractually part of the company, instead of its outsourced labour contractor. The SE and the company have joint coaching and mentoring responsibilities for their talents. Their relationship entails regular feedback and communications with each other and with their talents. In this manner, de-employment assures the sustainable relevance of talents to the companies. They are also co-decision makers with regard to talent engagement, deployment and redistribution. Talents can be converted from de-employment status to direct employment status in accordance with agreed conditions. 

De-employment is the best alternative to layoffs by maximizing returns on human capital and talent.  Workers should not simply be discarded in layoffs as some useless garbage in a business downturn. For sure, surviving soldiers are not killed when battles are lost. Instead, they are systematically collected, re-organised, retrained, re-equipped and re-motivated to await mobilization for the next battle that would hopefully bring forth eventual victories and success.  

Corporate sustainability and business success depend on the strategic leverage of the human talent. Leaders know that the human talent is the highest and most decisive form of technology that makes the key difference in successful strategy. 


Anonymous said...

'The goal of de-employment is business recovery with a particular emphasis on key talent retention, redevelopment and excess talent deployment.'

Where has this fellow come from? Did he know that there was no strategy for the last 2 decades and employers were allowed to retrench or sack Singaporean PMETs to be replaced by foreigners as a strategy of destroying the Singaporean core?

Didn't he know that the only strategy from the govt was to train all the PMETs were lost their jobs into lower skill jobs instead of enhanching their training and experience to take on higher positions? And another strategy is to resign to the fate that Singaporean PMETs are at the mercy of foreigers taking over the hiring and thus has no hope of finding employment in Singapore, and the govt can do nothing about it? So the only solution is to train them and prepare them to go overseas to look for a job, as if other country's govt are so silly and will open their doors to welcome rejected, end of shelf life Singaporeans to work in their countries.

Rip Van Winkle just woke up and think Singaporean PMETs losing their jobs can be reemployed by de employment?

Did this Rip Van Winkle know why Singaporean PMETs are losing their jobs to third world fake or half baked foreigners in the first place?

Virgo49 said...

Sorry, Mr Michael Heng.

Not in the 60s/70s where the Towkays will have second thoughts in sacking you.

They will whisper among themselves: This guy got family to support.

We can deploy him to another department or job to suit his suitability.

Nowadays, Employers hired and fired.

Ang Mo Pai liao!

Get these highly paid employees in the name of restructuring and blame on the poor business to let them chiak kia kee.

We can saved a bundle. Get young workers cost less.

After all these are considered as"DEAD WOOD"

But the DEAD WOOD does not apply to the chiak liao bee Ministers and MPs and their cronies with Iron Rice bowls. No blame culture please even they committed blunders after blunders.

These are our BEST people.

The Towkays of the 60s and 70s have a thought before they rid their employees.

No kong looo also got koo looo

Means that these employees served faithfully to us in good times and we made monies from their hardwork.

So how can asked them chiak kia kee just because business are bad???

Very most out our past profits to sub stain them till better times.

Now, employees made profits of XX billions for their employers and just because this year just made XXX millions instead of billions, they are restructure to leave.

Anyway, still profits what??

They boh cheng, bastards.

Anonymous said...

Many great suggestions in de-employment - especially promoting multiple part-time work to gain more $$$. Workers wants income assurance, true. Losing jobs but still retain part of income streams is the better idea. Also make them more independent, Can become their own bosses. Why work for others when you can work for yourselves. Also dun depend so much on government schemes. Always easy to say no to new ideas. Think, man. No more layoffs ...!

Anonymous said...

Your de-employment is a good concept. Very kind!

BUT! No! No! No!

No organisation is so kind to carry out your de-employment concept.

Management will be very busy with strategies to make money and more
money and reducing costs for their shareholders so as to keep their
own jobs. Remember.... the "You-Die-Your-Business" theory!

In today's globalised job market, what so difficult to get the RIGHT
people you needed when the economy is up up.

Please lah, when economy starts to show sign of weakening, the FIRST
thing the mgt WILL do is to cut costs and naturally is to REDUCE manpower!

What de-employment? So kind? Cut costs first!

"You-Die-Your-Business"! "You-Die-Your-Business"!

Think about it!


Veritas said...

There are too many toxic people who commit evil JUST because they have a family, got a car loan and condo mortgage. These PEOPLE deserve TO EAT SHIT.

I want to see them despise and humiliated like a scum. Their condos need to be foreclose, and their families need to be thrown to the streets.

In the past, employer made a mistake by being compassionate to OLD FUCKERS.

The poison these old fuckers did to the young sons of Singapore are immense. Old fucking managers are senile.

In a lot of occasions, these people CANNOT even understand technical feedback because they spend too little time doing engineering work, and too much time fucking their wife.

Being FUCKING incompetent, they play out young engineers. They promote the MOST USELESS to leadership, so as not to create a threat. THey hire foreigners.

Right now I am in this wonderful fire and fire company, my feeling is WOW. Basically people here are not wasting my time, and I am not wasting my time on nonsense.

The morale of story is if you dont fire the incompetent and fuckers, these fuckers will do immense damage to the society.

Veritas said...

Actually I have almost zero sympathy for many managers and colleagues being fired. My current company practice hire and fire, and to my surprise, the morale goes up, not down and I wish for MORE firing.

The reason is 99% of Singaporean/FT managers are piece of shit, cannot deliver and they are cancer to company. They are there to play politics, push blames, and go back home fuck wife at 1700.

In a lot of technical department, the managers have ZERO skills and cannot bring up juniors.

During promotion, the most fuck up people goes up. Managers will not promote talented people to create themselves a competitor.

The whole Singapore is SICK.

Right now I am in this wonderful trigger happy company. And after every firing, the FUCK UP are gone. Only the better one stay behind (though still a lot of fuckers manage to wiggle themselves out).

There are far far less Bullshit.

The worst organization I ever been is fucking MOE. There are no firing. And it is a cesspool.

agongkia said...

Lao Chek Virgo ah.
Towkay ooo cheng close down fasterer.Else today you oso Towkay Besar instead of having to hang around at genting hoping to win some ringgit with machines.,or trying your luck with pamacai,magnum or sport toto.
I always tell my neighbour towkay that those Chia leow bee PMETs esp.those lazy and calculative one in the organisation HAVE to go or ,like past practices,can upgrade their appointment from manager,technical officers,banking officer etc to screwty officers but half their salary.
Same same oso officers mah.

DE or SE is nothing new.
What does those so claim professor know about running a business.
I am one who look forward to recession.This is a chance for our towkay to overhaul the whole system .
Employer knows what to do.
Sinkies just need to work hard and longer hours.Fear not.

agongkia said...

This one I agree with you.
Many of these are only good at PLP,and bully the less educated elderly subordinates.
Time to see them selling their unit cheap cheap.

Virgo 49 said...

Ahgongkia, I no need to be Tow kay Besar. Enough to last till my last breath good enough.

Extra for genting, magnum and sportstoto.

As a kachang puteh ex employer for just a decade, I had employed even ex-cons and ex drug addict. You find that these people gives a, you their best when given a chance.

Not those scholarly type that pat your shoulder on one hand and poke your backside with the other.

Also, before the last screw goes into my coffin, I no need to buy ibet or system just to believe in Him to go to heaven.

I had gone through life on my own merits a s a decent bean.

Not last moment don't know go beaven or hell straight away believe in him to be saved.


Anonymous said...

Veritas: "Right now I am in this wonderful fire and fire company, my feeling is WOW. Basically people here are not wasting my time, and I am not wasting my time on nonsense." Sounds too good to be real. Is your company hiring? But I not prepared to dress as a woman and talk like you, OK? Must be a weird company to require workers to dress as women...! Did you get a job bcos they think yu got no balls ..? Before they find out, better de-employ yourself first.

Veritas said...

I was from NTU. 80% of NTU professors deserve to be fired, including ...etc.

Basically if you want to find the MOST fucking incompetent chap, look no further than the leadership or the Deans of EVERY single NTU department.

There are many things wrong in Singapore system. Basically the real talent are not allow to shine, and useless syncophants take the leadership role.

Veritas said...

This Michael Heng formerly from NTU EEE, and ex Motorola HR. I have a lot to comment about his teaching style as he was my teacher, but I choose not to. I would like to comment about the FUCKING HR policy of motorola.

Motorola deserve to go BANKRUPT under fucking HR style. Basically Moto is one of the few earliest companies in stack ranking system making engineers backstab one another.

I support firing but this Motorola seems to fire the wrong kind of people. There are a lot of politics in Motorola and my colleagues few days ago still mentionded that Moto engineers DO NOT share knowledge.

Also Motorola managers prosper like nobody stealing A LOT from the companies without any control. The lucrative benefit of Motorola can only make everyone siliva drop.

Eventually the company cannot deliver. Several of their models were really fuck up, compared to Nokia.

When Apple move into Mobile market, Motorola fate is sealed.

Veritas said...

Another good place to look for mofos is 99.9% of MOE school HOD, VP and P as well as their corresponding or higher rank in MOE HQ. You wont regret it. These people are destine to dance with Satan in hell.

They drive nice cars and stay in big condos. PAP knew MOE is morally bankrupt and as odious reputation in as far as the eye of God. No one want to join this fucking MOE. So PAP throw monies at MOE. So what we are fuck up, we earn 200% more than you good guys.

This is PAP fucking ways.

Unfortunately, we entrust our kids to these shit head. Our kids will grow more and more wicked as days goes by.

Virgo 49 said...

Our time we share school work and even bring homework to fellow students who are absent or sick.

Willing to teach one another weak in certain subjects.

Now students are brought up by the MOLE, oops MOE system of one upmanship who is smarter that they are producing a generation of monsters.

Everyone fights shy of each other copying or seeing their books.

Must beat the next one besides you and your chances of going in to an elite school is better.

Two or three tution teachers.

Wah piang stress on students and the parents finances.

Now they want to scrap PSLE what is cut off line.

Poor students guinea pigs to the MOE ever changing system.

Wah piang, lucky no grandchildren to worry for them.

Smart they remained singles. Ahgongkia must not be cursing that we are patriot.

Have more slaves for the PAP.

Anonymous said...

Ever since Philip Yeo (EDB) retired;
- Singapore does not seem to have any industrial plan anymore

Jurong Island was built under Philip Yeo's leadership and vision.
our current roadmap of casinos, shopping malls and hawker-entrepreneurs

Anonymous said...

The high rentals are driving the retail out of business here. Orchard Road would soon turn to waste land. Some idiots still want to raise rentals.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, MOE is very fucked to produce someone like Veritas. He is certainly one of "the students ... brought up by the MOLE, oops MOE system of one upmanship who is smarter that they are producing a generation of monsters". Got it. Point taken, man. U now so screwed up u started blaming everyone else and MOE bcos U did not get first-class degree. Relax, man. Maybe, it's bcos U are just NOT fIRST CLASS material ..eh?!