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Are there any finance people that can say how layoffs really work? If it’s not performance based is that another way of saying you are still the lowest value employee based on, well, performance?

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It’s basically “who can we afford to lose?” The finance team doesn’t choose people. They just say “here is what you have to cut in salaries.” The dept heads have to decide how to get there.

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The CFO gives executive committee a number of heads needed to help. The executive committee pulls team leaders aside and asks for names of people they can afford to let go. Either because they aren’t pulling their weight or because they aren’t assigned to enough billable work. I will say though, the best employees (hard working, talented, skilled) are almost always assigned to billable work.

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Is it possible we work at different companies?

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All of the above plus skillsets. If you are a print producer but the agency has been doing mostly digital work, that FTE count could be re-allocated to get more digital producers or strategists or developers. It’s often a time to reassess what needs and skills the agency needs.

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Layoffs typically happen when you lose clients, or if you haven’t closed enough new business to make your current staff justifiable. Every company and holding group is different, however it typically works by creating an entirely new staff plan at an office or agency level. You have to staff enough people to support the account, while also not assigning all senior staff members and lose the agency money. It’s all about projected margins. Low performers wouldn’t get assigned, and are the first to go. Just because you worked 100% on an account that the agency lost doesn’t mean you’ll lose your job.

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So it is technically performance based? Is it ever personal/political? For example, finance says someone in this department has to go, managers also evaluate who is the least cultural fit? Also is there a reason for keeping more upper level management and letting go all the senior or mid level people?

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Either that or someone politically wanted you gone

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Cash comes in, cash goes out.

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