Sunday, February 08, 2004


I found this news about a week ago. It caused me to think about employee relations, leadership and the web.

Computer Sciences Corporation, (NYSE: CSC) the global information technology firm has a group that apparently took away workers' vacations for a second year in a row by imposing a freeze. Or so The Register reported. Why? Because workers apparently haven't met company goals. Here is the memo The Register reprinted.

The San Diego Regional Center is not meeting our fiscal year productivity and therefore causing a negative impact to the GTS financial objectives. There are some actions that must be taken.

1. Effective immediately, SDRC is freezing all vacations for billable employees through the end of our fiscal year, April 2, 2004.

If you currently have an approved vacation, contact your CTM, Delivery Manager, Captain to establish alternate dates or justify extenuating circumstances. If you are uncertain if you are billable or non-billable, contact your CTM, Delivery Manager, Captain .

2. Please be certain to complete TES accurately each week. And, comply with our policy to report all hours worked.

3. Review your own productivity over the past 9 months. Your CTM, Delivery Manager, Captain can help you with this.

4. Are your labor adjustments, if any, fully executed. Did you miss a day in labor recording and never corrected it.

I encourage everyone to pay particular attention to the details of self management to improve your productivity as part of your daily routine.

I thank everyone in advance for your support in helping this Center and GTS to achieve our goals.

To take away vacations once is a way to gain workers' attention. I understand that. To freeze vacations twice is a sign something is wrong somewhere. It is a wrong communication. Either goals are too high, or there is a fundamental leadership/organizational problem that should have been addressed by now. I wonder if an employee relations person was consulted in writing this memo. I suspect not. Or, if there was a communicator involved, he or she failed to explain how the organization missed goals without an examination of the manager, the job and personnel.

How should this memo have been written? Maybe there is no better way that maintains credibility with employees missing vacations. On the other hand, I would have spent more time explaining why the department is missing its productivity goals and what the department is doing to reach them in the future. Perhaps, this was done in another context, and the memo was taken out of that framework.

The author should realize that internal documents filter to the Web these days, and one is not just writing for an immediate group but for others who are not part of the intended group.

The upshot? CSC has created a credibility problem for itself that has been exposed to all of The Register's readership and likely, many more than that.


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