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Workforce Rebalancing: The Ultimate Insult to U.S. Tech Workers

It’s happening again — this time at IBM. The technology giant is focused on “workforce rebalancing” — laying off IBM technology workers who allegedly have antiquated skills, and then replacing those folks with fresh hires to focus on newer waves like cloud computing, cognitive computing, mobile, security and more.

IBM isn’t alone in this practice. Rival Hewlett Packard Enterprise and numerous other technology giants refer to workforce rebalancing efforts during major business shifts. But here’s the reality: It usually means the executive team (past or present) was late to a major IT market shift, and needs to scramble and pivot into a new market. The true victims? Employees who get the boot, shareholders who miss out on growth waves, and customers who are forced to look elsewhere for next-generation products and services until the tech giant’s pivot potentially takes hold.

MSP Workforce Rebalancing

Admittedly, workforce rebalancing isn’t limited to large enterprises. During the early days of managed services, many VARs wondered if they would have to fire their sales team and hire a completely new team to sell managed security, remote monitoring, cloud storage and more. The common thread: VARs worried their sales pros couldn’t swallow a shift from big lump-sump commissions to smaller, gradual payouts based on recurring revenues.

Whether it’s a large enterprise or small VAR/MSP, some of the workforce rebalancing involves FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). Instead of proactively training employees for the new technology waves, executives fear the transition. They’re uncertain their employees can embrace the new market approach. They doubt staff members will dive into new markets fast enough.

But perhaps it’s time for executive leaders to look in the mirror to address the FUD head-on. In many cases, I suspect the executives themselves fear the change — and want to surround themselves with new talent who can assure them the transition will go as planned.

Workforce Rebalancing: The Ultimate Insult

I certainly realize some employees grow tired of climbing the next technology hill. Many reject change. Quite a few want to stick with yesterday’s business practices.

But do me a favor: The next time you fire a laggard employee please call it what it is… A layoff. The term “workforce rebalancing” is an insult to thousands of U.S. technology workers who want to climb that next technology hill — but aren’t given the opportunity to do so.

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