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LDS Church announces limited layoffs

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  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 23, 2013 6:00 p.m.

    You really do not know the devastation of taking someone's job away has on a dedicated breadwinner and a family until you actually go through the motions of trying to live through it. Pain beyond any description!

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Jan. 23, 2013 6:48 p.m.

    I am sure that the LDS church does know and it isn't something that they want to do. There are way to many paid positions in the church which hopefully can be replaced with service missionaries and volunteers. When I was working at the MTC after my mission, I was teaching the Senior couples, there was a period where there was no one to teach and I was going and doing nothing. I quit the job, cause I did not feel right about having tithing money or whatever church funds they came from, paying for me to sit idle.

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 23, 2013 6:56 p.m.

    I've been laid off and had a paltry severance package before. Reading that the Church stated that they are going to work with those who are laid off and give them a generous severance package is all anyone can ask for.

  • rok San Diego, CA
    Jan. 23, 2013 8:32 p.m.

    The church should find other jobs for these people. The church can't operate like a normal business.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Jan. 23, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    I am impressed. Regardless of the fact that a company/church is growing, certain positions can become obsolete and/or duplicated, and should be eliminated. Unfortunately, we rarely see job elimination in our government, which either is continuously hiring or in hiring-freeze mode. Kudos and great respect go to the LDS Church for its wise management of resources.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Jan. 23, 2013 9:36 p.m.

    My husband has been laid off three times in his 20 year career as the breadwinner of our family of 7 and it is devastating. He is generally an optimistic and happy person, but not being able to provide for his family was excruciating for him.

    I feel for those who will be seeking new employment because of this change. I do not believe however that the church owes these people a job as a previous person stated. I believe the church is doing everything it can and likely more than the average employer.

  • DistantThunder Vincentown, NJ
    Jan. 23, 2013 9:54 p.m.

    The traditional job is dead. People need to recognize that as technology changes, the need for people diminishes or re-locates to areas closer to the distribution points. What most encouraging is seeing how many major media corporations are cutting back due to declining revenues. That's a sign that information is becoming more democratized and less in the hands of the big leftist corporations.

  • Seek to understand Sandy, UT
    Jan. 23, 2013 10:14 p.m.

    Wouldn't it be a really different situation if people generally lived debt free (with the exception of their home until they can pay it off at the earliest possible time), had at least 6 months of cash reserves, and paid 10% into their long-term retirement plan and kept a year's supply of food (that is edible!)?

    Then, when they are laid off (most people will need to find new employment several times in their working lives), they don't have to panic or be depressed or be distraught (at least for a few months!) while they look for a new position. They can live on their savings (and hopefully some severance) and even pick up a part-time low-paying job for cash and something to do while they wait for the right position to come along.

    I have known people this disciplined and wise, and their experience being unemployed is very different from others.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    Jan. 24, 2013 5:23 a.m.

    I am personally involved in this process, as we in Europe are going through a similar process. What I can tell you, as one who has been made redundant by a different company in the past, is that the Church has done every possible thing to ensure that the staff members concerned are being taken care of. I have personally sat with a senior manager as he has agonised over what is best to do for each individual. There has been dialogue at every stage for everyone involved, and the Church has tried to find alternative employment for everyone within other departments.

    I can tell "ROK," that the Church has not operated "like any other business" in this. They have gone far beyond what anyone should, and could, expect. I have seen this at first hand, and can tell you that none of us that are personally involved feels anything but good about the way it has been handled. Sorry if that doesn't fit with some folks' opinions. It is merely the truth.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 5:29 a.m.

    Not a huge fan of lay offs in any company. IMO, they should've been hired temporarily or cutbacks could've been made gradually over the whole, rather than at one fell swoop, so that they could be transferred to capacities elsewhere in their overall corporation.

    I find this sort of thing a lack of foresight by management, which I hold entirely responsible for things like this. Managers typically get paid more because they are entrusted with employees whose lives are dependent upon them making important decisions regarding the resources available to the company. If the church wants this to be purely corporate in nature, they need to face the prospects that this is a systematic management failure. There are alternatives to lay offs. Lay offs disrupt the whole company, destroy morale of the workers still there, increase their workloads and are a sign of a lack of longterm vision... not to mention the poor folks being laid off and the crippling effects of joblessness.

    Anyhow that's my opinion on the business end. This says nothing of the religious aspects which I'm sure are entirely above board and responsible and trustworthy.

  • Montana Mormon Miles City, MT
    Jan. 24, 2013 6:33 a.m.

    Having had experience as a Church employee and reduction in force, I can vouch for two things: (1) The Church leadership takes very seriously the impact that RIFs have on people; and (2) the leadership does offer very generous severance packages to try to help those impacted get through the difficult transition period. Unlike our US government, the Church lives within its means, so some painful realities exist and difficult decisions have to be made. My sincere sympathies to those whose lives are being deeply affected.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    This is a common business decision.

    But let's not forget or deny that this decision is being made by a business, and a big one at that, led by Harvard MBAs and other business executives.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 24, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    I worked for an international corporation that used to force rank their employee's performance and would lay off (let go) the bottom 10% every year. At first I thought it was heartless and cruel but then it dawned on me that it was to protect the rest of our jobs. In a very competitive world, many companies fail because they are not efficient enough and that is a threat to every employee. Be efficient or die in the real world!

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Seek to understand - we lived just as you described, debt free, actually had a year's savings in the bank, had a very low house payment, no other debt, we owned our 2 cars and had a two year supply of food. While we waited for the right position to come along (as my husband sent out resume after resume, did interview after interview, and worked his tail off for 8 months this last time) he worked as a ski lift operator. We could take care of ourselves just fine.

    Nevertheless, when a man has been prepared to be a provider - in our case 10 years of college and 3 good (useful) degrees at distinguished universities - and takes seriously his god-given commandment to ,"multiply and replenish the earth" and to "provide and protect", and then has his ability to do so severed, it's not a cake walk for him even if he is debt free. The family feels a lot less suffering when, with some belt tightening, they can continue with the life they have known, but it is still very hard on the father.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Jan. 24, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    The fact that there are paid employees and so many business executives says something in itself.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Jan. 24, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    Anyone familiar with the new curriculum knew this was coming.

  • Eagles63 Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    I've been self-employed about 20 of my 26 years in the workplace. When you're self-employed you are laid off all the time. There is no severance package when the project ends. No safety net. It is all about working hard. You have to learn to create and recreate your opportunities. Our society is losing people like myself and progressing rapidly towards an entitlement society where a job is taken for granted. I don't wish unemployment on anyone, but anyone who is unemployed and able bodied should take advantage of exploring their creative side during that period and see what you may find. I'm sure many do and those that are successful at it often find out that the saying is true, "necessity is the Mother of invention" and fulfillment I might had.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    I can tell you the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes very serious any decision that affects their employees. It must be an important issue for them to do this. There is not a more efficient or caring employer in the world. They are fair, comparable and honest and I know they will do everything they can to make this bearable for the employees that are being laid off. They wouldn't do it any other way.

  • Gr8Dane Tremonton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    I would hope the church would treat their employees like they would want to be treated, and as we're taught. I just wonder why they didn't institute a "hiring freeze" a couple of years ago, and then offer incentives for people to retire early or leave, instead of just issuing layoffs to hundreds of people. Wouldn't that have been a more humane and "orderly" way to do things? Or am I guilty of "steadying" the ark by even positing the comment?

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    @Gr8Dane

    "I just wonder why they didn't institute a "hiring freeze" a couple of years ago, and then offer incentives for people to retire early or leave, instead of just issuing layoffs to hundreds of people."

    Correct me if wrong, but I heard from somebody who works for the Church that they have been offering retiring incentives to some of their more seasoned employees.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    @Mountanman
    Hayden, ID
    "I worked for an international corporation that used to force rank their employee's performance and would lay off (let go) the bottom 10% every year... Be efficient or die in the real world!"

    I worked for a division of GE, who did this. And they were a very dysfunctional organization. In fact, the organization in GE who I worked for no longer exists. I fully agree that workers must remain competitive, but the "cutthroat" competitive performance expectations actually backfires. In fact, there is strong evidence that Microsoft's inability to be competitive in new technologies is related to their cutthroat employee performance appraisals.

    Still, I am glad the LDS Church is trying to take care of people. But, unfortunately, this will hurt their reputation as an employer. I work in IT, and the Church doesn't have the best reputation as a good employer in the first place. Especially since they just eliminated their pension plan for new employees. I get contacted by recruiters frequently in behalf of the LDS Church and I always politely decline. I love the Church, and wish I could work there, but unfortunately I won't be able to.

  • Juan Figuroa Seattle, WA
    Jan. 24, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    No,Gr8Dane, what you're doing is quite the opposite of steadying the ark. It's a free country, and you're free to criticise, but criticism itself isn't the definition of "steadying the ark." That term describes "correcting" individuals to keep them in line. Much like what I'm doing here.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    I can tell you that current church employees are going to reevaluate their church employment especially with the improving tech industry. You don't work at the church for the meager raises or the fact that you have to dress appropriately. You work at the Church because you enjoyed the projects and the fact that the Church always avoided layoffs by not over hiring and running lean as well as going out of their way to replace you somewhere else in the org if a project did get cancelled. Those days are now in the past and the new business model now seems to be more like many in the cut-throat tech industry. For example the church now has cross the line with layoffs AND the church is going to a contract to hire model where you get hired as a temp for 6 months and are allowed to fight it out with the other temps and the last man standing gets the job. Terrible stressful environment. I have always avoided the contract to hire situations if at all possible. In any event I suspect there will more leaving for better and more stable work soon.

  • djc Stansbury Park, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Been laid off two times and it is not pleasant. Neither employer offered a decent severance package or any real assistance in getting a new job. It is life changing. Did the resumee thing, but failed to get a job. Took a minimum wage job to get by each time and moved up in the new company. The problem is that each time this happens, you are in effect starting over. I'm now over 60 and trying for decent employment. Believe me, there is blatant age discrimination out there. I have multiple college degrees and a good work history. It is hard to even maintain reserves after a couple of layoffs. It takes years to recover economically from each one and because you are now last hired, you can be first let go in many places. I have a good work ethic and it hurts to be unable to get a decent job. I feel for these folks and hope it works out well for them.

  • JD Books Sulphurdale, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 12:57 p.m.

    Imagine all of the people who are going to be "layed off" because of the change in mission age. It is going to hurt a lot of people who work in higher education in this state.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    re:djc

    No question age discrimination is real and the only ways I see to at least to survive anymore is to make certain your skills are current AND your debt is low if at all possible. Having all of our kids moved on now my wife and I were enjoying our rather large home but then realized we really didn't need all the room and would be much better off downsizing. It is nice to have a large home so your kids can come home to roost if need be but reality these days says otherwise. Our plans are to sale and cut our loan and square footage in half. I suspect interest rates aren't going to remain low for much longer the way Obama is driving our debt up so ...maybe a 2 year window I have heard?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 2:56 p.m.

    re:Utes Fan

    Agree 100%. The Church's reputation as a good employer is going to take a nose dive over this no question. Why work for the Church when they now have resorted to the layoff model seen at other hi-tech companies? Might as well get higher pay and bonus's if you have to deal with layoffs plus not have to dress up. The idea that Church will now hire to do a new project and then fire after the project is completed is basically a contract position. Might as well work for STG or other contract type company where at least they set up interviews for you after your work is complete. If the Church wants to retain and attract good engineers it is going to have to PROVE is't old loyalty is still intact and this was a one time thing. I doubt the Church will say anything because I do believe they will conduct more layoffs going forward.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Jan. 24, 2013 3:11 p.m.

    Eagles63- Both you and my husband seem to know what many people choose to ignore. Being self-employed guarantees that you never get handed a pink slip. Losing one or two clients, here or there, is only motivation to gain new ones; but you never completely lose your job. Both my husband and later my brother decided to hang out their own shingles after experiencing lay-offs. Turned out to be the BEST thing that ever happened to both of them!

  • Louisiana Cougar Pineville, LA
    Jan. 24, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    It's ggod to see the LDS Church recognizing that the social contract needs to be honored with their employees. The employment-at-will rule is "morally bankrupt" according to many ethics and human resource management scholars.

  • TimBehrend Auckland NZ, 00
    Jan. 24, 2013 5:39 p.m.

    Lasvegaspam: Kudos and great respect go to the LDS Church for its wise management of resources.

    Unfortunately, we don't have any means of judging how wisely the LDS Church manages its resources, since the institution has a non-transparent financial policy. The people who give funds to church coffers and labour to church projects are not given access to financial reports about how their contributions are used. To say that church funds are managed wisely is a proclamation of faith; it is not based on hidden balance sheets.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    Jan. 24, 2013 7:08 p.m.

    @J-TX

    "Anyone familiar with the new curriculum knew this was coming."

    Yep, on my visit to SLC I stopped by the Distribution Center and was greatly disappointed by the lack of material in general and especially the NO MATERIAL for the Come Follow Me curriculum. It's all on-line. I would not have predicted the lay-off but I am not surprised.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 24, 2013 7:41 p.m.

    @ Scientist

    There is a business aspect to the church- to EVERY church for that matter. But the LDS church is not primarily a business. It's a church. I'm pretty sure you recognize that.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:44 p.m.

    Eagles 63 - the idea to explore new options during a time of unemployement is right on. After our 3rd layoff my husband changed careers and although we make a lot less money, he has greater job security and goes to work with a smile now.

  • HotGlobe SAN RAFAEL, CA
    Jan. 25, 2013 3:02 a.m.

    “a planned reduction in workforce” What does that mean? It means they decided to lay some people off, then they did. Why use public relations-speak instead of just telling it like it is?

  • mancan HC, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    Based on what my friends who have worked for the Church have told me, the people laid off will probably do just fine. People don't work for the Church because of the high pay (the joke I was told is that they automatically deduct your tithing b/c the pay is so low) or because they can't get a job somewhere else. Generally they want to do something important and different than the rest of the world. These are skilled people who will have offers before they spend the severance package. Good luck to them.

  • Health Junkie North Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Was their a final count? "Limited Layoffs" seems like a PR stunt dutifully reported by their Deseret News. Did they send the employees information on LDS Employment Centers? Did they encourage employees to sign up for government services like unemployment? Did they give people vouchers for the Bishop's Storehouse? Did they warn you about this possibility before the Christmas holidays so people could conserve resources and stockpile cash for this rainy day? So many questions I have that the article seemed to leave out. Did they define "Generous Severance?"

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    O'really wrote:

    "There is a business aspect to the church- to EVERY church for that matter. But the LDS church is not primarily a business. It's a church. I'm pretty sure you recognize that."

    I'm pretty sure the "business aspect" is much more primary and dominant that the faithful care to recognize.

  • rachy2 EAGLE MOUNTAIN, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 10:04 a.m.

    I heard from someone who works for the Church that a friend who just got laid off is getting 6 months pay plus one week's pay for every year worked plus one year medical coverage. Seems like fairly "Generous Severance."

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Jan. 25, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    For what it's worth, even a church business--hey, even if it's LDS--is still made up of...wait for it...real, live, and imperfect human beings. They get just what every other well-meaning, caring, honest, and concerned businessperson does, and that is, many hard-working, happy employees, which, no doubt, they treat well. And they, too, are generous when decisions have to be made that are not happily made. This is business, too, and just because these are LDS businesspersons does not make them better, worse, luckier or less so than any other caring and concerned person would be for his or her employees. Those who are let go, no matter how careful they have been, may, depending on how easily they may be able to fit into another placement, will still be jobless at the moment, need to turn to some sort of assistance, no doubt, like it or not, and their lives are not the same. While the LDS Church is not Scrooge by any means, it can still do only so much as an employer. Don't expect more.

  • dixiebrit Springville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    @Gr8Dane,

    You asked why the Church didn't have a hiring freeze. They DID have a hiring freeze, quite a long one, in fact. I know because I have worked for BYU in the past and the freeze not only affected the main Church organization jobs, but also all the colleges and universities belonging to the Church. Of course, the freeze went into effect right at the same time as my husband was laid off from his non-Church job. Even though I was seeking work, not only the Church schools but also the State schools had similar freezes and it took me 3 years to find work. Believe me, the Church doesn't just hire because it would be "nice" to give someone work. They wait until there is a legitimate need and they can afford it.

  • Grannilo Pensacola, FM
    Jan. 25, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Are individuals complaining about Church lay-offs because of redundancy and overlapping efforts the same ones complaining about Washington DC not cleaning up the redundancies between government agencies? Do we want the Church to continue paying wages and benefits for jobs that aren't needed?

  • tevster Canada, 00
    Jan. 25, 2013 7:03 p.m.

    The business side of the Church is wise, prudent, and fair... more than fair probably. "Systematic management failure" - really??? And no, there are not always alternatives to layoffs. Welcome to the real world. It's not easy, so hang on and do the best you can. Even when one does all the right things (...supposing here that the church has), someone is still likely going to have an axe to grind. Opposition in all things, I guess.

    May those adversely affected by this have God's blessings to help sustain them through whatever trials they must face.

  • dmb Lehi, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 7:49 p.m.

    Help those who may have been affected by reaching out to them, encouraging them, and looking for new job opportunities which they may be interested in and qualify for. The Church has a great Career Workshop which provides resume assistance, opportunities to do mock interviews, and networking sessions at local employment centers. I live in Phoenix and learned the Stake Employment specialist has organized weekly networking meetings. The blessings of the Church extend to those members in need by providing the ability to be self reliant, but assisting in providing limited termporal assistance if necessary while the worker goes through the transition. I know because I've been there.

  • Grannilo Pensacola, FL
    Jan. 25, 2013 8:24 p.m.

    These lay-offs occurred because there were redundant operations in the two departments involved. Great effort was made to place people in other positions but some refused changes that they perceived were demotions or less prestigious. It was a long process of interviews in the course of deciding who would be laid off, not a case of last hired first to go. I have a close family member involved in Church productions, but not in one of these two departments, who was also concerned about their job.

  • OLD-GUY Central, Utah
    Jan. 25, 2013 11:28 p.m.

    Though I would not pretend to tell the Church what to do, it has become apparent to me that most pepople will not know all the factors that go into a decision. I do know several Church employees and I have found them highly qualified and highly effective in their jobs. The ICS people I know, I would hire if I had positions.

    After being subject to a lay-off after many years of service, I started my own company. I even got some customers from previous employments contacts. The company I had worked for closed and shortly thereafter the economy changed and my business went downhill with it.

    The results in my case were the same, an old guy without a job and not many prospects of anything much turning up. The key word is "old" and I soon learned that "senior discounts" of only a few cents were important. Combine a lay-off, economic changes, price increases in things like gas, and being an "expert" in older technology makes for a dismal future. I hope it works out for everyone involved in the lay-offs.

  • ImABeliever Provo, UT
    Jan. 26, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    Some time ago when I lived in Washington State a Sister in the Ward gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting that when a man loses his job it is like he is being crucified. His power to support his family is gone. I didn't give it too much thought until it happened to me some time ago and it is true. Thankfully I am back working. In this day and age it is always good to have a 2nd job (income). You have to protect yourself. The financial train may slow down but at least if the wheels are always greased then it still goes down the tracks.