Boosting Morale During Massive Layoffs
Tom Glocer was the chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters, a leading global source of intelligent information for businesses and decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, scientific, healthcare and media markets.
Glocer originally joined Reuters Group in 1993 as vice president and deputy counsel of Reuters America and has held a number of senior leadership positions at Reuters, including President of Reuters LatAm and Reuters America, before being named CEO of Reuters Group PLC in July 2001, where he later oversaw the company's merger with the Thomson Corporation.
Glocer is on the board of Merck & Co., Inc., and serves as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, the International Advisory Board of British American Business Inc., and various other corporate and philanthropic organizations. Glocer holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Columbia University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. You can read his blog at www.tomglocer.com.
I've learned this the hard way because when I took over as Chief Executive of Reuters in 2001, not only was there what seemed at that time to be a significant recession in financial services, but it was just after 9/11, and Reuters itself was not in good competitive condition. I had to take out a lot of cost in a hurry and had to do it not in a particularly nuanced way. We took out something like 5,000 people out of what was, at one point, 19,000 at Reuters. And that was probably the most difficult thing I've ever done.
Having to do that has conditioned in some way the way I've managed ever since. In that, I never want let the business go so off the rails that one would need such an extraordinary program again to do it.
The only way I know to motivate people through a period like that, and it's not just everyone else, it's about motivating myself and my managers as well, is, you got to believe in the goal. We felt, those of us who came through that period 2001, 2003 at Reuters, that this 150-year-old company was a force for the good, deserved to live to see another day. And although it was very painful to often say goodbye to friends in the process, we had to focus on how do you make a 150-year-old company, and give it another 150-year license, and how do you create a stable employer for all the families that stay. And sometimes you need to do that tough medicine, but it ain't a lot of fun.
Why do we have to have such a boom and bust cycle? I think the US economy is uniquely sympathetic to the lay on a lot of people, and then take them out during difficult times. Obviously, some of the more socialized countries have more stringent rules about laying folks off. The downside then is, you don't add jobs.
If you look at what's happening in Europe right now, it's all of the contractors that are in deep trouble, because people haven't wanted to add permanent jobs in Germany, in France, in Italy because it's hard to get rid of them.
I'm not sure what's the best political answer, because if you make it too difficult to eliminate posts, nobody ever wants to add them. If I have to know that this is a job that will be in the company for 50 years, I'm going to take a lot longer to create that new job, or maybe I'll do it on a contract basis, rather than bringing on a permanent employee.
Our experience here, let's take Thomson Reuters right now through this recession, we have been eliminating some positions. But that's far more driven by the logic of the integration of the acquisition of Reuters by Thomson, than by the recession itself.
We have been careful over the last couple of years, in part I think because of my difficult experience at Reuters, and Thomson's always been an efficient company as well. The jobs that are going, by and large, are the jobs that were the overlap, and we haven't had to announce special purpose layoffs, other than in very particular circumstances.
Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer tells the story of having to cut 5,000 people in 2001, an experience that changed his business ethos forever. He also answers the question of how businesses get too big in the first place.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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