The HR director of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young has defended the company’s
approach to staff communication when announcing job cuts earlier this month.
Europe’s biggest IT consultancy was criticised in the press for using
voicemail to inform staff of 750 job losses.
Robert Ingram explained that the company made strenuous efforts to ensure
its 9,000 employees were given full details about the proposed cuts as soon as
possible after the decision was made.
Prior to the announcement on 15 November, the board consulted with the
elected employee representatives on the staff council about the need for
redundancies and acted on its advice to make the process as open as possible.
At 10am on the day of the announcement, chief executive Maurice Abell
conducted an interactive conference call with 600 managers. This was followed
at 1pm by a simultaneous voicemail and e-mail message to all staff explaining
the company’s position and need for job losses.
It informed staff that the company would try to reduce the headcount through
a programme of voluntary redundancy and early retirement, but if that failed
then compulsory job cuts would be necessary.
The e-mail contained a link to a dedicated website that provided more
details on the programme and information about a freeze on new company cars and
an unpaid career break scheme. A telephone helpdesk was also set up to support
Ingram said, "We have been really open with everyone, explaining the
challenges the company faces and what that means for staff. People have
obviously been disturbed by the cuts but our feedback suggests our approach has