General Motors (GM)—America’s largest automobile manufacturer—recently announced it would be offering buyouts to roughly 18,000 salaried workers. Unfortunately for the automotive giant, only about 2,250 employees went for that offer.
“Under GM’s buyout offer, eligible employees could receive six months’ pay and six months’ health care coverage starting in February, though on a case-by-case basis some employees could leave before the end of the year to effectively get eight months’ compensation,” reports The Detroit News.
But before you think GM is simply winding down operations and liquidating, consider the fact that it’s simultaneously talking about large-scale hiring objectives.
While Building Up
“The buyouts and layoffs among GM’s salaried workers are part of what the automaker has called a transformation of its workforce,” says The Detroit News. “At the same time GM executes some 6,000 layoffs among salaried workers, it is hiring aggressively in emerging automotive disciplines like software development, batter and fuel cell technology and autonomous vehicle development.”
Such changes need to be handled carefully. Obviously, any company wants to attract the cream of the crop when it comes to talent. But laying off thousands of workers isn’t exactly painting a rosy picture of an organization’s future. It will take careful messaging on the part of GM to attract its ideal candidates of the future.
A Tricky Transition
GM is interested in attracting a new type of employee to the company—an employee with different skill sets. And, of course, it will be interested in attracting top talent. But, GM will also need to be able to convince these top-caliber recruits that the company has legitimate staying power and longevity amid the much-reported layoffs.
Additionally, the way GM treats its outgoing employees will likely have at least some impact on how potential new hires view the company. After all, they could be on the wrong end of a restructuring one day themselves. And the company will also need to show that it’s making a genuine commitment to its new “workforce transformation” and that this reorg isn’t simply a flash in the pan.
GM may be the first, but is likely not to be the last, employer identifying a need for a massive makeover of its workforce. It’s a case study to pay close attention to.