Daily Archives: July 14, 2009

Cisco Parses Meaning of “Layoff”

What constitutes a layoff? Cisco CEO John Chambers defines it, quite literally, as a decimation of a company’s workforce.

Said Chambers earlier this year, on a conference call with analysts:

“My own view is that if you have to do a layoff, and we try everything possible to avoid them, it needs to be of critical mass to justify the loss of business momentum, impact on employees and disruption in key projects. Being very transparent, the definition of a companywide layoff to me is at least 10 percent of your work force.”

Some might argue that’s more along the lines of a massacre than a layoff, especially in relation to a company of Cisco’s size, but point taken.

Anyway, a semantic debate over the definition of “layoff” has arisen within the context of conflicting reports over whether Cisco is, in fact, laying off employees.

Some reports, including one from a market analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners, suggest that Cisco is on the verge of making new personnel cuts. Conversely, Cisco says there’s nothing to report, that any reduction in force already had been announced in February and is part of an ongoing process.

The truth? As the television show said, it’s out there.