The economy's bad, you can't find anybody to mix your paint at Home Depot, and the housing market stinks. What should you do if you're in charge at Home Depot?
Apparently get rid of a bunch of HR folks. From the Wall Street Journal:
"Home Depot Inc. is restructuring its human-resources department in an effort to cut costs and put more workers on the sales floor.
After the changes, there no longer will be a human-resources manager in each of the company's 1,970 U.S. stores. Human-resources-supervisor positions at U.S. stores also will be eliminated.
The Atlanta-based company said it notified this week about 2,200 employees who will be affected by the changes, which will result in about 1,000 job cuts. The switchover will be completed by May 1.
"We have an 'Aprons on the Floor' program, and this is part of it," said company spokesman Ron DeFeo, referring to the people on the sales floor, who wear bright-orange work aprons. "The goal of the program essentially is to add three full-time associates to the sales floor in each store."
Home Depot will create 230 district teams that will each have a district human-resources manager and three people reporting to that person. "We go from a structure with 2,200 employees to 1,000," Mr. DeFeo said."
OK - I don't mean to go off on a rant here, but I offer up the following observations to the slashing of field HR people at Home Depot:
1. When it comes to service in the stores, the start of the slide is widely held to be the arrival of past CEO Robert Nardelli from GE, not the HR folks who tried to hold it all together when the productivity metrics starting raining from the skies (not that there's anything wrong with that).
2. The former head of HR, Dennis Donovan, got a golden parachute worth 19 million in 2006 to go away. Nice. Guess what? He wasn't at the store level.
3. I've been asked to refer people for the store positions before, and was told the HRM slot pays around 50-60K a year. With that in mind, the reductions are worth about 1.5 FTE in staffing. Hardly enough to save the day, from a customer service standpoint, in your standard big box, Home Depot.
So, if centralization is the new thing, call it that. Don't tell me that cutting the HR presence is key to putting aprons on the floor.
If only Donovan was around to help with the outplacement of those affected... Surely Tony Stewart will weigh in with his thoughts...