Autos

Ford to Cut Underperforming Workers, but CEO Remains

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has come up with a novel idea. Underperforming white-collar workers can take a buyout or they can be trained to achieve better. Why not just fire people? It appears to be a thinly veiled PR stunt to lay off people without saying the company wants to cut costs. To make matters more confusing, the worst performing person at Ford, CEO Jim Farley, will not be trained to improve his job performance.

Ford managers decide who is performing well and who is not. According to The Wall Street Journal, these managers will single out white-collar workers based on their job performance. The system is complex. Mostly people who have been with Ford for eight or more years will be part of the program. Usually, the longer someone has been at a company, the more they are paid for the job they do. These people also tend to be older. That makes Ford look bad.

The report says the “enhancement” plans to improve performance can take four to six weeks. If people do not improve, they do not get the severance. The training programs can be an “intense period of work.” It seems people who want to keep their jobs would do that.

On a 10-point performance scale with 10 as the best, CEO Jim Farley gets a 2. Ford’s stock is down 37% this year. The company spent $1 billion more than expected last quarter. Management at one of the world’s largest car companies should have seen the problem much earlier than they did.


Ford also did not figure out what some components of its electric vehicles would cost when it announced what consumers would have to pay for them. So, after the fact, it raised the prices of the F-150 Lightning and the Mustang Mach-E by thousands of dollars each.

Ford cannot make the excuse that Farley is new to his job and needs more training. He has been chief executive since October 2020 and held a number of senior management jobs before that.

The next time Ford wants to announce a program for underperformers, it should ask who might be on the list before starting.

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