From ‘we won’t lay off’ to ‘we might lay off’

From 'we won't lay off' to 'we might lay off'

Back in April, when the coronavirus crisis was in its early stages, a group of 5,000-plus companies launched a manifesto entitled “We won’t lay off,” vowing to maintain all of their jobs for at least two months. This promise has expired and several signatories are rethinking their pledge, as economic conditions further deteriorate. Private bank Santander Brasil, for example, is reportedly “reassessing teams’ productivity levels” as in “any other business.”

The group estimates that around 2 million jobs were saved during the past two months thanks to the initiative — a count expected to get significantly lower. Still, organizers believe they are helping to shape new relationship dynamics between business owners and employees, as well as between companies. “[The biggest legacy] is cooperation,” said Daniel Castanho, one of the movement’s creators, to magazine Exame. “This time around, we won’t see each company thinking exclusively about their own interests or hoping for government aid.”

Over the next few days, the “We won’t lay off” group will launch a mentoring platform for small business owners, in partnership with Microsoft and CI&T. Over 60 percent of the companies who joined the movement have fewer than 200 staff members. The idea is to create new management models and train business owners on how to administer new work structures imposed by the pandemic — such as remote working, for instance. Mr. Castanho says that “all companies will have to rethink their business model in the near future.”

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