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How To Alienate Employees and Lose Loyalty

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Daniel Gross follows up an earlier column on dumb corporate cost cutting measures with a collection of items sent in by readers.

The desire to cut costs by saving or recycling paper clips aroused the most incredulity and anger. Former Bear Stearns employee B.B. recalls being given a bag of paper clips on his first day "with the explanation that the firm would never buy paperclips … This was on the direction of [legendary gazillionaire CEO] Ace Greenberg, and the company seemed almost proud of this inane cost-cutting measure." A former Bank of America investment-banking analyst recalls that the megabank "once told its employees to use paper clips instead of staples because paper clips could be re-used to save money." According to one correspondent, managers at a data center of a different firm were asked to "keep a listing (on a piece of paper) of each clip that we used, and the reason for the use!"

Ugh. There might even be an LBO signal here. When a corporation is uncreative enough to seek savings by denying employees things like paper clips, it’s probably a good sign that management needs to go. If there’s any underlying value in the company, get rid of the guys eliminating the post-its—and their corporate cars too.
If you’ve got a good story of idiotic cost cutting, send it our way. Tips (at) DealBreaker (dot) com. We won’t tell anyone you told us.
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