Time Inc.'s Painfully Slow Layoffs

We asked earlier for tips about layoffs at Time Inc.'s Essence, and have since heard about 12 people were let go — around 10 from marketing and business and two from editorial. A shared services group on the same floor, which services several magazines, lost four more. It's been nearly a month now of watching Time Inc. layoffs unfurl, and we can't help but wonder if the magazine group might not have spared survivors some pain and the company some bad publicity by executing a little faster.

We know, Time Inc. had (literally) 10,000 staffers, and a decentralized management structure, so these things are bound to take some time. But speculation about cutbacks was rife months before word finally surfaced, so executives had time to plan. Shouldn't a Harvard MBA like Ann Moore be able to move more quickly than this?

The layoff news has come in dribbles and drabs, title by title. First was the big announcement. Then People asked for 18 U.S. staff to take buyouts. Then Time Inc. Europe staff in London got some uncertain news about "at least" 20 layoffs at four European titles. Then today Entertainment Weekly outright fired 22 staff, with no buyout volunteers solicited. Now the 12 at Essence. And who knows how big the shared services layoffs are (we only know about one floor).

How about this: Plan the layoffs in advance, discreetly, and do them all at once, so you get ONE news cycle of bad press, and as little employee hand-wringing as possible.

Otherwise this could go on for nearly an entire year!