John F. Lawrence's Dec. 14 column, "In Takeovers, Human Toll Often Ignored," was on target and touched on what is becoming an issue of major significance. The work force is feeling ignored if not outright abused. There have been sufficient numbers of mergers and acquisitions in recent years to raise the consciousness of employees, who are much more aware of their rights and are becoming vocal in demanding them.
As a consequence, we may be headed toward legislation that would mandate that employers have a major responsibility to help employees find new jobs. Such legislation would, no doubt, set forth strict guidelines.
Many organizations do take a humanistic approach to dealing with termination and utilize outplacement consulting services to provide concrete support. Less enlightened management, however, still cannot see the value of spending money on people who are leaving. Businesses benefit from outplacement by publicly establishing themselves as organizations that take responsibility for their employees through specific support and assistance in the job market. Let us hope that management, rather than the federal government, will take the lead in establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with the labor force. A company's ability to hire and keep good people will be directly related to its demonstration of real concern for employees.