*As company totally avoids paying off affected workers
with Agency report
Lagos — A leaked document has shown how ExxonMobil changed its employees ranking, forcing some of them to resign voluntarily.
According to a Business Insider and Forbes, the oil giant had changed its employee review process in April to let workers go without relying on the well-known traditional layoff method.
The oil price collapse had caused the company to report a first-quarter loss of $610 million, a 126% decrease from the same time period last year.
However, its CEO Darren Woods had put workers mind at rest when at its annual shareholder meeting in May, assured that the company would not ask workers to leave but it would cut relationship with contractors and service firms to reduce costs.
However, Business Insider cited two unnamed former employees as saying the change to the review process, which will likely lead to more performance-based cuts, is a way of terminating employees without announcing layoffs.
Exxon through the new review, categorised its employees based on their performance and employees at the lowest rank “Needs Significant Improvement” are at the risk of being terminated, according to the quoted internal documents.
In April, Exxon reportedly increased the number of employees required to be assigned to the “Needs Significant Improvement” category from a minimum of 3% to 8% and extended it to include new employees.
An Exxon representative told Forbes, “we do not have any plans for layoffs at this time, and we do not have a target to reduce headcount through our talent management process,” adding, “employees who need significant improvement are given a plan and opportunities to improve their performance.”
The documents show that people who have been at the company for less than two years were asked to leave the company if they are placed in the lowest ranking — as was the case for the two former employees who lost their jobs despite reportedly being told that they would not have to worry about the rankings initially because they were newly hired.
“Up until yesterday, I was not provided any constructive feedback or reason to believe my work would put me in the bottom bracket,” said one of the former employees, who was told he was in the bottom 8% and would be forced to resign. “Don’t let the performance metrics fool you. It was definitely a layoff.”
With the disguised layoff, interpretation of the document showed that the company, instead of paying off those affected, would now mean there would not be severance package for the former staff.
This is because when a company layoff staff because their position has been eliminated, the company is likely to offer severance pay if they can afford it.
However, in the case of Exxon when the review automatically forced some of the workers to resign for underperforming, it automatically takes off the duty of severance package off its neck.
Almost all oil majors had taken different tough actions amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic which had resulted oil price collapse.