MAN Diesel in Frederikshavn recently annnounced the need to lay off 400 employees. The factory was named employer of the year 2006 by a leading professional organization, something that attracted special attention to how the company would handle the situation. And MAN Diesel certainly stood up to the challenge. The company engaged in a true “social” approach to the problem: they created a “job-dating” event, announced through television and newspaper ads, as well as targeted invitations to other companies in the area.
The event as such was a great success, with more than 300 employees and more than 20 potential employers, including Vestas, Densit, Hydra Tech A/S, Aalborg Industries, Vestergaard Marine Service A/S, Dania Jernstøberi, Hj Lubricators A/S, Translyft, Danish Yacht, Soft & Teknik, KA Maskinteknik and RM Stål.
This is a great example of how a networking / social approach can be applied to difficult change process. In stead of keeping the lay-off process as quiet as possible (as most companies would probably have done) – MAN utilizes the sympathy and resources of the external enviroment to solve the puzzle. In essence, what MAN did was to bridge relationships, using its social capital and credibility as a major industrial player and employer of the year.