STAYING ALIVE

Headquartered in Kansas City, Hallmark Cards is a major company.  Like every major company, Hallmark has been encountering its share of economic and business challenges.  Much of this translates to its employment figures.

At various peaks, the Kansas City headquarters had 5,600 workers, a national headcount of 13,500, and a global headcount of 21,500.  With ongoing reductions, when Hallmark enters 2014, those numbers will be at 3,100, 6,800, and 11,000 respectively.

Many business conditions have changed and that is the reason for the significant reduction in Hallmark’s payroll.  Although Hallmark tried to accommodate these changing business conditions via strategy revision, worker attrition, and worker reassignment, job cuts finally had to be performed.  The greeting card industry simply is not what it used to be.  Donald Hall Jr. (CEO) summarizes the company’s status (Diane Stafford, “Hallmark Changes to Face New Realities” The Kansas City Star, November 17, 2013, pp. A1, A23):

‘Hallmark is a different company than it was five years ago.  . . . We’ve made difficult decisions.  We’ve wrestled with unavoidable people decisions.  We had to do it to stay viable.’” (p. A23)

As difficult as all that was and is, I appreciate Hall’s expression of commitment to the bigger picture.  He obviously understands these job cuts were necessary for company viability.

Every company constantly faces these pressures.  Doing the right thing by any given employee will often be the wrong thing in the bigger picture of the company.  We can either selectively eliminate jobs so the company has an opportunity to retool for the future, or we can keep everyone’s jobs intact regardless of the costs, and then watch the company go bankrupt.  This has always been the case throughout the history of business.

Although these situations are never easy, the decisions cannot be made based on the hard and the easy.  The decisions have to be made based on the right and the wrong.





About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, a blogger, and a University of Phoenix Associate Faculty member. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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