Hy-Vee CEO says ‘This Office Does Nothing’ Referencing Layoffs
Last week, initial reports surfaced of layoffs happening at the Hy-Vee corporate offices in West Des Moines.
According to KCCI, "most of the cuts were in the marketing and information technology departments, both remote and in the 'Helpful Smiles Technology' center in Grimes."
It's since been released that 121 people were laid off from their positions.
Due to the public backlash, Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker felt the need to address employees of the grocery chain, sharing a 12-minute video on the company's training, employment, and HR site, Hy-Vee Huddle. He specifically discussed what the corporate office workers brought to the table:
The reality is, and I never lose sight of the fact, this office does nothing.
He also pointed to the fact that in an attempt to fill 10,000 available retail positions, the company offered 102 of the 121 laid-off employees store manager jobs. He claimed he found it 'offensive' that any Hy-Vee employee would not want to work on the floor at the store level:
We started looking at where do we need to cut back in this office and shove people back out into retail. Our retail stores are the heart of Hy-Vee, and some people just simply see it being beneath them to work at the retail stores. I think it's crazy, and I think that it's offensive.
Some people that we've moved out, we've offered them jobs. They don't want to take our jobs. They don't like our jobs. They don't want to work at retail, and if they don't want to work at retail, frankly, I don't want them to be a part of the company, and that's OK.
Several former employees from the Helpful Smiles Technology center in Grimes reached out to the Des Moines Register to share that "they were not offered other positions in the company."
The Register added, "All three employees said they instead received a list of other companies that partner with Hy-Vee to ask about open positions."
In regards to the 19 people who were not offered positions, Edeker stated that ten of them worked remotely and not in regions where the grocer is located. He added this about the collective group:
We were given a list of people that our leaders of IT felt were not helping, that they were not good for the company, so we asked them to leave.