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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

AKC layoffs blow

Featured Written by Our Dogs - 17/10/20

The Kennel Club in the UK is affected like everyone else in the world by the Coronavirus and its implications. A large number of Kennel Club staff have been furloughed and the remainder are working from home.

The American Kennel Club has been similarly affected but their response has drawn criticism from some quarters. The Canine Chronicle magazine publisher Tom Grabe writes on the subject as follows: As many of you know, the American Kennel Club recently announced that it was laying off a significant portion of its staff. What you may not know is the staff had very little time to prepare since the cuts came quickly without much notice.

The letter from Dennis Sprung was sent along with another more general message to some in the fancy. You need to read them to understand what is happening at the organization that is supposed to be leading our sport through tough times. My first reaction, upon hearing about the layoffs, was, “I wonder if the president, vice presidents, and others in upper management took a pay cut?” Did the president forego his salary like so many other CEOs of companies large and small have done in recent days?

To my knowledge, the answer is a resounding ‘No’. The next question that came to mind is, “How is that favorable lease on the NYC offices working out now?” I have never been convinced that having upper management 500 miles from the bulk of staff and operations is a winning game plan for a small company, but what do I know? I do know that nearly 25 years ago then-president Judy Daniels wanted to combine operations in Raleigh and she didn’t have a job for long. My guess is that the rent on those lovely NYC offices would certainly offset a good portion of the salaries cut on Friday. Beyond executive compensation and rents, I am sure there is some other ‘fat’ that could have been cut in an attempt to save the jobs of the loyal AKC employees who were furloughed.

I am sure a quick scan of the P&L and balance sheet would have given anyone with a basic knowledge of accounting and cash flow some options about where to find the funds to pay those people. I wonder how much money would be saved if the June and September delegate meetings were turned into conference calls or video conferences (done professionally as the big corporations and banks do)? Finally, the most disappointing part of this whole story, to me, is the way the furloughs were implemented. I know for a fact the AKC reps were told the news via conference call on Thursday – just 24 hours before the end of their careers at AKC. There was no two weeks notice, no severance pay, no real appreciation for their service.

The bonus was that they get to keep their health insurance through the end of April–in the middle of a historic pandemic… ‘thank you for your service; now you are on your own.’ This is no way to treat anyone who you have employed whether you like them or not. It says a lot about the management ethic at AKC. There are so many ways this could have been avoided. There are SBA loans with incentives to retain employees. Maybe AKC was not eligible, but if they were not, what about just taking out a loan to retain the employees you have for a month or two to see how these events develop, then make a decision? How about asking EVERYONE at AKC to take a small pay cut to help retain the employees being fired? How about showing some concern and empathy for the people you are sending away? I hope everyone in our sport understands what is happening at our beloved American Kennel Club.

The true test of a leader is how they react when things go south and AKC leadership has failed this test miserably. This article first appeared in The Canine Chronicle - www.caninechronicle.com

Read 896 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 April 2020


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