No layoffs. Just a seasonal employee program?
Over the course of the last few months, we've received several emails from readers that The Scooter Store has been laying off employees. This was news to us. We thought The Scooter Store was in growth mode and that the company was hungry for ATPs.
We reached out to The Scooter Store in late December to ask the company if this was the case, and here's what Mike Pfister, an executive vice president, had to say:
"The power mobility business has seasonal cycles and the last few months of the year and the first few months of the new year are always slower than the rest of the year. For that reason, we implemented a seasonal employee program this spring that resulted in over a hundred new sales associates whose employment would be tied to the seasonal buying patterns. For the last two months, we have been reducing the size of our sales staff as seasonal buying is slowing down, consistent with the strategies that were put in place in the spring and consistent with the expectations we set for those employees when hired. That is the only program we have related to staffing at this time beyond normal staffing changes that all business experience due to geographic shifts or internal productivity efforts."
No layoffs. Just a seasonal employee program? Naturally, we had some followup questions. Questions like:
- Can you quantify "slow"? Are we talking about a 5% reduction in business or a 25% reduction in business?
- What do they mean by sales associates? Are we talking about customer service reps or are we talking about ATPs?
- Are they saying that more than 100 sales associates have been hired to work exclusively as part of the seasonal program? Or were formerly full-time employees hired as seasonal sales associates?
- Under this new program, does the size of the traditional sales staff remain the same? Or is it bigger/smaller?
- What are the "normal staffing changes that all businesses experience due to geographic shifts or internal productivity efforts"? What staffing changes have been made?
Unfortunately, The Scooter Store declined to comment further. Mark Leita, vice president, external affairs and government relations, said:
"As in any well run business, we are constantly working to align costs with revenues. In 2010, we experimented with a seasonal work program that provided employees the flexibility to work more hours during busy months and fewer during slower business months. All other information requested is considered proprietary."