Cerner's layoffs vital but don't reflect future plans, CEO Dr. David Feinberg says

Cerner CEO David Feinberg, MD, acknowledged that the vendor's latest round of layoffs affect the employees being let go as well as the employees who remain because they fear what's coming next, but said he is supportive of the move, according to a third quarter earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha on Oct. 29.

Dr. Feinberg was asked about Cerner's decision to lay off 150 employees in November during the company's quarterly earnings call.

"When you lay off a person, you're actually not laying off a person, you oftentimes are impacting an entire family, so I like to multiply any layoff in my mind by four or five about how many people are being affected, and I think it's terrible," Dr. Feinberg said.

He said laying off employees is often a reflection of managers not predicting where the business is going and not retraining employees in areas that are growing. Dr. Feinberg said layoffs also affect employees who remain at the organization because they have "survivor guilt" and fear for what's coming next.

"Going forward, we will be more disciplined about thinking about where our business is going and how we can retrain our folks to be best positioned to help us as we're going forward," Dr. Feinberg said. "There's no way we're going to shrink our way to greatness, so while these are some immediate measures and I think they are corrective and I am supportive of them, they don't fit with my philosophy going forward."

Cerner previously told Becker's that its hybrid work approach will be delayed until the middle of October. Dr. Feinberg said Cerner plans to bring employees back into the office after Jan. 1, 2022.

"I don't want to be overly optimistic, but it seems like there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel," Dr. Feinberg said.

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