How to handle Layoff’s

Was reading a post on David Maister’s blog about the method in which Pfizer may or may not be using email to let their workforce know if they are part of the 2000 employees being let go. The post got me to thinking about using technology (e.g., email) to communicate a message such as this to employees.

During the time I spent managing/leading teams within Corporate America, I was involved in “laying off” 24 people from my team. Within the company, I was the only manager that would sit down with each person to tell them that they were no longer employed. Sure, I could have taken the easy road and let HR handle everything (like most other managers did), but I feel like the people that are let go deserve to have a few minutes to hear a respectful and honest communication about the reason that they are being let go. If a leader cannot spend a few minutes with the members of their team that are to be let go, then in my view, that person is not a leader.

Using email to communicate this type of message is irresponsible and unprofessional IMO. Irregardless of how many people are involved, all communication of this sort should be handled via a face-to-face meeting. Is our society so adverse to experiencing human emotions that we must use technology to tell people that their lives have changed forever?

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