According to Manager Tools, Radio Shack recently laid off 400 employees via email. Is this a sign that we live in a time that it is acceptable to terminate employment via email, or is it a case of poor judgment?
I think the latter. How can you possibly justify such weak leadership and lack of integrity? Were they too afraid to face 400 employees and tell them that their services were no longer required, or were they too afraid to deal with the issue face-to-face?
I am sure that the author of the above cartoon was being tongue-in-cheek about our modern world, and how email has become core to our ability to communicate, but how sad it is that the author was so close to the truth.
Imagine arriving at work, switching your PC on and checking your email, only to find an email effectively telling you to clear your desk. Being laid off is a frightening experience for many people, but it does very little for your ego that they didn’t even bother saying so face to face.
I have to ask what sort of example you are setting for the employees that remain behind. What sort of respect or faith will they have in their managers (or dare I say it, leaders).
Radio Shack have broken several of the key rules of leadership, namely to act with honesty, respect and integrity towards your employees.
Be honest as to what is happening.
Treat the employees with respect, and like human beings. It is a very difficult time for them, and they need to be treated respectfully and with dignity. Explain what is happening and why. Give them an opportunity to respond, and explain what the future options are.
According to Encarta, integrity means "the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards". In other words, act professionally and treat everybody like people, and not machines.
I hope that this is a once-off occurrence, and is not an indication of things to come.
In closing, I have to wonder what poor management decisions from the past have led to Radio Shack having to lay off the employees in the first place.