You commute to the office only to find your security badge no longer works.
You log on to your work computer and are denied access.
A pre-dawn email arrives that you miss — especially if it’s sent ahead of a major holiday.
A dispassionate Zoom call is held with hundreds of people.
You get an automated call.
Or — surprise! — you get a severance payment for the job you thought you still had.
When it comes to mass layoffs, there seems to be no end to the worst, most bungled ways in which some employees first learn they are being let go. These all involve organizations blindsiding employees, leaving people feeling like their years of service and dedication meant nothing.
“People have to feel they’re being treated with respect,” said Sarah Rodehorst, CEO of Onwards HR, an offboarding technology platform for human resources, legal and finance teams. “[Some companies] treat the offboarding process like a transaction instead of a personal communication with people.”
One recent example of poorly communicated job cuts came last week when Google parent Alphabet laid off 12,000 people, first by a pre-dawn email and then by locking them out of the company’s systems and disabling security badges, according to multiple reports from former employees. (Google declined to comment, pointing instead to a blog post from the CEO on the day of the layoffs.)
As layoffs pick up across several sectors this year — on the heels of Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Stitch Fix and others that have recently pared their headcounts — employers should give as much consideration to how they deliver the news as they do to all the financial, legal and HR components of a mass layoff, Rodehorst advised.
Otherwise, poor communication and mistakes resulting from a failure to communicate last-minute changes