Imagine showing up to work one morning to a locked door and a notice on the window announcing that your location had been closed down. This is exactly what happened to 900 Best Buy and Future Shop employees earlier this year. On January 31st, over a dozen retail outlets across Canada were closed unexpectedly and hundreds of employees were suddenly left jobless.
The move was based on a need to downsize to reduce costs. However, it is not the decision to close the locations that is being called into question –
it is the manner by which employees were notified of the closing. Catching an entire employee population by surprise with something of this nature is never best practice.
In a similar case earlier this month, the CEO ofThe Daily Voice emailed his employees about his resignation and promised that “good news would follow.” However, a few days later they received a notice that several locations were being closed and that many staff were being laid off.
By not providing employees sufficient warning or explanation it is clear that both organizations did not handle their downsizing appropriately. In doing so, they made themselves vulnerable towards having resentful employees, a damaged public reputation, and the potential inability to recruit top talent in the future.
As employers, there are still valid concerns tied to informing employees of the need to downsize and reduce the number of employees. The well known HMV fiasco from a couple months ago serves as a prime example. In this case, an employee began making public announcements on the company twitter feed that people were being let go using the hash-tag #HmvXFactorFiring. So how can companies avoid this negative impact? Here is a list of some HR best practices to keep in mind.
What experts say they should have done:
“If you’re outsourcing, changing focus or trying to cut costs, let employees know. They’re also more likely to be committed to help turn around the company if they understand the reasons – and if you take the power out of the rumour mill.” - Dr. Nita Chhinzer from the University of Guelph
Need help resolving challenging employee issues, including terminations? Clear Path offers immediate access to experienced, local HR professionals with our HR “On Demand” service. Simply pick up the phone and talk to an expert in HR best practices. You can expect clear, concise, and simple explanations that will expedite resolution of your issue and protect your company from liability.
Contact Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org or (519) 624-0800.
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