Radio Shack laid off 400 workers from its labor force yesterday. Perhaps taking their role as a technology company too seriously, they notified the workers of their termination by e-mail:
RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts.
Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: “The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.” …
Derrick D’Souza, a management professor at the University of North Texas, said he had never heard of such a large number of terminated employees being notified electronically. He said it could be seen as dehumanizing to employees. “If I put myself in their shoes, I’d say, ‘Didn’t they have a few minutes to tell me?”’ Prof. D’Souza said.
Consumers may want to rethink their loyalty to Radio Shack after this decision. If this is how they treat their employees, imagine what Radio Shack thinks of their customers.
It’s an inexcusable business decision. Managers who lack the fortitude to communicate terminations directly should not serve in that capacity. I can tell you from long experience how upsetting a termination can be for the manager involved, but in well over a decade of management, I have never once been tempted to do it by mail, e-mail, or semaphore. Even the worst employees deserve to have their manager take the time to sit down with them and explain the decision to terminate employment.
I doubt this will get very wide press coverage, or even generate much comment or criticism in today’s business climate. The professionals I know as my peers would be embarrassed to be associated with such a heartless and cruel method of downsizing for any reason, but shame appears to be waning as a quality in direct proportion to the waxing of mindless impersonality.