Social Media Is Forcing the Totally Transparent Layoff

Recently two of my CEO friends have had HR issues involving Facebook.  That got me to thinking a bit about the intersection of layoffs and social media.  Along these lines, check out this blurb from an article on

As the recent downsizing at Yahoo demonstrates, the once-private process of giving pink slips is becoming increasingly public, whether a firm likes it or not. The combination of social media technology such as Twitter—where people post updates about themselves online at—and a cultural shift toward greater personal disclosure means more and more employees will document details of their dismissal.


David Keuning‘s insight:

I love this quote from the article:  “People tweet, people blog, people text. You are going to have a completely transparent workplace at all times. You can’t really spin it.”   My takeaway?  As CEO, you need to be the communicator.  That means staying ahead of the rumor mill.  Companies need to be candid.  Stand by your decisions and share the rational for your actions.

See the full article here:

And for some entertainment, check out this “oops” on Don’t Fire An Employee and Leave Them in Charge of the Twitter Account.

HMV, the beleaguered British entertainment retailer, laid off 190 employees, in an effort to cut costs and right its balance sheet. The company apparently pulled a large group into human resources and gave them the bad news. While this was going on, one employee, Poppy Rose, who had been an HMV community manager and thus had access to the corporate Twitter account, started live tweeting about the layoffs. (From


David Keuning‘s insight:

Ouch.  I feel such chagrin when I read about unhappy employees using corporate tools against the company itself.  In this case, it certainly seems that the company dropped the ball by not turning off Twitter access prior to the announcement. (And that HMV apparently didn’t know how to revoke her privileges demonstrates a lack of attention to detail.  My though is “so sad it’s funny”.) On the other hand, the employee who tweeted the whole mess didn’t seem to be acting in the best interest of her employer.   Would you hire this person to run a social media campaign for your company?

And here are some no-nonsense tips for handling layoffs (before, during and after) on the website: How to Conduct a Layoff.  The article rightly points out that layoffs are stressful for employees and leaders alike.  I know letting people go has been one of the most personally stressful things that I’ve had to do.

And finally, here is a blog post chronicling the history of terminations related to social media.

More on hiring, firing and the impact of social media to come.

Aloha and best regards,


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