Just When I Was Trying to Defend HR

I had plans to defend (well and do a little bit of mocking) HR today, but I’m afraid some HR VP has spent too many hours at the hairdresser and too little talking to actual humans.

Radio Shack just fired 400 people via e-mail.

Please, let us pause while I bang my head against my desk. Here is the company’s defense:

Company officials had told employees in a series of meetings that layoff notices would be delivered electronically, spokeswoman Kay Jackson said. She said employees were invited to ask questions before Tuesday’s notification on a company intranet site.

I, for one, am not impressed. We warned them to check their e-mail before, so it’s okay! And then we didn’t even provide a human to answer questions, we set up an intranet site. How progressive and technologically aware they must be at Radio Shack.

Radio Shack, you are not making Evil HR Lady’s job any easier. I am supposed to be the Evil HR person, not you. How can I be considered the authority on the evil side of HR when I would never imagine doing such a thing?

Here is what the e-mails said:

The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.

The thing that amazes me the most is this is not single person’s decision. There were meetings about this. Finance, HR, IS (remember–employees could ask questions on a website!) and the CEO had to agree to this. (Well, IS didn’t have to agree–they just had to carry out the plan.)

Of course, the CEO must be new at his job since their previous CEO resigned in February after “questions about his resume’s accuracy.” Oh my word, has Radio Shack’s HR department never heard of a background check?

I’m sorry, I have to end now before my blood pressure goes through the roof. What are the take away’s from today’s post?

1. Don’t work for Radio Shack. Sure the severance package was okay, but talk about tacky.
2. Do not fire via e-mail. I don’t care if you warned people in advance, just don’t do it.
3. I was concerned that after a few weeks I’d run out of material. Thanks to people like this, I can blog forever.

Related Posts

5 thoughts on “Just When I Was Trying to Defend HR

  1. Cheers to Radio Shack for at least paying severance, but really, to notify firings by e-mail just drives home the message that the company doesn’t even think of the employees on human terms, just numbers to shuffle on a bottom line. Spending a few minutes per person—or even per group—would have softened the blow considerably.

  2. I agree with ibn tumart. Being fired by email is almost like you never even existed–you were just a computer terminal.

  3. One of my co-workers said to me they should have just told everyone they were CVC–canned via computer.

  4. Wow. Talk about deja-vu. When I worked there managing a computer service center back in 1982-85, I also had the distinct feeling that they didn’t think of the employees on human terms. As Ibn Tumart said, we were just numbers to shuffle on the bottom line.

    People that I knew back then that were let go didn’t get any severance or anything. One day they were there, the next day they weren’t, like one of George Orwell’s “unpersons”.

    That was really when I started planning an exit strategy, and didn’t wait for the other shoe to drop when I sensed the hidden knives focused on my back in target acquisition mode.

    I was fortunate to have some outside income, single and no major debts, and I quit before they could find an excuse to get rid of me. When I escaped from that zoo in the spring of 1985, I never looked back.

    I guess that after nearly 22 years, the culture in upper management is still just as toxic as it was back then.

  5. It’s amazing to me that the culture hasn’t changed much in 22 years. You think they would have learned something along the line.

Comments are closed.

Are you looking for a new HR job? Or are you trying to hire a new HR person? Either way, hop on over to Evil HR Jobs, and you'll find what you're looking for.