Layoffs or Not, How Some Ways Companies Let Employees Go

by · 14 comments

Layoffs are never pleasant, but there are some layoff procedures that just makes you feel even worst. I’ve heard of a few recently that caught my attention as either unique, disastrous, or both. Here they are and hopefully business owners can read this and understand how these layoffs not only burn bridges, they actually affect productivity for the people that stay on board.

  1. The One by One – This is a crazy method which will sure kill your employee’s moral. Some companies will fire one person each hour for that day, one by one, until they are done with the layoffs. You might be saying good bye to your long term friend and showing sympathy one hour and be booted yourself the next.
  2. The Yes and No Rooms – During the dot com bust, floors of buildings were being laid off. One of the least humane ways of layoffs are when everyone would be asked to go to two rooms, where they would wait to see whether they were the room that stays or the one that needs to leave.
  3. My Keys Were Changed – Some companies would just change the security code to prevent you from even enter the building when you get to the office in the morning. I mean, come on. Can’t you even save me some gas by telling me the day before?
  4. Just Quit Already – Some supervisors don’t have the guts to tell people that they are being laid off and instead do everything they can to get you to quit.
  5. Make Them Fight for It – I didn’t think this was done in reality but my friend told me that her employer asked two people to go into the room and told them that one person is going to be let go and for the two to give reasons why he/she should be the one staying. I sincerely wish that those people who do this end up losing all the good employees.
  6. Giving You the Chicken – Here’s some historic and culture sharing. Back in the old days when many people work for small businesses in Hong Kong, the owner would always treat all the employees for dinner during Chinese New Years. It is said that during the meal, the boss giving you the chicken leg means that you are fired. (I heard this from a TV show long ago and I can’t verify it now, but I remember believing the story at the time)
  7. The Only Kind That is Acceptable – Every employee should be told via a company get together in exactly what’s happening and each supervisor should have heart-to-heart talks with the employees separately and let them know honestly why they are being let go. If I spent 40+ hours working for you, I deserve to at least get an explanation.

It’s already bad that we are being laid off. Please don’t upset us even more by doing it the wrong way.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Willis says:

    How about being put on “Admin leave” while they supposedly “investigate” if u did anything wrong? Only they have u sit in the middle of the cubicle land for a week so all your co-workers ask “why they got u down here @ headquarters for a week?” Then you’re fired the next week. The red cross did this to me. I’m thinking didn’t they know right away if I committed a fire-able offense when I did it? Sure I did lots of stuff wrong but come on. Then when my lawyer asked why I was fired the official response was “I don’t know”. What a bunch of idiots.

  • alain smithee says:

    I remember Radio Shack firing a bunch of people via email and text message a number of years ago.

    As for me, my last retail manager was a letch who punished people by cutting their hours and scheduling them for split shifts in an effort to force them to quit, however, I still love the way the 18-year old admin clerk got him to leave her alone.

    Anne turned to this manager one night as we were closing the store after he had made repeated lewd innuendos and said, “I got your wife’s cell number from your personnel file earlier this week – if you don’t leave me alone, I’m going to call her with the number for a good divorce lawyer after I file sexual harassment charges against you”.

    He quickly left ALL of the women in the store alone after that.

  • Karen says:

    It is actually the chicken head. The person that the chicken head points to is the unlucky fellow that is fired. Therefore, the chicken dish in the New Year meal are always served with the head removed signify no one is fired.

  • Survival Insight says:

    If these companies used some basic skills of compassion then thy would surely have a much more effective and enthusiastic workforce

  • Jim Landis says:

    I think no matter how the company does it, morale goes down. I was let go using method #1. I came in on Monday, worked the morning, went for lunch, came back and at 1:30 was called into the director’s office where I was given the good word. My manager said he had no idea until 30 minutes before the director called me into his office. The kicker was that I was the only one in the systems group that was let go, so no one saw it coming.

    That was 2 months ago, and even though the team was given the “we’re done” green light, there is still a lot of uneasiness in the team

  • MITBeta @ Don't Feed the Alligators says:

    “Make the fight for it.” If an employer ever pulled this with me, I would simply say, “If you don’t know what value I bring to this company, then I don’t WANT to work here. Goodbye.”

  • maki says:

    “sure kill your employee’s moral”

  • Steve C @ says:

    #5 above makes me think of The Apprentice and Donald Trumps board room. Never even heard of most of these methods of laying people off but I’m sure it happens.

  • Matt @ StupidCents says:

    I have heard of situations like Liz mentioned. Companies hire two or more applicants for 90 days and whoever performs the best during that time, continues on with their employment. I’m always curious what happens after. Will those employees be any better going forward now that they don’t have that competitive mindset?

    Thankfully, I have not been a part of any job termination situations.

  • Moneymonk says:

    I don’t think everyone is comfortable in doing the dirty work. However, it’s apart of life. All managers don’t have that skill, therefore, to go the the list you have displayed

  • Imani says:

    It is hard to believe the cruelty. I’d call it sadistic, actually. Sorry for all who are treated so. It is bad enough to lose one’s job without also being stripped of dignity.

    I wouldn’t work for any company employing those tactics. You did well to leave and I’ll bet you haven’t regretted it.

  • Liz says:

    Like MoneyStand, I was put through the “two rooms” test but I was hired. When me and this other girl got the job, the supervisor told us that one of us would leave in 3 months. What a way to motivate us.

  • CD Rates says:

    I experienced a situation where one of the “almost” founding employees was let go. He had been there for twenty years. They gave him a box, walked him to his desk, watched him like a hawk, and then escorted him out. Give me a break. That was the straw that broke the camels back. That is when I left the company.

    People deserve dignity. People deserve to say good-bye. That was just plain wrong.

  • MoneyStand says:

    Some of those reasons are hilarious, I went for an interview once like point 2, it was like x factor where they would split you in to two rooms and one would go home. It was so cruel 🙁 lol

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