Brian Chesky lays off 1,900 Airbnb staff . . . like an actual human being

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It’s a brutal time for travel, and Airbnb is no exception. It’s laying off 1,900 people, 25% of its staff. But the way that CEO Brian Chesky did it is exemplary — with compassion and a clear explanation. There was no way that Airbnb would survive the pandemic unscathed. Revenue had been cut in half. … Continued

The human (and inhuman) approach to layoffs

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Millions of people are losing their jobs. That means corporations need to inform them they’re out of work. Carta did its layoffs well, while Bird behaved abominably. Bird shows how a corporation can behave like an ass There’s not much demand for sidewalk scooter rentals right now. As a result, the scooter company Bird laid … Continued

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tells the truth (mostly) about layoffs

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In a layoff, a company gets rid of people to boost profits. Everyone knows it; no one ever actually says it. Except Elon Musk. Rather than using corporate layoff doublespeak like downsize, rightsize, and RIF (reduction in force), why not tell the truth? Take a look at what Musk said and how he said it. Tesla’s stock price took a … Continued

Tesco layoff announcement begs the question “Is there a good way to say ‘You’re all fired?’ “

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UK retailer Tesco laid off 1,200 people, one-quarter of its headquarters staff. Its layoff announcements have become perfunctory and heartless. Should we praise the company’s honesty? Here’s the public statement from Tesco, as reported in The Independent: This is a significant next step to continue the turnaround of the business. This new service model will … Continued

Ford, where euphemisms are Job 1

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PR people, if you have something unpleasant to say, just say it. Hiding it behind euphemisms doesn’t fool anyone. Today’s case study: Ford’s plan to lay off 10% of its staff, which it calls a “people efficiency action.” According to a Wall Street Journal article, Ford will cut 10% of its global workforce to boost profits, with … Continued

A play-by-play analysis of what ESPN said about firing 100 on-air personalities

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Sports network ESPN dumped 100 of its 1,000 on-air staff yesterday. Why? Based on the company’s statement it has something to do with strategy, but if you can figure out what that strategy is, you’re smarter than me. The statement seems like something from the Russian government published in Pravda — you need to be a Kremlinologist … Continued

Problematic oversharing in a post from Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne

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Joel Gascoigne, CEO of social media tool startup Buffer, shared a 3500-word post in which he explains why he’s laying off 10 of his 94 employees. In contrast to bloodless posts from the likes of Intel and Microsoft, it indulges a different sin: oversharing. A lot of my correspondents forwarded Gascoigne’s post to me, hoping … Continued

Satya Nadella is “deeply” conflicted about laying off 7,800 people

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Letting people go in bunches varies from bad to dreadful. You can’t make it right with clear language, but you can certainly make it worse. On the heels of Satya Nadella’s excellent mission statement email, he had to dump 7,800 staff, mostly because of Steve Ballmer’s ill-conceived decision to acquire Nokia’s phone business. I’d give Nadella’s layoff … Continued