Anytime someone is called into their manager’s office or told to meet their manager in HR, I have to think there is a sinking feeling in their gut. I happen to have witnessed this sinking feeling on the faces and in the words of employees who were being terminated when I worked in Human Resources. Communicating bad news like this is routinely unpleasant. But as unpleasant as this must be for managers or those who have worked in HR, it is inconsequential to the impact it has on employees hearing the words, “you are fired.” I don’t believe there is ever a “good” way to deliver such news and I am aware of all those experts out there recommending when and how to deliver such bad news. Recently, however, I was reading accounts of employees who have been fired by email and other poorly considered approaches, But one that takes the cake for me goes back a few years and involves a manager who appears to have fired one of his employees by Fax. Yes! You heard me right–by fax. It’s hard for me to fathom how this manager could come to the conclusion that this was a good way to communicate such bad news. I believe that firing is always a failure of one type or another and will develop this in further posts. This case, however, is near-epic in its failure to show any dignity or respect to the employee. Even bad employees still need to be treated with respect and this act demonstrated very little, as I understand the facts of the event.
Unfortunately, I suspect there are other examples out there and would love to hear from those former employees. If you know of someone, point them to this blog. Help me tell stories that need to be told and need to be told. Thanks.