RadioShack terminates 400+ people via e-mail
What's going on here? RadioShack had announced earlier this month that they were going to trim some 400 to 450 jobs, so any news regarding this should have been expected. But what wasn't expected was the way they went about notifying the employees who were being terminated.
Employees who were effected by this round of layoffs at RadioShack's Fort Worth headquarters came to work Tuesday morning to find an e-mail message informing them that they were being terminated effective immediately.
According to Strategic HR Lawyer, the e-mail contained the following information:
"The workforce reduction notification is currently in progress...unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."
A letter from the boss like this doesn't exactly make one's day.
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.
Workers who were terminated reportedly got severance of one to three weeks pay for each year of service, but management experts were surprised at RadioShack's use of electronic notification instead of the customary face-to-face meetings with supervisors.
One wag stated that this might be the new way they do things in Texas, but Frank McLaughlin, chairman of McSearch Personnel Consultants in Dallas, saw things differently. "Traditionally in Texas, people are dismissed in a face-to-face meeting," said McLaughlin. "It's not customary, not socially acceptable to some to do it over e-mail, but it's legal."
Derrick D'Souza, a management professor at the University of North Texas, said "If I put myself in their shoes, I'd say, 'Didn't they have a few minutes to tell me?'"
RadioShack spokeswoman Kay Jackson said the electronic notification was quicker and allowed more privacy than breaking the news in person. "It was important to notify people as quickly as possible," she said. "They had 30 minutes to collect their thoughts, make phone calls and say goodbye to employees before they went to meet with senior leaders."
Employees met with supervisors and human resources personnel before leaving. At coffee bar areas on each floor, the company provided boxes and plastic bags for employees to pack their personal belongings.
"Things went very smoothly. Everyone left very graciously and very professionally," Jackson said.
RadioShack is not the first company to let workers go in this way. Accounting firm Arthur Anderson laid off 7,000 employees in 2002 as a result of their "housekeeping" role in the Enron debacle. Many of their employees were told through e-mails to check their job status on their voicemails.
There have been comments on this type of firing, and some feel that it's indicative of the time in which we live. E-mail is how we communicate with our bosses, and how they communicate with us. We do business by e-mail, and some of us update our blogs via email messaging. One person admited that she had broken up with her boyfriend via e-mail.
Is this a new trend: the e-Dear-John letter?
It should be noted that shares of RadioShack (ticker: RSH) rose 10 cents, to $18.02 in trading Wednesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. Granted that they have had some hard times lately, with sales down, and the price of their common stock down from the $20 range in early April to a low of less than $14 in June, though it has since rebounded.
Sometimes it's better to not ask how results are obtained.
You've got mail, it's not Spam. No, it's your pink slip.