Layoffs etiquette: Microsoft, others show how not to cut jobs

There is no good way to eliminate thousands of jobs. But as recent layoffs in technology and banking have shown, there are better and worse ways to do it. That’s not just for the layoffs themselves, but also for what the company is doing at the same time.

Microsoftfor its part, warmed up this week for hosting an exclusive party in Davos where attendees enjoyed a live performance by Sting on Tuesday night, as Wall Street Journal reported. It’s unclear what the company paid the performer, but $500,000 not surprising.

The next day, the company announced it laying off 10,000 people. CEO Satya Nadella sent an email to employees when the news broke, reading, “We will treat our people with dignity and respect, and act transparently. These decisions are difficult, but necessary.” But the private Sting performance held so close to the devastating announcement undoubtedly hurt.

“I’m a big fan of Satya Nadella, but this is a seriously bad symbol of the executive,” tweet Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School and author of The End of Competitive Advantage.

on Salesforce this month, staff were called to an all-hands meeting a day after the company announced layoffs affecting 8,000 employees. Many attendees were stunned, however, when CEO Marc Benioff avoids questions about layoffs and instead gave a two-hour speech that many considered rambling. In an internal Slack channel, Reported by the insiderone employee wrote, “Is Marc picking on today’s 47,600+ employees by talking in circles and avoiding the topic at hand?”

on Twitter, thousands have been laid off after Elon Musk’s messy takeover. Many are sent in an email signed only by the company who is reading“It is with regret that we are writing to inform you that your role on Twitter has been affected,” and then had to wait months for their official dismissal agreements, which came fell short of their expectations. Even worse, the agreements are emailed through a third-party service in what appears to be a phishing attempt.

“Difficult decisions have to be made from time to time. Quick decisions too. But there must always be a place for humanity in the process,” Gemma Dale, founder of HR firm Work Consultancy, tweet after deleting Twitter.

on Goldman Sachs this month, employees showed up to seemingly routine meetings—that they were sent calendar invitations—instead of discovering that they had lost their jobs. As one worker told the New York Post in the experience of one colleague, the “meeting was placed on his calendar under false pretenses.”

Asked about the tactic, the bank, which laid off 3,200 workers this month, shared a statement on luck read: “We know this is a difficult time for people to leave the company. We are grateful for all the contributions of our people, and we provide support to ease their changes.

luck also reached out to Microsoft, Twitter, and Salesforce but did not receive immediate responses.

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