Radio Shack is has laid off approximately 400-450 employees at their headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, and is in the process of cutting more of their fat by closing down 500 retail stores. The notice to employees in the headquarters layoff came via their company e-mail. There were a series of meetings pre-layoff that warned of the upcoming terminations.
On Tuesday, August 29th, those warnings became reality as 400 to 450 employees signed into their company e-mail just to find an electronic pink slip. The goal was apparently speed. Getting approximately 400 to 450 people notified they wouldn’t need to return to work the next day. Spokeswoman Kay Jackson said, “The electronic notification was quicker and allowed more privacy than breaking the news in person.”
Seeing 400 people filing down halls with their personal items cleaned out of their desks doesn’t exactly have an overtone of privacy. If anything, it’s the corporate equivalent of “walking the green mile.” Coffee bars were set up on each floor, and laid-off Radio Shack employees met with supervisors and human resources personnel before leaving. Complimentary boxes and plastic bags were also distributed for employees to pack their personal belongings in. The employees that were let go were allowed 30 minutes to make calls and say goodbye to co-workers before they met with supervisors and human resources.
I can’t help but have a visual of men and women filing down long halls with photos of their families and personal decorations from cubicles in small waste basket bags. Laid off employees were also given severance pay. Three weeks pay for each year of service, up to 16 weeks for hourly employees and 36 weeks for those with base bay of at least $90,000. I wonder, if they had time to meet with laid off employees after they were let go, why didn’t they have time to lay off the employees in the same manner?
If anything, Radio Shack’s hands-off approach to laying off employees was cold and calculated. Radio Shack knew in February they would have a massive lay off, yet no one had the time to let the employees that would be getting laid off know in person. Since February, there could have been a gradual lay off, making the process more personal and allowing those headed for unemployment to take on a plan of action.
Radio Shack headquarters reported that the lay-off process went smoothly and terminated employees left professionally. The fact that they didn’t have the decency to notify these people in person at any of the many meetings previous to the actual layoff, I suspect that Radio Shack wouldn’t report anyone giving them the finger on the way out, either.