To survive this nasty Covid 19 surge facing businesses of all types, leaders must make decisions that hurt but are necessary. Keep the employees for the SBA PPP requirements regarding loan forgiveness, or furlough or let good employees go, so they can file unemployment claims? And what about termination decisions you make affecting just the few you wanted to eliminate anyway?
I am reminded of the term, “Play Nice!” when thinking about and planning for this possible reduction in staff for survival.
What did Mom say when we were kids?
When you were a kid, surely at one time or another, Mom reminded you to “play nice” when you got a bit rambunctious with your friends. I was reminded about this by Mark Wayman, a friend and reader, who applied this statement to his recruiting environment. He called out those people who focus upon executives who burned bridges with threats and lawsuits, instead of just picking up their toys and moving on after a bad business breakup.
My reminder to departing employees
Over the years, I have reminded departing employees in their exit interview that we should always, always both take the high ground and speak well of each other, since we never know when we will meet again under entirely different circumstances. And indeed, former employees (not necessarily disaffected or threatening in their departure) have shown up regularly as suppliers and customers in various companies in subsequent months and years.
There is no immediate gain in threats to an employee or by an employee.
[Email readers, continue here…] But there certainly is an immediate loss of respect and the start of a series of events that sometimes cannot be stopped. A threat of a lawsuit results in that person being immediately isolated and sometimes removed – if the employer believes there is enough evidence of misconduct or poor performance in the file to justify immediate termination.
Placing blame after the fact
Short of threats, bad-mouthing a former employer or employee is the worst possible behavior when considering the effect upon the corporate culture if the offender is the employer, and upon the person making the claim if by a former employee. The point is that no one wins in this kind of word war. And if it ever gets to a lawsuit, both parties lose a second time as the lawyers take control and costs escalate out of control.
Remember Mom’s advice
Mom’s advice is almost always right – for business as well as for personal relationships. Never strike out at anyone before first cooling off and thinking about the relative worth of the effort against the long-term gain or loss. The resulting effort will be surely muted and couched in a way that you’ll avoid retribution.