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疫情下的裁员更应开放透明

疫情下的裁员更应开放透明

MICHAL LEV-RAM 2020年05月08日
不要等到裁员当天才把消息告诉大家,应该在之前一直保持信息透明。

裁员、精简或缩编,无论冠以何种名称,人员裁减历来都绝非令人愉快的过程。这不仅会对被解雇的人产生深远的、破坏性的影响,留下来的员工也会受到一定的影响。

但是有没有更好的裁员方式呢?裁员虽然痛苦,在企业经营过程中却无法避免。如果说哪一天我们可以在这方面进行创新,现在就是最恰当的时机。

COVID-19疫情导致大量裁员。据估计,美国的失业率目前正在飙升至15%以上。雇主们在裁减大量员工时已经预见到,这些员工将无从依靠。一些管理者(尤其是科技创业公司的管理者)也因此正在尝试寻找新的方法,减轻裁员给员工带来的打击。

总部位于西雅图的Textio是一家为企业提供人工智能“增强写作”服务的公司。该公司联合创始人兼首席执行官基兰•斯奈德说:“当我们意识到公司不得不进行调整时,我们会尽快就告诉了大家。在我们知道公司必须做出一些改变时,我们会提前一周告知全体员工。”

传统观念或者惯例是在裁员当天才宣布消息。但斯奈德对这种观念提出了挑战。虽说在当前的形式下,想要做出准确的商业预测很困难,但她说,关键是要将你所掌握和可以预见的情况与大家分享。这样可以让员工在实际上和情感上做好准备,让他们充分了解公司为什么要裁撤他们的岗位。

加州帕洛阿托的股权管理平台Carta的首席执行官亨利•沃德大约在启动裁员计划的五周以前,就开始向员工们宣传这场疫情可能给公司业务前景带来的影响。裁员前两周,他告诉员工,他无法想象如果不进行裁员公司可能面临的后果。“我想跟其他CEO说的是,不要等到裁员当天才把消息告诉大家,我们必须在裁员之前一直保持信息透明。”

当然,这在像Textio和Carta这样的私人控股公司更容易做到,因为这些公司往往规模小,不受股价波动的影响。尽管如此,即便是朝气蓬勃的科技初创公司,在裁员问题上历来也没有特别光荣的记录。

沃德表示:“许多创始人仍然认为,如果他们过早谈论裁员,将会影响员工的士气,导致生产率下降。”他在一个周五宣布了最终的裁员计划,并在五天后发布裁员名单。他承认:“的确,那个周五我们什么都没做,但实际上,在裁员前几周,生产率反而有所提高。”

沃德也的确说到,回想起来,他本可以缩短宣布裁员和实际实施裁员之间的间隔。但总的来说,他认为员工首先更愿意公司提前预警,让他们了解裁员的原因。(注:据最近媒体报道推测,Carta正在筹集新一轮资金;但该公司拒绝对传闻发表评论。)

沃德也摒弃了其他标准的裁员程序。这位首席执行官说:“我们让所有(被解雇的)雇员都保留了笔记本电脑,许多员工家里没有笔记本电脑。而且即使我们如果决定收回电脑的话,我们应该如何处理那150台已经留在IT员工家中的电脑呢?我们以很低的成本展示了公司的关怀。”

你知道技术部门对沃德的决定有何看法吗?是的,他们吓坏了。(出于安全原因,公司通常会要求离职员工在离职当天交回公司发放的设备。)但沃德说,他认为他们这样做,前雇员们实际上更有可能遵守安全协议,因为这一切都本着诚信善意的原则进行。

他解释说:“我们只是让员工们把笔记本电脑里的信息清除干净,截张图给我们看。”

让前雇员保留自己的笔记本电脑并没有给沃德带来任何损失。但是对于那些失业在家并且家里可能没有多余电脑的人们来说,这一举措意义重大。在当前的经济气候下,加上许多州(包括Carta和Textio所在的加州和华盛顿州)处于封锁状态,失业人员想要建立工作关系和求职更加困难。一旦员工被解雇,公司突破传统方式、慷慨地为他们提供帮助对他们来说是雪中送炭。不仅对那些直接受到裁员影响的人们,而且对那些仍然留在公司的员工都很重要。沃德说:“不管是离开还是留下,员工们都非常关心他们的朋友会有怎样的境遇。”

沃德和斯奈德都为为员工提供了优渥的离职补偿,分别包括最低三个月和一个月的工资,并延长缴纳他们的医疗保险。此外,他们也寻找其他方法来帮助新下岗员工们渡过他们新的现实困难。

斯奈德让她的一名人力资源主管做“反向招聘”——为那些被裁员工写简历。虽然许多领导不想因为公司裁员引起公众的关注,但她还是在Twitter上发布了一些被裁人员的个人消息,鼓励其他雇主雇佣他们。“一旦人们分享了他们的求职信息,我感到有责任并致力于让人们看到这些信息,”斯奈德说。“我们还动员员工和前员工一起来帮忙。”(一些大公司也在创造性地思考这个问题:埃森哲(Accenture)、ServiceNow、林肯金融集团(Lincoln Financial Group)和威瑞森(Verizon)最近联合推出了一个网站,旨在帮助他们的被解雇或停职的员工找到新工作。)

在最近一轮裁员中被裁掉的Textio前高级招聘专员丽莎·塞默德建(Lisa Semerdjian)说,她非常感谢斯奈德和其他前同事为其找到新工作提供的所有帮助和潜在机会。不过,她还说,由于这么多科技公司都在裁员,想找到工作非常困难。在Textio工作了一年半的塞默德建说:“我在LinkedIn里求职的反馈结果非常令人沮丧。”

换言之,即使是最善良、最具创造性的领导能做的也只有这么多。但即使一点点的同情心可以起到很大的作用,特别是在当今的环境下。

在宣布裁员之后,斯奈德创建了一个Slack频道,供那些想与即将离职员工告别的人们,以及愿意离职的人们分享其个人联系信息。斯奈德说:“(由于疫情影响)无法当面说再见是一件非常痛苦的事情。”

无数美国人都非常清楚的一点是,在当今的经济形势下,沦为失业大军的一员本就是一件非常痛苦的事情。未来数周和数月预计将会有更多裁员,在诸多不同行业,更多的企业领导能够并且应该考虑如何改变传统的裁员方式。虽然裁员永远都不会是个令人高兴的过程,但至少在裁员方式上还有改进的空间。(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

裁员、精简或缩编,无论冠以何种名称,人员裁减历来都绝非令人愉快的过程。这不仅会对被解雇的人产生深远的、破坏性的影响,留下来的员工也会受到一定的影响。

但是有没有更好的裁员方式呢?裁员虽然痛苦,在企业经营过程中却无法避免。如果说哪一天我们可以在这方面进行创新,现在就是最恰当的时机。

COVID-19疫情导致大量裁员。据估计,美国的失业率目前正在飙升至15%以上。雇主们在裁减大量员工时已经预见到,这些员工将无从依靠。一些管理者(尤其是科技创业公司的管理者)也因此正在尝试寻找新的方法,减轻裁员给员工带来的打击。

总部位于西雅图的Textio是一家为企业提供人工智能“增强写作”服务的公司。该公司联合创始人兼首席执行官基兰•斯奈德说:“当我们意识到公司不得不进行调整时,我们会尽快就告诉了大家。在我们知道公司必须做出一些改变时,我们会提前一周告知全体员工。”

传统观念或者惯例是在裁员当天才宣布消息。但斯奈德对这种观念提出了挑战。虽说在当前的形式下,想要做出准确的商业预测很困难,但她说,关键是要将你所掌握和可以预见的情况与大家分享。这样可以让员工在实际上和情感上做好准备,让他们充分了解公司为什么要裁撤他们的岗位。

加州帕洛阿托的股权管理平台Carta的首席执行官亨利•沃德大约在启动裁员计划的五周以前,就开始向员工们宣传这场疫情可能给公司业务前景带来的影响。裁员前两周,他告诉员工,他无法想象如果不进行裁员公司可能面临的后果。“我想跟其他CEO说的是,不要等到裁员当天才把消息告诉大家,我们必须在裁员之前一直保持信息透明。”

当然,这在像Textio和Carta这样的私人控股公司更容易做到,因为这些公司往往规模小,不受股价波动的影响。尽管如此,即便是朝气蓬勃的科技初创公司,在裁员问题上历来也没有特别光荣的记录。

沃德表示:“许多创始人仍然认为,如果他们过早谈论裁员,将会影响员工的士气,导致生产率下降。”他在一个周五宣布了最终的裁员计划,并在五天后发布裁员名单。他承认:“的确,那个周五我们什么都没做,但实际上,在裁员前几周,生产率反而有所提高。”

沃德也的确说到,回想起来,他本可以缩短宣布裁员和实际实施裁员之间的间隔。但总的来说,他认为员工首先更愿意公司提前预警,让他们了解裁员的原因。(注:据最近媒体报道推测,Carta正在筹集新一轮资金;但该公司拒绝对传闻发表评论。)

沃德也摒弃了其他标准的裁员程序。这位首席执行官说:“我们让所有(被解雇的)雇员都保留了笔记本电脑,许多员工家里没有笔记本电脑。而且即使我们如果决定收回电脑的话,我们应该如何处理那150台已经留在IT员工家中的电脑呢?我们以很低的成本展示了公司的关怀。”

你知道技术部门对沃德的决定有何看法吗?是的,他们吓坏了。(出于安全原因,公司通常会要求离职员工在离职当天交回公司发放的设备。)但沃德说,他认为他们这样做,前雇员们实际上更有可能遵守安全协议,因为这一切都本着诚信善意的原则进行。

他解释说:“我们只是让员工们把笔记本电脑里的信息清除干净,截张图给我们看。”

让前雇员保留自己的笔记本电脑并没有给沃德带来任何损失。但是对于那些失业在家并且家里可能没有多余电脑的人们来说,这一举措意义重大。在当前的经济气候下,加上许多州(包括Carta和Textio所在的加州和华盛顿州)处于封锁状态,失业人员想要建立工作关系和求职更加困难。一旦员工被解雇,公司突破传统方式、慷慨地为他们提供帮助对他们来说是雪中送炭。不仅对那些直接受到裁员影响的人们,而且对那些仍然留在公司的员工都很重要。沃德说:“不管是离开还是留下,员工们都非常关心他们的朋友会有怎样的境遇。”

沃德和斯奈德都为为员工提供了优渥的离职补偿,分别包括最低三个月和一个月的工资,并延长缴纳他们的医疗保险。此外,他们也寻找其他方法来帮助新下岗员工们渡过他们新的现实困难。

斯奈德让她的一名人力资源主管做“反向招聘”——为那些被裁员工写简历。虽然许多领导不想因为公司裁员引起公众的关注,但她还是在Twitter上发布了一些被裁人员的个人消息,鼓励其他雇主雇佣他们。“一旦人们分享了他们的求职信息,我感到有责任并致力于让人们看到这些信息,”斯奈德说。“我们还动员员工和前员工一起来帮忙。”(一些大公司也在创造性地思考这个问题:埃森哲(Accenture)、ServiceNow、林肯金融集团(Lincoln Financial Group)和威瑞森(Verizon)最近联合推出了一个网站,旨在帮助他们的被解雇或停职的员工找到新工作。)

在最近一轮裁员中被裁掉的Textio前高级招聘专员丽莎·塞默德建(Lisa Semerdjian)说,她非常感谢斯奈德和其他前同事为其找到新工作提供的所有帮助和潜在机会。不过,她还说,由于这么多科技公司都在裁员,想找到工作非常困难。在Textio工作了一年半的塞默德建说:“我在LinkedIn里求职的反馈结果非常令人沮丧。”

换言之,即使是最善良、最具创造性的领导能做的也只有这么多。但即使一点点的同情心可以起到很大的作用,特别是在当今的环境下。

在宣布裁员之后,斯奈德创建了一个Slack频道,供那些想与即将离职员工告别的人们,以及愿意离职的人们分享其个人联系信息。斯奈德说:“(由于疫情影响)无法当面说再见是一件非常痛苦的事情。”

无数美国人都非常清楚的一点是,在当今的经济形势下,沦为失业大军的一员本就是一件非常痛苦的事情。未来数周和数月预计将会有更多裁员,在诸多不同行业,更多的企业领导能够并且应该考虑如何改变传统的裁员方式。虽然裁员永远都不会是个令人高兴的过程,但至少在裁员方式上还有改进的空间。(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

Call it layoffs, downsizing, or RIFs (reduction in force). Whatever name you put on it, cutting your workforce is never a pleasant process—and it always has a profoundly damaging effect, not only on those who have been let go but also, to a lesser extent, on those who stay on.

But could there a better way to do layoffs? If there was ever a time to innovate on how we navigate through this painful but often inevitable aspect of running a business, it would be now.

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to massive levels of workforce reductions, with the unemployment rate in the United States now estimated to be surging above 15%. Employers who are letting go of large proportions of their staff know that they are releasing them into this bleak wilderness. That’s why some managers, particularly in the tech startup sector, are trying to find new ways to lessen the blow.

“When we recognized we were going to have to restructure the company, we told people very quickly,” says Kieran Snyder, co-founder and chief executive officer of Seattle-based Textio, an artificial intelligence-powered “augmented writing” service for corporations. “We shared with the company a week before that we knew we would need to make some changes.”

Snyder challenged the conventional wisdom—or rather, practice—that layoffs should only be announced on the very day they are carried out. And while she says it was hard making any accurate business forecasts in the current state of affairs, she also says that sharing what you do know, and what you can foresee, is key. It can do a lot to prepare employees, both practically and emotionally, for what’s to come, and to provide them with better understanding of why their jobs are being eliminated.

Henry Ward, the CEO of Carta, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based equity management platform, started talking to his employees about how the pandemic could impact their business outlook about five weeks before pulling the trigger on layoffs. Two weeks before the cuts, he told his workforce that he can’t imagine not having to let some employees go. “What I tell other CEOs is that it’s not enough that they’re transparent on the day of, you have to be transparent up until that day.”

To be sure, that’s easier to do at privately-held companies like Textio and Carta, which tend to be smaller and aren’t beholden to the fluctuations of their stock price. Still, even scrappy tech startups don’t have a particularly glorious history of openness when it comes to layoffs.

“Many founders still think that productivity will be lost, and that it’s a morale drain [if they talk about layoffs too early],” says Ward, who announced definitive layoffs on a Friday and notified impacted employees five days later. “It’s true that nothing got done on that Friday,” he admits. “But in our experience, in the weeks leading up to the layoffs, productivity actually went up.”

Ward does say that, in retrospect, he would have probably shortened the time between announcing the layoffs and actually carrying them out, maybe notifying employees by Monday, not Wednesday. But in general, he thinks employees prefer having some sort of a heads up, and an understanding of why layoffs are happening in the first place. (A note: Recent media reports have speculated that Carta is in the midst of raising a new round of funding; the company declined to comment on the rumors.)

Ward tossed out other standard layoff procedures as well. “We let all of the employees [who were laid off] keep their laptops,” says the CEO. “Many of them didn’t have a laptop at home, and what are we going to do with 150 computers shipped over to our I.T. guy’s home anyways? It’s such a cheap show of good will.”

If you’re wondering how the tech department felt about Ward’s decision, yes, they freaked out. (For security reasons, let-go employees are typically asked to turn in their company-issued devices the same day they are let go.) But Ward says he believes ex-employees were actually more likely to comply with security protocols because it was all done in “good faith.”

“We just asked them to wipe their laptops clean and take a screenshot to show us,” he explains.

Letting ex-employees keep their laptops didn’t cost Ward anything. But it can mean a lot for those who are now jobless and may not have had another computer at home. The current economic climate, coupled with the shutdown status in many states—including California and Washington, where Carta and Textio are based—makes it more challenging to network and job-hunt. Creative and generous ways of thinking about providing assistance for employees once they are let go can go a long way. And it matters not only to those directly impacted, but also to those who are still a part of your workforce. “Whether they’re leaving or staying, employees really care about how their friends are being treated,” says Ward.

Both Ward and Snyder gave their employees generous severance packages—starting at three months and one month, respectively, with extended health coverage as well. But they also found other ways to help newly laid-off employees navigate through their new reality.

Snyder asked one of her human resources execs to do “reverse recruiting”—write up resumes for those employees who were asked to depart. And while many leaders wouldn’t have wanted to call attention to their company’s layoffs, she also went to Twitter to spread the word about some of the specific individuals whose jobs she cut, encouraging other employers to hire them. “Once people had shared their news, I felt responsible and committed to help them be seen,” says Snyder. “We had employees and former employees who also mobilized to help.” (Some larger companies are also thinking about this creatively: Accenture, ServiceNow, Lincoln Financial Group and Verizon recently banded together to launch a website that aims to help their laid off or furloughed employees find new jobs.)

Lisa Semerdjian, a former senior recruiter at Textio whose job was cut in the recent round of layoffs, says she was very grateful for all of help and lead generation for new jobs on the part of Snyder and other former colleagues. Still, with all of the layoffs happening at so many tech companies, she says job searching has been very difficult. “My LinkedIn feed is very sad,” says Semerdjian, who worked at Textio for one and a half years.

In other words, there is only so much that even the most well-meaning and creative leaders can do. But a little empathy can go a long way, especially today.

After announcing the layoffs, Snyder created a Slack channel for people who wanted to say farewell to those who were leaving—and for those who were leaving to share their personal contact information, if they wished. “It’s an acutely painful thing not to get to say farewell in person,” says Snyder.

It’s also an acutely painful thing to find yourself jobless in today’s economy, as millions of Americans know all too well. With more layoffs expected in the coming weeks and months, across so many different sectors, more business leaders could and should rethink the old ways of conducting layoffs. While it may never be pleasant, there will always be room for improvement.

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