This week's discussion top highly resonates with me. Coincidentally, I experienced this nearly exact scenario in 2001 when I was an IT Division Director for a very large staffing organization. Information Technology staffing was a highly profitable business specifically from 1999-2001. Price Waterhouse Coopers(PWC) was our largest competitor and had just down-sized 5000 employees.
The VP of our organization called an organization-wide conference call, which included all international and domestic employees. He attempted to reassure everyone that no one's job was at stake as long as they did their job and asked everyone to not "abandon ship" based on the rumors that they might hear.
Immediately afterward, I had a meeting with my staff and told them that if they wanted assistance with their resume preparation or wanted to begin interviewing and might need time for interviews or needed a reference that I would assist them in any way possible. I knew that there was no way that our largest competitor could downsize by 5000 employees and not impact our business, which was the same.
Some took my advice and others believed that the company would not blind-side them because the VP had told them they were "safe". Within the following days, I began hearing of persons being dismissed and that others were scheduled but for me not to tell my staff. I was appalled. Again, I told my staff that it might be a good idea to brush up on interviewing technique, resume updating and etc. Again, some chose to believe the VP whom had assured them that their job was safe.
About two weeks later, I arrived one morning and was told that the VP wanted to speak with me in the conference room via conference call. He told me that today would be everyone's last day and that he would "spare me" the hardship of telling my staff and to have them to join me in the conference room. When everyone arrived, via speakerphone he stated " Good morning, just wanted to let you all know that today is your last day, please take your time clearing your desks or tying up loose ends. "You may leave now or stay throughout the day. Thank you".
I remember it verbatim and it was profound because he showed no empathy, no concern, compassion and did not respect them enough to thank them for their dedication. Needless to state, it was utter devastation and betrayal. Some were in full-blown panic mode and tears. He had lied to everyone and many were caught off-guard. However, they thanked me for being upfront with them and for assisting them with the time off, resume preparation and reference, which the organization did not make available to them. Most of them were highly seasoned Account Executives, Recruiters and Administrative staff. They h