Read today that Radio Shack laid off 400 workers. Big deal. People get the pink slip every day. Well, if it’s you that got the pink slip, it’s a very big deal. And Radio Shack, in the interest of delivering the news “quicker” and in a way that “allowed more privacy”, delivered the news to these workers via… e-mail. Seems they had 30 minutes to ponder the news before Guido showed up to escort them from the building.While e-mail termination notices are likely easier on the managers doing the firing, and probably (maybe?) a little more efficient than one-on-ones with the (overpaid?) management chain, it certainly doesn’t have the feel of a company that is interested in relationships with their employees. And most good businesses thrive on good relationships. And most good relationships thrive on good communications. And good communications is personal. It is received by a person who takes the message to heart in a personal way for personal use and personal application. Good communicators can talk to thousands at once and make each of them feel special. Bad communicators can talk to folks one-on-one and make no one feel special.Receiving bad news is never easy. Giving it may be tougher. But if the focus is on a relationship, the time and human touch is worth the effort. Press releases and emails are for marketing blurbs, publicists, and people too lazy to actually develop a relationship. A letter that clearly was mass-produced via a computer doesn’t have the same feel as a hand-written note. A phone call is nice touch when a note would do. And a personal visit is great when a phone call would do. Nothing beats the eye contact of a personally delivered message.In a related factoid, Radio Shack shares rose 1.6% today. Stockholders evidently don’t care about building relationships, either. But I’ll bet there are 400 less potential Radio Shack customers today, and I’ll bet they all tell someone. Someone might even blog on the issue.
Make communication as personal as possible.