Read today that Radio Shack laid off103 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.
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In concept, you may be right. However, as a laid-off RadioShack employee, you need to look at the entire process, not just one piece of the process (the e-mail). We had meetings, intranet sites, e-mail communications and face-to-face meetings in the 10 days leading up to the announced layoff date. The e-mail notice was actually an invite to a meeting with your senior supervisor, where that “eye contact” you mentioned DID take place. It’s easy for people (and there appear to be hundreds of them) to criticize what we went through, but to not tell the complete story is just wrong.
John,So correct. It is hard for an outsider to ever get the full story, and I am definitely an outsider here. I am constantly on the lookout for such stories to see the communication principle at work. I think we can agree that the day’s punchline is correct. Communication should be personal. Now knowing that Radio Shack did that, perhaps their PR department needs to get into the swing of things, and make sure the whole story is told.Thanks for your comment.Alan
The title says it all. If you didn’t personally get a message from someone,it’s merely heresay. So many messages that get sent are incomplete, outof context, or otherwise misleading. Be sure of the content, context andthe source before relaying a vital message. In this instance, Alan, youreally couldn’t do any great harm compared to losing your job, but mis-information concerning a sensitive subject only makes things worse…remember the mining accident where the word got out that all thosetrapped had survived?