At a recent networking event, I learned that four of the ten people there who had been employed by a major corporation and over the past five years had lost their job due to technology and downsizing, increasing the corporation’s bottom line and dividends to the shareholders, and I am all for that! But must we treat these long term and loyal employees with such indifference and disrespect? Remember business etiquette requires polite, considerate and courteous behaviour.
These stories made me think of a girlfriend who called me up in tears. She had just been given “the pink slip” by her employer even though she was a model employee. She was never late, always met her deadlines and never asked for extra time off work. What is worse, she was given her notice in the most impolite fashion. Is it good business etiquette to knock on the office door of every employee and ask them to pack up their belongings because they have been terminated? Is it right to do this with no notice, no respect, and no consideration? In this situation employees feel more like a cancer than the valued employee they were lead to believe they had become.
Oh what to do…
I understand that companies have privacy and competition policies that must be upheld. But couldn’t they invest in a more respectful and humble approach when terminating employees due to downsizing? Stripping a person of self-worth and dignity is not the most humane way to go. A better approach would be train Human Resources employees to use a more polished business etiquette approach to termination. Something other than a gentle handshake goodbye. On balance there is a lot of room for improvement in business etiquette in the workplace, especially when it comes to termination.