The past year has witnessed waves of layoffs, with the tech industry being hit especially hard. The layoffs not only highlight recent economic challenges, but also the bad leadership plaguing many of today’s organizations – and many employees are pushing back publicly.

A recent viral TikTok video showcases one example of a poor management decision. Former Cloudfare employee, Brittany Pietsch, filmed a video call where she was fired by two HR representatives. In the 9-minute video, Pietsch repeatedly asks for details on why she is being let go and why her manager isn’t on the call. Pietsch told the Wall Street Journal that she had been surprised by the call – which was scheduled on a day when she was working from home – and despite her efforts, she never received further details about her performance or specifics about the termination.

According to Pietsch, the company had never given her any indication that her performance was lagging – in fact, her manager had praised her performance. The incongruence suggests that companies are only saying they’re laying off people, when the reality is that they’re actually firing them. It’s a classic case of bad leadership, since as an employee, Pietsch should have only been fired if her performance was not meeting the company’s standards – and she should have been given notice prior that she had to meet expectations or would be let go. 

Of course, companies have financial incentives to terminate employees for performance rather than lay them off – they can avoid paying severance and unemployment benefits. It’s become so common for companies to push employees to quit their jobs that the term “quiet firing” is a new phrase. Quiet firing occurs when management intentionally cultivates a work environment where an employee is discouraged enough to quit. Shady tactics used to get an employee to fail at their job include delaying promotions earned or withholding necessary training.

And the stories of bad leadership get worse – another recent case of hypocrisy in leadership features an employee at Kyte Baby – a clothing company for babies – requesting to work remotely. The prematurely born baby she was adopting was hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit that was a nine-hour drive from her house. Company leadership denied the remote work request, and the story has created huge backlash from customers, who are disappointed in the company for not supporting new mothers. 

With all the recent news and public pushback of bad management decisions, it’s clear that it’s even more crucial now than ever to focus on effective talent management. Talent management decisions should be viewed as integral components of overall business strategies – not just as cost/benefit ratios. After all, in the long term, talent management affects everything from employee morale to customer perception of the organization.

To integrate talent management into your business decisions, it’s necessary to outline potential impacts through scenario planning. When facing difficult decisions, you’ll want to think about the long-term implications and which stakeholders may be impacted. You’ll want to evaluate the risk of a decision going viral, and how that may affect your company’s brand and public perception.

It’s just a best practice to think about the business implications when making talent management decisions. To help you build effective talent management that leads to long-term business benefits, Orange Grove Consulting offers a range of solutions, including Strategy and Planning solutions that are unique to each organization. 

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