What an empathetic layoff blog looks like

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh got a lot of praise for his letter to employees concerning the Amazon takover.

But just as impressive is a Hsieh blog entry telling employees about a layoff last year.

Key phrases show a chief executive who’s addressing the scope and pain of the situation, who seems eager to show employees the full context of the decision, and who knows how to balance the sadness of the day with hope for the future.

“Today has been a tough, emotional day for everyone at Zappos. We made the hard choice of laying off about 8% of our employees. The layoffs will affect almost every single department at Zappos. … This is one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make over the past 9.5 years, but we believe that it is the right decision for the long term health of the company. The rest of this email will explain why …” (And it does, in clear language and with links to related industry articles.)

“We’ve decided the right thing to do for the company is to be proactive instead of reactive. We are proactively cutting back some of our expenses today so that we can take care of our employees properly … offer them more than the standard 2 weeks severance (or no severance) that most other companies are giving.”

“Within the footwear category, we are the online market leader. When times are tough, the strongest players in any market have an opportunity to gain even more market share, even if overall growth may be slower. … For the rest of 2008 as well as for 2009, we anticipate continuing to grow year over year.”

“I know that many tears were shed today, both by laid-off and non-laid-off employees alike. Given our family culture, our layoffs are much tougher emotionally than they would be at many other companies.”

Leave a Reply

Download Whitepaper

Thank you for your interest. Please enter your email address to view the report.