Poor Taste: Lay Off 100s Of Employees, Then Write A Blog Post Advising How To Retain Employees

by Chris Silver Smith

SuperMedia Cracking UpIn a blog that SuperMedia operates to provide advice and information for businesses, they published this surreal post on “Employee Retention During a Corporate Restructure” at the end of December.

SuperMedia has been laying-off employees in droves over the past two years, as they struggled through revenue decline, heavy debts, Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, and subsequent cost-cutting (possibly paving the way for a three-way merger between SuperMedia, AT&T and Dex One). So, “corporate restructure” is an accurate term for what SuperMedia employees have been enduring for quite some time, if not an understatement on a massive scale.

So, publishing a post on how to retain employees seems downright… odd under the circumstances.

The article advises a number of tactics for employee retention (my interpretation/paraphrasing):

  1. Keep restructuring a secret.
  2. Move quickly when you do finally announce changes.
  3. Bribe the employees you want to keep into staying.

The one tactic I think they neglected should be the most successful/obvious:

4. Retain employees by not firing them.

While I know that this blog of theirs is likely more of a newsletter used to engage with external businesses and potential customers, it’s downright weird to be offering up this sort of advice in the midst of the considerable changes going on internally. It has to come off as insensitive to employees who’ve been let go as well as current employees.

In context, it’s almost as though an HR employee decided to repurpose an internal memo for management as one of their newsletter articles. If that’s the case, then perhaps this efficient use of internal writing is only an example of effective cost-cutting through multitasking.

I generally like my former employer and many of the employees there, but someone somewhere should’ve really considered how this looked and opted to hold off on publishing it until the company’s own restructuring activities diminish!


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2 Responses to “Poor Taste: Lay Off 100s Of Employees, Then Write A Blog Post Advising How To Retain Employees”

  1. Mike Stewart says:

    Chris, I have read just about every post from the blog in a “howard stern-esque” fashion from SuperMedia. They often offer advice that they themselves ignore. We in the forums call this “pot meet kettle.”