May 20, 2020
Nearly every marketer faces tough decisions on budget cuts, none worse than having to lay off people. It’s often the hardest moment in a marketing leader’s career. Changes lurk around the corner for companies of all sizes during this time, whether this means downsizing or shifting to working from home. While there isn’t a good way to lay off employees, there’s clearly a wrong way — just look at WeWork.
According to Robert Sweeney, CEO of Facet and long-time WeWork member, employees of WeWork told him that they have been “invited” to either take severance pay or “re-interview” for their position and compete for one of the downsized slots. In this case, a team of five was to be reduced to two. (Keep in mind, this is coming after the organization already cut 2,400 jobs less than a year ago.)
Instead of making the hard choices, WeWork put the decision on employees. Not surprisingly, all five of the team members in question opted to leave the company.
Business leaders, take note: pitting your employees against each other Hunger Games-style in the midst of a global pandemic is not the best way to handle a crisis.
Since its rise to public consciousness, WeWork has created one dumpster fire after another. Between accusations of the CEO smoking marijuana on a private jet with his pregnant aide repeatedly begging him to stop, to sending around tequila shots during a set from hip-hop group, Run-DMC immediately after laying off 7 percent of their staff, WeWork can show us countless examples of what not to do.
Related: Join KPMG and CMO Council on our four-part webinar series, Marketing Mandate 2020: Pivot Your Plans, Optimize Your Spend.
Employee satisfaction rates at WeWork are at an all-time low, too; the average tenure of an employee lasting about a year—if they don’t get laid off first, poorly-timed tequila shots aside.
To top it all off, valuation at WeWork has plummeted amid reports of this disastrous working environment as well: from $47 billion to $2.9 billion in just over a year. Wow.
Of course, we’re all about working with what you’ve got. As we’re all aware, budgets are coming under fire in the wake of COVID-19, meaning that trimming the fat will become even more necessary in the coming months. But there are other ways to do that than failing to empathize with your employees.
Kate serves as Marketing Coordinator at the CMO Council where she drives the social media engagement strategy and assists in content and creative development for the CMO Council’s biweekly newsletter, required reading, and monthly e-journal, marketing magnified. She is a first point of contact for interviews featured in CMO Council reports as well. Kate holds a bachelors degree in Communication Studies and Foreign Affairs from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and currently resides in the Bay Area with her rescue dog, Archie. When she’s not writing for CMO Council, you can find her chipping away at her endless stack of novels on her bookshelf or writing her own.
Get connected with Kate on LinkedIn. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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