Life

CEO ‘Hoped He’d Be Strong’ During Zoom Call Layoffs

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A CEO apologized to current employees for Zoom call layoffs that reduced his company’s workforce by about 15% just before Christmas.

The most interesting and disturbing part of the Zoom call layoffs story was what the CEO who eliminated hundreds of jobs said before the big announcement.

The boss of a mortgage company spoke with 900 employees during the now-infamous Zoom call on or about Dec. 1. NBC News reported that he began the call, according to a recording posted to TikTok, by saying he came with “not great news.”

He then went on to explain the company would be laying off about 15 percent of the company.

“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” he said. “Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

Wow.

That’s not the news you ever want to receive.

It’s definitely not the news you want to hear this close to Christmas.

But I noted the report included another quote in which he said it was the second time he’d had to make a decision of this type.

Then, I spotted this line:

“The last time I did it I cried. Um, this time, I hope to be stronger.”

Far be it from me to suggest to the CEO of a company with thousands of employees how to behave.

I’m sure I will never be in his shoes. I’m also sure I would never want to be.

But I do lead a small team in my real job. I try to be the kind of leader who teaches my employees how to be better at what they do. I hope I show them regularly that I value them and their efforts.

That’s because I know what’s like to work for bosses who don’t always do that.

I try to treat my team the way I’d want my boss to treat me.

I wouldn’t want to be “stronger” in a situation like that. I’d be afraid being “stronger” would mean I’d lose touch with what’s happening. If I ever found myself in that situation, I hope it would only be because I worked tirelessly to find some alternative to layoffs. But even if I failed in that endeavor, I’d want to feel the pain I was inflicting on them. I wouldn’t want to lose sight of that.

Maybe in some people’s eyes, that makes me a leader who cares too much. But I’d happily plead guilty to that charge. I’d prefer that to being accused of being a leader who cares too little any day.

To his credit, the CEO apologized for the way the call went. He acknowledged he “blundered” the process of informing workers of layoffs, saying he “failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation.”

I realize it can’t have been an easy call. I’m glad he realized that it was an even harder call for those on the other end of the line.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.