Volunteer to be Fired

20 Nov

Interesting post this morning for HR peeps on AOL’s asking for volunteers to be fired. AOL has asked 2500 to apply. Clearly they are asking for applications, because they don’t want some people leaving. So you apply to get severed, get an acceptance/rejection letter and, apparently, move on. In their offer, taking severance is a lot better than the getting fired option.

It can’t be that simple. Think about all the issues this system brings up.

  • What if you application gets rejected? Are you a loser? Winner? Both? How awkward is it going to be working for your manager after you get rejected?
  • What if 10,000 people apply? What does that say about your org? What does that do to the 7500 who will have to stay?
  • Why would they do this? Lack of talent planning? Do they not know who they want to leave? If they don’ t, they need to fire HR. Hey, maybe that will get them to 2500.
  • What if your on the fence about whether they’ll keep you, aren’t you more likely to apply to get the better deal?
  • Are they really so sure that enough people won’t take the offer? Is AOL such a great place to be right now?

Clearly, I think this is a terrible idea. Whoever thought it up should volunteer to get fired. Tim Armstrong made a huge mistake by accepting this proposal. He should know better having gone through the Google/DoubleClick acquisition. If you need to let people go, take the time to figure out who you need to let go and make it happen. The last thing you want to do is destroy the morale of your org in the process. Huge Fail!

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