So I know I’m not the most up to date of souls when it comes to all things popular culture. I’ve never seen the Sound of Music, I have a one man campaign to never EVER watch Titanic and whilst I’ve got Avatar waiting to be watched, I have no overwhelming desire to do so. That said, over the holiday period I did watch “Up in the air” mainly I think because it contained George Clooney and Mrs HRD was having a moment.
What I didn’t realise as I sat down to watch the film was that the plot or sub plot, or in between plot (as in the thing that it wasn’t really about, but was about)….if you follow my drift…..was HR management. Now I’m making an assumption that most people have watched the film and know the story, but then again….looking at some of you I’m thinking the last film you watched was maybe Rollerball or in your case…..yes you…no, not you….behind…yes….in your case I’m not sure you actually know what a film is.
Anyway, George Clooney flies around America laying people off as some sort of outside sub contracted redundancy making machine. And I was agog. So maybe this is my naivety, maybe I’m living in some hermetically sealed bubble, but the fact that anyone would actually do that astounds me. (NOTE: OK, so I know this is a film, but people actually seem to offer this service).
I’ve not, to date, been made redundant but I have, sadly, had to be present when a lot of people have been told that they are losing their jobs. I have a very simple approach: If you are the person that would be responsible for telling that individual that they would be getting a pay rise, you are also the person responsible for telling them they are losing their job. For me it is a matter of common decency. In the past I’ve had managers tell me that it should be HR’s job, my response, “so when someone in my team is made redundant, who tells them?” And of course it is, and should be, me.
I’m not sure whether this idea of outsourcing is a new idea, an old idea, a niche idea or a growing trend. Whatever it is, I advise against it. People will bang on about the reputational impact but I think it is simpler than that. Whatever happens, the people who are leaving your company are that, they are people. As such they deserve to be treated with honesty and respect and if you don’t have the balls to look them in the eye and tell them the bad news yourself, then quite simply, you’re pond life.