How I fired half the team

Original author: Steli Efti
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Dismissal often becomes an unpleasant and painful problem not only for the employee, but also for his manager. When it comes to layoffs, put out the lights ... or dance and eat sweets. That's what the CEO and co-founder of did . And then he wrote an article about it. And then we transferred it to Alconost .
One of the most difficult things that I had to do as a CEO is parting with half the team. Our startup had times when there were not enough hands to meet demand; we hired dozens and dozens of sales specialists, trained them ... And then the business began to decline and a couple of really hard months stood out.

Dismissal of an employee in a young company is bad in itself. But parting with many at once is a separate song, and I learned a lot in the process.

Discuss layoffs

The issue of dismissal cannot be called popular among entrepreneurs. Everyone loves to talk about hiring and their interview secrets. But when it comes to breaking up, people rarely discuss the details. Because:
a) it "sucks";
b) no one wants to earn the image of the firing person.

But I believe that it is useful for entrepreneurs to share such experience as well. I hope that my story will be at least partially useful if you are faced with the question of layoffs.

How to part with a dozen people

This decision was not easy for me. What's the best way to announce it? How will the team react? How will layoffs affect those I would like to keep on staff?

I set aside all day for one-on-one conversations with each employee of the company. It was rather strange and awkward, because the rest were waiting in line and wondered if they would stay or be fired.

My plan to talk about dismissal

1. I directly explained what was happening. So that people understand the situation and the reasons for our separation, I tried to speak clearly and unambiguously.

2. Then I asked what they were going to do next. Would they like to pursue a career in sales of another company? Or were you going to take a short break? Maybe someone wanted to start their own business?

3. Next, I set aside two hours for each of them next week. At this time, I was completely at their disposal for any questions. I did my best to help them get what they want. If someone wanted to find a new job in sales - I called friends of CEO and executives with the recommendation of their former employees. If someone wanted to launch their startup, we conducted a joint “brainstorming” on the topic of a business model and attracting investments. In general, I was ready to do everything in my power to help former colleagues achieve the goal.

4. We discussed the details: who has the laptop left, do I need access to mail, what are the keys to the office, etc. Talking about it was awkward, and I hated such moments. But going through the list is necessary, and I just tried to end it faster.

5. Then I wondered if they would like to discuss or tell something else. Maybe they have some feedback?

6. Finally, we shook hands (or shrugged) and said goodbye.
And then the next one came in, and the conversation was largely repeated.

Eat cakes and dance to N'Sync

The day ended with my dances to the song N'Sync - "Bye, Bye, Bye" and the universal eating of a cake. If you want the details of the evening, it is better to watch the video:

We all agreed to meet at dinner three months later. It was a strange feeling - I just fired half of the team, and now we all together, quite friendly, communicate and look positively into the future.

Unexpected and completely impenetrable secret of growth

After I helped my former colleagues take serious sales positions in other companies, each of them wanted to use our sales support application. Some have even become better customers, and I'm incredibly proud of how our relationships have evolved.

If you have to fire someone ...

I hope you never have to fire good people. But if this happens, remember how I once had to part with half the team, and how this served as an impetus for good changes for all parties. Even if in the process everything looked terrible.

Have you fired your employees? Or maybe you yourself were fired and want to give advice to those who have to part with their subordinates?

About the translator

Translation of the article was done in Alconost.

Alconost localizes applications, games and sites in 60 languages. Native translators, linguistic testing, cloud platform with API, continuous localization, project managers 24/7, any format of string resources.

We also make promotional and educational videos.- for sites selling, image-building, advertising, training, teasers, expliners, trailers for Google Play and the App Store.

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