There’s been a lot of Internet chatter about Ann Curry’s dismissal from the Today Show and NBC’s decision to replace her with Savannah Guthrie. Many viewers have voiced their disappointment in NBC and are taking shots at the new co-host as well as the existing Today Show team. Viewers have expressed that the way NBC handled Curry’s exit and the transition to Guthrie as co-host lacked transparency, authenticity, and compassion and now it looks like NBC has some damage control to do.
The commentary from Ann Curry’s fans in many ways mirrors the anger and disappointment laid off employees and even the layoff survivors often experience following a company downsizing. Companies should consider the following to better communicate layoffs to employees and customers.
- A damaged reputation spurred by disgruntled employees and customers following a downsizing may make it harder to attract and keep top talent.
- Being open with employees, customers, and social media fans can make a layoff less painful for everyone involved and preserve the company’s reputation.
- Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to bad mouth a company and spread news of a downsizing in seconds.
- Employers can show authenticity and eliminate damaging rumors by tweeting and blogging about why a layoff is necessary.
NBC should have considered these points as well. The Today Show Facebook Fan Page has 986,000 fans and it will take time to bounce back from all the negative comments on the page right now. Someone even went so far as to create a Boycott NBC and The Today Show page which already has over 1,000 fans after 2 weeks. A quick search on Tweetfeel reveals that more than half of the tweets about The Today Show are negative as well.
Companies can’t afford to mishandle a layoff even if the victim isn’t a public figure like Ann Curry. Managing a layoff is never easy but it can be done with grace and compassion if planned properly. It’s hard to regain employee and consumer trust once a layoff is handled poorly.