We have heard that some folks slated for termination at AOL next week will be granted a 60-day reprieve (until December 16), with the aim of reducing the number of people let go next week–and, thus, the media attention around the layoffs.
We can’t confirm this, and–if the above reasoning is correct–it is such a bad idea that it sounds implausible:
- Layoffs are painful for all involved, but they are far less damaging to a company’s reputation when taken in one lump. AOL already has a reputation for “death by a thousand cuts.” Adding another cut won’t help. It will also be yet another round of “holiday layoffs.”
- Delaying some layoffs will not reduce media attention about “AOL Layoffs”–it will prolong it. It will also keep remaining employees in a state of gallows-desperation for the next two months, which is not conducive to the work required to get AOL back on track.
- The layoffs have already received considerable media attention. Whether they end up being 500, 1000, 2000, or 3000 won’t change the coverage much. A second round, moreover, will just thrust AOL Layoffs into the headlines again.
We imagine this logic is obvious within AOL and Time Warner, too, which is why we’re sceptical.
UPDATE: Several readers suggest that this is actually a logical move–provided the folks that are let go in December find out now. In this case, they would be asked to help transition responsibilities, etc., and receive “combat pay” for the service. If this is the thinking, the move is a lot more plausible.
Another reader reports that the Head of HR in Europe quit last week–trying to get confirmation.
See Also: AOL Head of HR Quits Before Layoffs