It wasn’t the fanciest of places to hold their gathering. It couldn’t be, as most of the people around the table were unemployed, having been laid off in the past few months. They ignored the shouts of customer orders to the kitchen area and chatted amiably about their job search efforts.
It was Susan who inadvertently set the topic for the conversation that day. “Did anyone receive their bonus?”, she asked innocently. The shouts from the order takers to the kitchen were the only sounds she was greeted with. No one had received a bonus that year.
It wasn’t that the people at the table didn’t deserve a bonus. They had worked extremely hard during a particularly difficult year. While the bonuses would not be as large as in previous years, there would be some money available. The company shared it had profitable quarters throughout the year.
Nobody on the team received a bonus because of the timing of their layoffs. The company made sure they worked the year. However, they had not received their reviews for that year. Without those reviews, a bonus could not be calculated. The company had timed everything so that while everyone was bonus eligible, none of them would get a bonus.
Right now, those bonuses could have tided them over a little while longer in their job search. However, the company decided it was more deserving of keeping that money than rewarding the work of their employees. The easiest way was to make sure they were not employees anymore. Instant boost to the company dollar!
Even when you have to lay off your loyal employees, you can be decent about it. Severance, benefits, and the like help that loyal employee with surviving the hallways between what was and what is going to be.
If someone has worked an entire year to make the company profits so the employees can have a share in those profits. If you have promised them a share in those profits for a year’s work. The least you can do is share those profits with them. By denying them that after they have put in the work, you illustrate what is most important to you…and it isn’t the employee.
Your actions, not your words, are what will be remembered by your employees. Oh wait, you don’t have to worry about that. These people aren’t your employees anymore. And I bet you won’t even write them a note to thank them for helping pad the executives’ bonuses.