Seems everyone is aware (but just in case) that in recent months Best Buy offered 4,000 corporate employees the chance to take a voluntary buyout. Numbers I hear are a few more than 500 applied for it and a few less than 500 were accepted.
Unfortunately 500 (to make the math simple) were not “enough” so the announcement of an involuntary layoff was made.
As I understand around 250 jobs will need to be eliminated but they have 210 internal jobs that need to be filled.
OK, these numbers are not what this blog post is about but I wanted to catch everyone up.
What this post is about is how Best Buy has handled the situation.
Let me be clear, anytime people are laid off, that sucks. And on this scale and in our community I am guessing that most of us know directly or indirectly (a degree or two of separation) someone who was impacted.
But unlike all the stories we hear about people finding out they are laid off via phone, email, or the ones given five minutes and a box with the escort out the door Best Buy has done an outstanding job (in my opinion) handling this situation:
- Transparency – Best Buy has been very open about the changes that needed to be made. But more than that they have not tried to “hush” their employees from talking about it.
#bby500 is the Twitter tag used by Best Buy employees to talk with each other and share their thoughts. I monitored this quite a bit last week and even while folks were saying they were let go they also said how much they appreciated Best Buy was doing for them.
Barry Judge, Chief Marketing Officer, did this blog post My Thoughts On Best Buy’s “Voluntary Separation” Package. Read the comments, more people saying nice things about how Best Buy has handled this.
- Severance and benefits – The voluntary layoff package varied but if one took it between 6 months and 1 year pay included along with 1 year of health and life coverage was included. The estimated cost of this is $60M.
For those who were caught up in the involuntary layoff they too have a good severance package.
- Career support – Besides the usual outplacement service Best Buy has taken other steps to help those impacted. I was not aware of this until last week; Best Buy has a career services department. They have been holding classes on interviewing, resume writing, etc.
They have invited speakers from outside the company, including me, to present on career related topics. Feb 23rd (and again March 2nd) I did a LinkedIn and Social Media job search presentation.
Yesterday, Feb 25th, Best Buy held a career fair. An email was sent out to local companies (including my Minnesota Recruiters list) to ask if local employers would like to speak with those laid off. They had space for 30 companies. 110 or so replied. Yeah, they had a wait list of companies to recruit their former employees.
I hear 200+ former employees (and a few current ones) attended.
Do not mistake that I am “happy” about this situation. I have friends who are involved in both the voluntary and involuntary layoffs. This is not a great time to be doing a job search.
But my point is this, name another company who has gone to this length to try and do right by their now former employees? I am sure that Best Buy has not done everything perfect or right for everyone but I do suggest that given the economy and their circumstances they have done well.
I do have one issue with Best Buy. It would have been great if executives had been talking about this more in a public forum. Maybe they have been so busy with the process that there was no time for it but I know of a lot of companies around the country who have interest in what Best Buy has done.
Maybe just maybe some companies will learn from Best Buy that in tough times and when tough decisions are made that lay offs are numbers but people who live and work in the community, have mortgages, car payments and children or parents to care for and that they should do the best they can to help those who helped build their company.