Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

This topic was created by Drewc .

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Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

Not very clever, was it - any other HR mistakes you'd like to share with us?

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Re: Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

Just what is the problem, Friday afternoon so someone in HR. is Just passing the time by practicing their work for next month.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

HR is generally staffed with very dumb people. AC because they're vindictive too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

True, what are the skills that makes someone good at HR? Communication, collaboration, team building... and other things learned in kindergarten.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

You missed the key function of refusing to employ the best candidate because they didn't match some profile quiz you found in HELLO!

-I must thank play.c*m for this, the next interview turned out to be a much, much better job :)

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Boffin

Re: Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

Clearly they were trying to only fire an employee called Mr Avi Vaall ...

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Re: Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

totally agree and signed!

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Anonymous Coward

I disagree that HR people are very stupid.

I have found that they can be very creative in screwing over people to protect the company and it's managers.

AC for obvious reasons.

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FAIL

Nokia hired Stephen Elop

That's not worked out too well - did HR approve it?

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Re: Nokia hired Stephen Elop

Well, they've had massive job cuts, so it would make sense that they did...

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Bronze badge

Plotters

It always seemed to me that the function of Personnel Department, as they used to be called, was to plot graphs of the numebr of people leaving so they could say they were administering an orderly policy.

In one of my jobs, I was at the desk adjacent to the trade union rep. He did a far better job of expaining company decisions to the staff than a whole personnel department would have done. In fact he spent about half his working day doing that.

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FAIL

Re: Plotters

There's a trade union rep currently leading the labour party, but he's doing a shit job so its fortunate they are now irrelevant.

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Personnel?...

...That's for assholes! - Dirty Harry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGCMyF-sA58

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Anonymous Coward

Right-Wing Stereotypes of Trade Unions Aside...

Years ago I had a close friend who was close to the regional top of one of the big UK Civil Service unions. I often used to hear about her working day: a lot of it was actually effective management consultancy.

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I wonder...

...how they managed to send the retraction to everyone except the guy they really wanted to fire.

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Re: I wonder...

They probably sent him a text message.

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Re: I wonder...

"Dear Employee (apart from X.Y),

We apologise ..."

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Re: I wonder...

"Dear everyone,

Sorry, you're fired. Have a nice life.

Signed, Joe in HR"

"Dear everyone,

Sorry about that! You're not actually fired. Joe in HR is fired."

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Re: I wonder...

Easy - just delete him from the mailing list, or if you get it wrong, delete everyone except him from the mailing list.

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Pint

Fired myself

In my last job, I had to compile the figures proving that my team leader post was no longer required.

As I was looking forward to my redundancy payment and I already had another job lined up, I was well motivated, but it did feel a little weird.

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Facepalm

HR ??????

HR= Human Resources???

Oh! I thought HR = Human Remains!

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Re: HR ??????

Just remember that the job of HR is "to protect the Company from the employees", and you won't go far wrong...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HR ??????

I always thought it was Hopeless Retards

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HR ??????

Hardly Responsible - who sacks HR!

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Re: HR ??????

No, HR = Humanoid Remnants.

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Unhappy

Is it just me?

Or is email not the best medium to use when sacking anyone?

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Re: Is it just me?

Wonder when the first Twatter or Arsebook firings will be done.

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Stop

Face to face

If you have to get rid of someone, do it face to face. It might be because the employee is incompetent, the company is short of funds, or some other reason. But sit down, close the doors and ex

I've been let go once. At the time, I was expecting it (lack of company funds, finding myself with nothing to do), so when I got the phone call to come up to the boss's office, I knew what to expect. I didn't like him (nor he I). Never the less, he was never the man that would send an email to let someone go, or let someone else do the job. I respected him for that.

Anyone who is too gutless to sack someone in person - anyone who is afraid or lazy to actually explain his or her reasons to the retrenchee to their face - has no place in management.

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Re: Face to face

This!

Absolutely hammer right on the nail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Face to face

Ah yes. But that was back when companies hired people for the long term and tried to keep their employees motivated and productive. I can almost remember when personnel departments were supposed to be a part of that process.

But now, its all devilishily more simple. Human resources (like inanimate computing resources) are carefully benchmarked and rated. As soon as it becomes cheaper to bring in a new hire (or less hires) the swingeing machine gets into action.

Of course, little hiccups will occur on the production line, now and again.

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Coat

Re: Face to face

I've twice had to lay off my entire staff, and always told them face to face, even when it meant driving round the country at my own expense to do so.

In one job it was obvious we were being shut down, and the boss asked me how to do it. I replied "Whenever I have had to write a list of names I have always put my own at the top", explaining that you need to be able to look people in the face when sending them home. "Jah" he said, "Dat is gud advice". He went and wrote a list and put my name at the top.

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Re: Is it just me?

Facebook firing already happened - you must remember http://itsnotyouitsyourresume.com/wordpress/2009/11/24/5-%E2%80%9Csocial-media-don%E2%80%99ts-%E2%80%9D-for-the-career-minded. Although my sympathy is more with the employer than the employee in that case :-)

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N2

Re: Is it just me?

Nope, firing by e-mail is for spineless worms that don't give a shit about their employees & dont have the bottle to tell them face to face.

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Happy

Re: Is it just me?

Already been done - people who add their boss onto their Facebook friends list because they're the useless kind of tosser that adds EVERYONE, then they get drunk/tired/fed up and bitch about their boss/job....there's been a few in the press about people who insulted their boss and were then told not to come back into work on their profile.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Face to face

That isn't how it works. I worked for a consultancy that engaged more or less continuously in constructive dismissal. They were set in such a way that they could make you *look* incompetent even though you weren't, because that saved them paying redundancy. Of course, they made it appear they had remedial processes, but one close look would have been enough to realise that that was only for show.

At one point they tried it with a friend of mine, which was very amusing because they told him he couldn't leave without signing a form. He calmly called the police station around the corner and the HR droid had to spend a few uncomfortable hours explaining why he thought unlawful detention was a good idea. It was a nice tough he used his company phone for that. Needless to say, they ended up paying more than if they had tried to just play it straight..

Glad I'm no longer working for that outfit..

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Re: Is it just me?

"is email not the best medium to use when sacking anyone?"

The actual sacking may have been done face-to-face - the email reads like a standard admin procedure for departing staff rather than a "you are fired" message.

But I wouldn't want to suggest Aviva isn't utterly incompetent and uncaring - in their line of work doing so may count as harmful to their reputation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is it just me?

Nope, firing by e-mail is for spineless worms that don't give a shit about their employees & dont have the bottle to tell them face to face.

There's just one word to explain it; Aviva

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Terminator

Good that they didn't have full business process engineered and in place.

Receive E-Mail.

Access to computer automatically denied.

Can't open desk drawers. Automatically locked.

Window locked down, suicide is not an option.

Burly roboguard shows you out of your office; door closes and access code blinks red.

Speaker system gives out a canned announcement by good-sounding female text-to-speech system that you are now leaving the building.

Never be able to read the retraction.

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Re: Good that they didn't have full business process engineered and in place.

On the other hand... I wonder what the damage was? Without a full automatic lock-out, there was bound to be some employees who read the email and started yelling, "Fire ME, will they? Well, I'll show them! Goodbye, file server!!"

Even if only 1% of employees would consider sabotage, that's still 13 people with itchy trigger fingers.

It's happened before; a guy at my last job thought he'd been fired by email, and trashed a file server. Turns out, the email was spam: "You're fired! (...what would you do if this were real?)"

Though, to be fair, he was fired that day.

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Facepalm

My favourite HR balls-up - Not deleting the mail trail

A mail cascaded from manglement requiring technical staff to update our skills profiles in the database, so they could match skills to new projects.

A reasonable request, but the mail trail down from the top man also included the message to him from HR, saying "make sure they do it properly, 'cos they couldn't sell water to a dying man in the desert".

My motivation to do the task plummeted.

And as this is really about manglement rather than HR - Another favourite was:

During a cascade briefing, a Director told us "If you don't like (the recent changes), you know what you can do"

After a flurry of the best people resigning, there was another hastily-organised briefing, where the Director accused us of misinterpreting his words!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My favourite HR balls-up - Not deleting the mail trail

My favorite was being called to a company-wide meeting, introduced with: "Some of have probably noticed that there seems to be a lack of chairs. This is not a coincidence." - Indeed: anyone who had not managed to get into a chair got the straight sack!

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Re: My favourite HR balls-up - Not deleting the mail trail

'the mail trail down from the top man also included the message to him from HR, saying "make sure they do it properly, 'cos they couldn't sell water to a dying man in the desert".'

Presumably you immediately added that skill to your profile.

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Re: My favourite HR balls-up - Not deleting the mail trail

On rare occasions forwarding the shit on "by accident" can help confirm to staff just where in the organisation the Peter Principle is most prevelant. And ideally the faux pas by the incompetent is sufficiently discussed with senior management such that the incompetent agrees that "their career aspirations lie elsewhere".

Hasta la vista, baby!

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FAIL

if...

you don't read the email or you delete it unread are you still deemed to have been served notice of termination?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: if...

One very good reason to never automatically send read receipts...

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Happy

Retracted within minutes - I'll bet it was

So is that 2,4 or 8 minutes of an unfair dismissal claim? I'm glad I'm not the only one that gets things wrong now and again

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Retracted within minutes - I'll bet it was

Thought notices of resignation/dismissal could only be retracted by mutual consent? If so, any employee who was thinking of leaving anyway can just withold their consent (they have their dismissal in writing... 'just kidding' or 'oops I didn't mean it' isn't going to wash) and collect a nice fat redundancy payout...

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Pint

Re: Retracted within minutes - I'll bet it was

Unlike in computer programs, in the law, genuine mistakes don't count.

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Re: Retracted within minutes - I'll bet it was

Shame. Might make people more careful if they had to follow through.

Can just imagine some HR idiots sacking people every Friday due to a mistake in the system. Any company that employs people in HR that make this kind of mistake isn't a company to willingly work for.

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Anonymous Coward

"nice fat redundancy payout"

What part of "statutory minimum" is it you don't understand?

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