Four things Jack Dorsey got right in his email to staff about layoffs

 
Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
Jack Dorsey is the bad guy wielding the axe (Source: Getty)

Poor Jack Dorsey. Not even back with the Twitter flock on a permanent basis for more than a week, and he's already had to play the bad guy.

Wielding the axe to chop eight per cent of its workforce is the kind of tough decision the social network needs to make in the face of sluggish growth (and no doubt it's one of the main reasons he was chosen for such a task).

Being fired is probably a lot easier to swallow coming from someone who founded the company rather than some newly arrived stranger parachuted in.

In his email to staff announcing the cuts, Dorsey promised to be jargon-free. Whether he truly escaped those c-suite buzzwords is arguable (the phrase "we are now enabled to reinvest in our most impactful priorities" doesn't quite support his asssertion), but he should be applauded for the things he got right in a tough situation. And for anyone finding themselves in a similar situation, it's a good guide to how to do it.

1. Make it short

At just 342 words, Dorsey’s email is brief and to the point - essential for worried staff wanting to know exactly the changes affect them.

Who wants to spend valuable time deciphering an essay to discover if they'll be coming into work the next day or be turned away at the door?

2. Give clear business reasons

Admittedly, the use of the word roadmap is pretty jargony, but Dorsey directly addresses the reasons for layoffs: the business isn't growing, there's a new plan to make that happen and the current way the engineering team is set up isn't working to achieve that. It isn't sugar coating the fact that there are issues and changes need to be made

3. A little thank you goes a long way

A thanks never goes amiss. And not only does it come from Dorsey himself, but his urging for everyone to join in signals a feeling of "we're all in this together" for those remaining and in using the words honour and sacrifice, Dorsey signals fallen comrades rather than overweight baggage let loose.

He also directly addresses the main concern of anyone who falls on the wrong side of the axe - Twitter will go to great lengths to take care of each individual by providing generous exit packages and help finding a new job.

4. Be open and honest

Perhaps people at Twitter would criticise the authenticity (as would anyone in the same situation) but stating things that people think go without saying can make a difference.

"This isn't easy" Dorsey writes, and: "So we have made an extremely tough decision." Without stating the obvious, he would sound functional and like he was glossing over how bad the situation is - even if it leads to a brighter future.

Read the email in full below

Related articles