What Do You Make of Best Buy’s ‘Termination Tuesdays’?

Discussion
Aug 09, 2013

From recent articles on the subject, one might get the distinct impression that it’s not a lot of fun working in Best Buy’s headquarters these days. According to sources within the company, the retailer has been laying off employees in small numbers over the past couple of months instead of doing it in one large downsizing exercise. Layoff notices have landed on Tuesdays leading to some black humor at Best Buy’s HQ with workers referring to the day as "Tornado Tuesdays" or "Termination Tuesdays."

A Best Buy spokesperson, Amy von Walter, confirmed that the layoffs have been taking place, but not on a weekly basis. The cuts, which have been spread across departments, have affected as many as 25 individuals depending on the week.

"When we committed to reducing costs as part of our transformation efforts, we said our first priority was to identify savings in nonsalary expenses," Ms. von Walter told the Star Tribune. "But we have also had to make some difficult decisions involving head count, which ultimately allow us to accelerate our work to transform our business."

There has been some speculation that Best Buy is reducing staff in small numbers to avoid federal laws requiring the reporting of mass layoffs. The company has denied this.

What is your take on what is going on with Best Buy and layoffs at headquarters? Are “Termination Tuesdays” enough of a morale buster to negatively affect the performance of people working at the chain’s HQ?

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21 Comments on "What Do You Make of Best Buy’s ‘Termination Tuesdays’?"


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Ian Percy
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Best Buy is having enough struggle trying to keep its energy up even without behavior like this. Any time a corporate decision is virally or spontaneously turned into a brand like “Termination Tuesdays” you know it’s having an impact on the energy of this culture; in this case, a negative impact. It’s hard to see the wisdom of gnawing away at an issue the way they are apparently doing. If there’s a goal they’re trying to reach, I’ll bet very few know what it is.

Mark Price
Guest
Mark Price
9 years 1 month ago

Of course “Termination Tuesdays” negatively affects performance of the remaining staff at headquarters. There is no way it could not. The best way to deal with harsh realities is to get the pain over quickly and move on with healing and renewal of the culture. The current BBY approach flies in the face of all of this.

Todd Sherman
Guest
Todd Sherman
9 years 1 month ago

Terminations and downsizings need to happen quickly so that the remaining employees can recommit and move forward. Having weekly layoffs undermines the very foundation of corporate culture and causes the remaining employees to doubt and second guess management. Better to rip the band-aid off all at once and move on.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

What is going on at Best Buy:

  1. They are cutting staff.
  2. The way they are doing it is no secret.
  3. If they wanted to keep it quiet, it did not work.
  4. Employees who fear their job may go away are likely to spend more time looking for a new job, since it is better to look for a job while you still have a job.
  5. The group that will find it easiest to find a new job are your best employees.
David Livingston
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Layoffs, like at Supervalu, or anywhere there is a distressed company, are never easy. You have to remember that the people who make the decision to fire people are also people themselves. They don’t always implement plans logically, but are driven by their personal feelings. Morale is never good at a financially distressed company. No matter what the termination policies are, morale will be bad.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

It is always painful to have to lay off employees, but as my first mentor taught me, the first cut is the kindest. In this case Best Buy would be better served to determine where it needed to be, make the decisions necessary, let those impacted know, and then let the remaining staff know it was over.

Not doing so makes everyone wonder if next Tuesday is their last day. That makes for a terrible work environment.

Zel Bianco
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Layoffs are not fun. And to do it in smaller groups is almost as traumatic, maybe even more so than one large group. Because now you have people looking over their shoulder and waiting for their turn. It’s extremely negative and disruptive to morale and performance. And if it’s truly done to avoid some governmental loop hole, Best Buy is not showing much compassion for its employees.

Mark Heckman
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Without being on the inside, it is certainly conjecture, but the theory of avoiding announcing mass layouts sounds plausible, but certainly not wise. Making smaller cuts each Tuesday, as is reported, is not only detrimental to the moral of the associates, but eventually trickles down to a poor shopper experience.

Dying the “death of a thousand cuts” is very rarely a wise path. My unsolicited advice is to make the cuts needed en mass, take your medicine in the press and move forward with a plan for growth.

Tony Orlando
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Best Buy is like other retailers who at one time were the Top Dog in their industry. The internet has changed the way people shop for electronics dramatically, and nothing is going to change that, as it will continue to get worse. Layoffs are going to be a way of life, and until they can reinvent themselves in a way that will bring in more customers, the axe is going to keep chopping away.

It is very tough to be in retail today, and this is another example of how the e-sales have altered how business is done.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

The remaining employees are now wondering what happens next Tuesday—are there more layoffs? Is it me? As a result the remaining employees have lower morale and dedication. How does that help improve Best Buy’s in-store performance? Why are they purposely making a bad situation worse?

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

The “best” way to do this is to schedule all your layoffs on one terrible day and then assure the survivors they are safe.

Doing it in stages tells employees two things: one, that their jobs are never safe; and, two, that management doesn’t really know what they are doing and is squeezing out strategy in dribs and drabs.

Are fear for your job and a general distrust of management enough to negatively impact store morale? I’d say so!

David Zahn
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

I am of the camp that says, “pull the band-aid off quickly.” Sure it hurts—however, it is then over and the healing can begin/continue. By doing it slowly, the pain is constant, the distraction immense, and the morale suffers.

John Boccuzzi, Jr.
Guest
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
9 years 1 month ago

Layoffs are never good for morale, but they hurt even more when you do it over a period of time.

Think about taking off a Band-Aid. If you do it quickly the pain is over fast and you move on. When you slowly pull at it, the hair and skin hurt and it gets harder and harder to complete the task.

I am not sure why Best Buy is taking the slow painful approach. No question this is negatively impacting the morale of people they were hoping would stay and help transform the business.

Make the cuts, let your people know it’s over and move forward with a vision that your team can rally behind.

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

It appears to be thoughtful process of reducing cost using a rifle, rather than a shot gun approach. They’ll continue the process only until it is not needed anymore. Moral can be rebuilt by taking the time to explain to remaining associates when the cuts are over in their area. Mass layoffs usually cause operating problems for years. By thoughtfully studying each area and realistically evaluating the staff, the lingering effect can be reduced.

Mike B
Guest
Mike B
9 years 1 month ago

Maybe they don’t quite know how many layoffs they need to do and are operating on the fly every couple of weeks, doing more layoffs to meet expense goals. I’d hate to see productivity and internal theft right now.

James Anderson
Guest
James Anderson
9 years 1 month ago

This sort of thing always works two ways—it will demoralize the weak and impact their performance negatively, but it will motivate the strong to put their best foot forward and try to shine in order to keep their jobs.

Warren Thayer
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Can’t imagine anybody at Best Buy isn’t looking for a job right now, with the associated low morale and loss of efficiency. When I’ve worked for companies that had big layoffs, they always said the rest of us were safe. I took that with a grain of salt, figuring I was safe for maybe six months or a year, but at least it took my mind off immediately looking for another job. If I saw regular small cuts all around me, I’d be looking to leave pronto. This just shows workers that management doesn’t have a real plan to get the company out of the quagmire, and that’s a bad sign.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Pretty much what everyone has said. But implicit in the QOD is that they know how many people they will (ultimately) be laying off. Perhaps that’s not the case; part of being a “struggling” company is not being very good at anything, including—in this case—knowing how many people to let go. And of course the needs change as the downward spiral plays itself out.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

I wonder why Best Buy has chosen this painful, always looking over one’s shoulder approach to their layoffs? They were just starting to clean their public persona after the CEO debacle, and now this. I agree it is easier although initially painful to pull the band aid off all at once. Then get on with getting on.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
9 years 1 month ago

It’s certainly bad for morale. But that might be exactly what Best Buy wants. Why? Because they may want people to leave on their own. Mass layoffs do require government reporting, but they also have a negative effect on operations. Best Buy may be willing to sacrifice morale in return for saving costs associated with increased unemployment insurance. People leaving on their own typically do it because they are looking for something new and they find it. If they find something new, Best Buy doesn’t have to pay unemployment benefits. I’m sure they have calculated a dollar impact and forecast what the costs might be either way. But this way, as heartless as it is, they may be able to keep more people employed longer and save the company money as a result.

Jeffery Lakes
Guest
Jeffery Lakes
9 years 1 month ago

It’s definitely suspect, whether it’s to circumvent federal laws or to manipulate financial markets and public opinion.

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