Jack has been with the company for almost ten years. On a Thursday afternoon, he was called to the HR, where he was informed that his services were no longer required. Not that he’d done anything wrong, but the economy is tough, you know. A security guard was called to escort him to the door like if he were a convict. His personal effects would be couriered to him later.

Elsewhere, a company’s new CEO reduced the middle maangement layer by half, sending some 120 employees home. Here is how it looked from inside: a phone in a cubicle rings.  After a 30-second conversation, its owner stands up and makes his or her way to the HR, never to return. The whole organization is terrorized for days. No explanation follows.

Yet some other place, every Friday at 3pm for about a year, names are called over a PA. Their holders are to report to a meeting room. Everyone knows that they are gone. This goes on for a year. Morale is at its worst.

Here is my advice to you if you are considering taking a job offer or are assessing the state of the HR department within the organization. Before looking at their promotional materials, policies or initiatives, look to understand how they go about letting people go. That’s the basic litmus test.

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