Yesterday HMV, the beleaguered British entertainment retailer, laid off 190 employees, in an effort to cut costs and right its balance sheet. The company apparently pulled a large group into human resources and gave them the bad news. While this was going on, one employee, Poppy Rose, who had been an HMV community manager and thus had access to the corporate Twitter account, started live tweeting about the layoffs.
Over a period of around 20 minutes, she sent out a series of notes expressing her rising sense of alarm to HMV’s 61,500 followers (that number has since risen to 73,350). Rose admitted that it was unusual to use the company Twitter feed to express her views, but, she wrote, “when the company you dearly love is being ruined,” she felt it was justified. “There are over 60 of us being fired at once!” she wrote. “Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand.”
How did this happen? I suspect that most leaders are still not actively participating in social media, and therefore they lack the appreciation of it’s influence. Leaders, communication has gone beyond emails, memos, phones, meetings, town halls, focus groups etc. Pay attention to your social media and be wise about who you assign to manage them. How many leaders you work for actively uses social media as a form of communication with their followers?