How NOT to Fire Someone over the Holidays – especially when they manage the Twitter account

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ChefKnightTweetsSocial Media Firestorm: If you’re going to terminate an employee right before the Holidays (or at any time), change your social media passwords first….

Jim Knight, head chef for The Plough Pub, a restaurant in the U.K. who was very active on the restaurant’s Twitter’s account, took to Twitter when he was fired on Dec. 15.

The chef messaged the restaurant’s 2,000 followers letting them know of the Holiday firing.

Included in his rant were allegations of the poor quality of meat the establishment serves.

“So anyway come on down and continue to pay a premium for Australian sirloins, New Zealand lamb and everything else that is bought from asda.”

Much as in the case of HMV firing/hijack earlier this year, Knight’s Twitter hijack quickly drew the attention of the social community; his messages were retweeted thousands of times and drew international attention over the course of the day.

TwitterLessonThe establishment’s Twitter page has been cleared of all Tweets but one – a screenshot of the “firing tweets” and the account’s avatar is now one of “Citizen Smith” a Che Guevara “wannabe” character from the UK comedy of the same name.

Knight, who confirmed to the BBC that he was fired “following a disagreement over Christmas Day working” hours, says that he didn’t hijack the pub’s account as he was the one who created it in the first place (we beg to differ on that point).

As we have said before, it is no longer enough to think of all media as solely another medium to market your business.

Coupling a poorly planned, firing or termination with instantaneous messaging to the WORLD (over which you have NO PLAN to control) is a recipe for Callingallchefsdisaster. (Pun intended).

Handled improperly, communications will make a challenging termination worse, and can damage an organization’s reputation and its bottom line. Each termination and the circumstance is unique, and the communications plan associated with it will, and should, vary. What remains constant is the importance of developing and implementing a sound plan.

In 2009, I wrote an article titled The Layoff Will be Twittered. As I stated then:
“Social media has created an environment in which previously minor leaks in your organization become flooded pipelines. We also know that a botched layoff can damage a company’s brand. A chefjimknightstudy from 2001 between [then] Andersen and The Vault examined attitudes of 1,200 former employees. “We fully expected them to be unhappy,” stated a source in [then] Andersen’s human capital practice. “But what was stunning to us was the amount of documented carelessness that some of these people had been exposed to as part of the layoff practice.”

This was before the aggressive emergence of applications that further erase the confidentiality line – tools today are about transparency.

If you make a mistake today, millions of people may hear about it, not within days, but within minutes (if not seconds).”

This was almost five years ago, and businesses today are still making the same mistakes, taking the same risks, or denying that risk exists.

Please, let us help you.  Read this, call us, contact us….and let us give you a few simple ways to protect yourself.

On a bright note, Chef Knight announced via his personal Twitter account that he has landed a new job.



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