I’m not an active Reddit user but I have certainly used it on occasion. It’s been the source of a lot of interesting (I think that is the right word) exchanges and information. Yet the firing of a single employee for unknown reasons (at the time that I write this) has seemingly set the entire user base against the organization.
For backstory check out:
- The Verge – Reddit’s most powerful members are holding the site hostage.
- International Business Times – Reddit in revolt: Why was popular director Victoria Taylor fired?
- Reddit – Why was Victoria fired?
Long story short, Reddit let go a well liked employee who was a key connection back to the volunteer led community moderators. This decision was not communicated in advance and no plan existed to make sure the community continued to be supported. Basically the company acted without caring about the users of the platform they had developed. They acted as if they were the only ones that mattered.
Take a look at the first two headlines – they use the words hostage and revolt respectively. Those are not the words of a slight disagreement or misunderstanding. This one seemingly corporate decision is tearing the entire system apart. All because this employee was a well liked, trusted and useful member of and to the community.
Your employees are not simply people executing your business decisions – the best employees are the embodiment of the business internally and externally. They may not generate revenue directly or program new features but they are critical to continued operations. Not just because of the job they do but because of their reflection of the culture of the organization. Fire a well-liked, respected and effective employee for no reason and you send the message that you don’t care about people – you care about arbitrary business needs that can change from day-to-day. That’s a bad message to send.
Just something to think on when it comes to understanding the role of people in your organization.