Circuit City - We Fired You, Please Present This Coupon to Get Your Old Job Back for Less Pay...
December 12, 2007
OK, I realize I have beat this Circuit City thing to death, but the hits just keep on coming... To recap for you newbies, here's the HR/Talent related news of note on Circuit City, reported by this site and others in the last 10 months:
-March 2007 - Circuit City announces layoffs of thousands of employees along with plans to backfill the positions with lower-paid talent.
-November 2007 - Circuit City reported by the Wall Street Journal to have mailed letters to the ex-employees inviting them back to their old redesigned jobs, at a lower rate of pay.
Most of the commentary I have seen (as well as what I have written) has focused on all the drawbacks of this plan. They're pretty obvious, since it's a bad idea for ex-employees and Circuit City alike. Returning employees would be going back into an environment that seemingly didn't value them, and Circuit City would be putting employees, who are likely disgruntled with the company, back on the floor. How does that work for the employees or customers, and subsequently, Circuit City?
Over the last week, I started getting notes from ex-Circuit City employees, many of whom have received the letter from Circuit City. Read the comments to the last post here, which include the feelings of a couple of the ex-employees impacted by the layoff and who are now in receipt of said letter.
A couple of the ex-employees were nice enough to share the letter with me. The letters matched, so I am sharing the text of the letter below with the names changed to protect the innocent. Here's what it looks like the letter to all laid-off employees said:
This letter is a special invitation to rejoin the Circuit City team. We're a new Circuit City with a lot to offer our customers...and you. If you're interested - and I hope you are - we have a position waiting for you at any Circuit City superstore.
Over the past eight months, we have improved our customer service model, created new positions, and defined career paths for every store role. This means that at each stage of your career, you'll know the steps that can get you to the next level. The new Circuit City delivers a superior experience for customers and associates, and that's why we're reaching out to former associates like you. You have the skills, talent, and experience required for this level of service, and we want you back.
Be a part of the new Circuit City, and join us just in time for the holidays - the most exciting time of the year. Because of your skills and experience, we're excited to offer you a position comparable to your previous role at the most competitive rate possible. Simply present this letter to any manager at any Circuit City superstore. We will quickly complete the process and establish you as a regular - that is, not seasonal - associate.
Thank you and we hope to see you soon.
Sincerely, [signature] [redacted]- RVP
Is this the letter that went out to all employees? While I can't be sure, the two letters matched and also matched another report on the Consumerist, so it looks probable that this is the letter.
Now for the analysis. I think the whole idea of bringing employees back, at a lower rate of pay is a bad idea, so I'm not sure there is a good way to do this. With that said, I would have included some type of acknowledgment about the economic/business conditions that lead them to make the decision they did. After all, if things are so great, why was I gone in early 2007? Did you improve your customer service model by walking me out the door?
Above and beyond all else, I'm blown away by the text that I bolded in the letter above. "Simply present this letter to any manager at any Circuit City superstore..."? That sounds like a coupon I can present for 10% off any
iPod Zune (Apple doesn't discount their stuff), not the concierge treatment I would expect as a candidate from a company that really wanted me to be an associate in one of their stores...
What can I say besides....wow...