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You are the Senior Vice-President (SVP) of Human Resources



You are the Senior Vice-President (SVP) of Human Resources for a financial software company that has 7,500 employees. In the past, the company has focused on selling a software product, AccountSoft, to large accounting firms. However, AccountSoft has suffered declining sales for the past two years, and management has decided to change the focus of the company to sell to small businesses and individuals. Because AccountSoft no longer fits with the new mission of the company, it will be sold to another financial software company—Accounting Support Services, Inc. (ASS).

The sale of AccountSoft to Accounting Support Services will affect two groups of employees in the AccountSoft division. Software developers will transfer to the acquiring firm, but the sales and marketing staff (about 150 people) will be leaving. This was the agreement with Accounting Support Services as part of the acquisition deal.

To announce the change in company mission, the sale of AccountSoft, and the upcoming layoffs, you advise the CEO to send an email to all employees. You are tasked with writing the email that will be sent. In addition, you will have individual conversations with employees who will be affected by the layoffs.

Write the memo to communicate the decision clearly and help employees understand and accept the change.

Audience-You are the Senior Vice-President (SVP) of Human Resources 

Though you are writing to all 7,500 employees, the sale of AccountSoft will not affect everyone the same. Two percent of all employees will be laid off and an unknown number will be transferred to Accounting Support Services. The remainder will remain with the company, but will need to understand how the change will affect their jobs.


Your purpose is to communicate the decision, the facts that led up to the decision, the employees who will be affected by the decision, and future company plans to all remaining employees. Be sure to include specific dates when the changes will occur.


Structure the “bad news” indirectly. Include at least four paragraphs. The first paragraph will be the context or buffer, the second will be the explanation, the third will contain the bad news, and the fourth will contain the goodwill close.

Style-you are the Senior Vice-President (SVP) of Human Resources 

When conveying bad news, tone is important. Choose a style that is clear and informative, positive and respectful. Consider the reaction to your choice of words conveying the bad news. For example, imagine the difference between saying “unfortunately, valuable employees will be laid off” versus “excess employees will be dumped.”


Management 306

Layoffs (Example)


To: Employees of Financial Software Systems
From: Diego Morales, CEO
Date: October 27, 2016
Subject: Corporate Downsizing

Throughout the last few years, our global economy has encountered a number of great depressions and recently, the software industry has been the victim. As you all may know, we as a company have done everything in our power to maintain net earnings at a maximum as best as possible. However with a warm heart, I am sadden to inform you that that hasn’t been the case lately. Before I state the company’s future strategic business plan I would like to thank the people who have kept this company alive.

First and foremost, I would like to thank each and every one of you for the hard work and dedication you have accomplished over the years. Out of all the 7,500 employees in this division, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want any other group of individuals to manage besides you. Not only am I proud of each and every one of you but you have all contributed to produce one of the top selling software products out on the market.

However, over several talks with the board of directors and production managers we have all decided to sell our product AccountSoft to an interested firm, Account Support Services. As well as each and every one of you, I am also very upset with this circumstance. I truly understand that AccountSoft is one of our major products but recently, it hasn’t been making sufficient satisfaction to our company’s specific mission. Not to mention that keeping this product under our production will result in an even greater loss in the near future. Therefore for the sake of the company’s future, a decision had to be made.

As part of this acquisition deal with Account Support Services, we have agreed that the software developers will also go to the acquiring firm. However, the sales and marketing team will not and therefore be leaving our company as well. It deeply hurts me to say that approximately 150 employees will be laid off. In the upcoming days, any one is welcomed to meet and consult with the Senior Vice President of the HR Department for further details or discuss more personal matters.

On the other hand, we have taken into consideration each and everyone’s circumstance and even though the acquisition will not be finalized for another four months, we have decided to prepare you for the future. During these four months, the company will offer free workshops. Certain hiring events will be held in the warehouse as well as resume workshops for anyone who seeks employment in a different field. The company will also offer a counselor for personal help and guidance and all these services will be offered at your convenience.

Now, as CEO I honestly understand how dreadful hearing bad news can be since I too have been laid off in my career. Therefore, I have managed to incorporate a perk for all those years you have all given for this company. As I said earlier, we couldn’t have gotten this far without any of you so consider this it as a “Thank you” in return. Now when the acquisition finalizes on February 24, all employees who are laid off will remain on our pay roll for another month. No further labor will be required after February 24, 2017 but each employee will still receive income.You are the Senior Vice-President (SVP) of Human Resources

With a deep heart, I understand that is not nearly enough to show you all how grateful I am but during these hard financial times, it’s the best I can do. A rigid choice has led our company to relinquish a great select group of individuals and in the upcoming path, I your CEO will make sure the necessary tools and help is provided to facilitate every need. We all here at MISYS gladly appreciate your cooperation and understanding with our distance. Last thing to do is to consider this a setback, but rather instead a new beginning. Any further questions or regards are highly welcomed and the HR Department is also available to serve you. We are here for you and with you until the end.