Algorithms can be programmed for many uses and this one seem so very impersonal with first a mass email effort that contained instructions to call in to a 800 number and a code.  An automated voice according to this article told those who were going to be laid of to “stop working immediately” with no opportunity to imageask even a question.  This gets pretty cold when the face to face notice is gone but now add on the voice too.  This is stressful and when handled this way it is upsetting as at least the employee might want to have an opportunity to say something. 

Often I refer to those who use email without voice contact as the “text box people” and in time they do forget how to to relate to others face to face.  I see more of this happening every day.  A friend of mine told me she was in an airport sitting in the same area with other travelers when one man was checking his email on his cell phone.  While on the return run from a business trip, he received an email via cell phone that he was fired and promptly bought everyone a drink on his last expenditure on his credit card.  I could see me doing that too as again without an opportunity to ask a question or talk to a human, the frustration and disappointments have to come out some way or another. 

As soon as the dirty work was done, an outsourced company representative showed up to take company car, so again this was pretty much automated leaves humans with a very empty feeling.  The company said there was no other way to handle the layoffs quickly and efficiently.  Technology is good and helpful but the way some folks interpret their methodologies these days leaves a lot to be desired.  I would not like it and I don’t think anyone else would if in the same shoes.  BD 

On Nov. 30, employees at Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceuticals, the world's fourth-biggest drugmaker, received an email from the company wishing them a happy Thanksgiving and telling them to check their email again at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

A.R., a Sanofi-Aventis sales representative in California who wished to remain anonymous, as her contract forbids publicly disparaging the company, said she and her coworkers each received one of the two mass emails the company sent out that Tuesday morning. Both emails contained a code, an 800-number and a call time, either 8:00 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. The employees who were instructed to call in at the earlier time were told they could keep their jobs, but the 1,700 employees who called in at 8:30 a.m. weren't so lucky: They were laid off by a voice on the other line that told them to stop working immediately, and had no opportunity for question or comment.

Sanofi-Aventis told its employees they would be paid through Dec. 31, and gave them a modest severance package. A.R., who had only been working at the company a year and a half, received 13 weeks of pay and benefits.

A.R. says a representative from an outside company hired by Sanofi-Aventis to repossess materials came by almost immediately after the layoffs to take back the company car she had been driving.

The automated call seems to have had a ripple effect in at least one employee's life. A.R. says she was so "shaken" by the whole process and is so worried about the possibility of finding employment in this economy that she can't sleep at all, and it's affecting her ability to perform in job interviews.

Drugmaker Lays Off 1,700 Via Conference Call Ahead Of Holidays


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