Be cruel to be kind when sacking your staff, say cocky UK bosses

In a scenario that could have come straight from the BBC TV show The Office, the new research shows that while senior company officials feel their own jobs are secure, they believe that when it comes to firing other people it's best to be cruel to be kind. 56% of directors believe that it is best to deliver the news using the plain-English word 'redundancy' rather than use terms such as 'realigning resources', 'organisational reshaping' or 'right-sizing'. However, over half (52%) of directors believe that British companies' strategies for communicating redundancies are poor or very poor.

Khalid Aziz, chairman of The Aziz Corporation, the executive communications consultancy that commissioned the survey, commented:

'Despite a rise in the number of disgruntled shareholders who have ensured the downfall of under-performing senior executives in several large UK companies, there is one group of people - the company directors - who still seem to enjoy a higher sense of job security than most.

'It is alarming that over half of those surveyed believe that British companies' strategies for communicating redundancies are still poor or very poor, and that these same UK bosses, who do not consider that they are likely to face redundancy themselves, will be the ones handing out the redundancies.

'Even after several high-profile instances of bad dismissal practice, including workers being notified by text message, UK companies still appear to be failing to address the situation with an effective communications policy.

'However, it may be some crumb of comfort to those people who are about to lose their job that, at least, if you are to be made redundant there is a chance that you will be given the bad news straight.'

The research was conducted as part of the seventh annual Aziz Management Communications Index.