PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada has set the bar for the most cringe-worthy way of laying off employees.
Like many tech companies, PageDuty is laying off part of its staff to better survive the economic downturn. Tejada informed employees in an email, the contents of which were posted on the company’s site.
In her email, the CEO said the company will be laying off “roughly 7% of roles globally, the vast majority of which are in North America, primarily in our go-to-market and G&A organizations.”
Tejada then goes on to explain why the layoffs are necessary, as they’re designed to help the company better support other business ventures, something the laid-off employees probably don’t care about and would have been better left to another email:
Decisions were predicated on business rationale that included, for example, protecting investments in top product development priorities like our new Incident Workflows, self service and product-led growth (PLG), and continued AIOps and Automation enhancements, improving spans of control and streamlining management layers, expanding teams and roles in Santiago and Lisbon, and addressing our enterprise opportunity with a hybrid strategic and high-velocity GTM motion that continues to improve our productivity
The coup de grâce, however, was quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in an effort to make herself, the company, and its leadership look better:
None of this would be possible without you, our leadership, and our board — thank you for your grit and resilience, your commitment to our customers and your support of our values and people. I am reminded in moments like this, of something Martin Luther King said, that “the ultimate measure of a [leader] is not where [they] stand in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where [they] stand in times of challenge and controversy.” PagerDuty is a leader that stands behind its customers, its values, and our vision — for an equitable world where we transform critical work so all teams can delight their customers and build trust.
Interestingly, while Tejada says the company ‘stands behind its customers, its values, and its vision,’ its interesting that she didn’t say it stands behind its employees.
Predictably, Tejada quoting Dr. King has not gone over well, with the CEO receiving widespread criticism.
While PagerDuty is well within its rights to lay off employees, and may even need to, Tejada would do well to not quote Dr. King in an effort to make such a decision — one that negatively impacts so many lives — look better. Nor should Dr. King’s words be used to pat herself and the company’s leadership on the back at a time when her employees will be paying the price for that leadership’s miscalculations.