A recording of a technical employee’s meeting that fired him from a sales role at Cloudflare Net, -1.79% has fueled criticism of the company — and led to a widespread conversation about the right way to let employees go.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Viewers have called a nearly 10-minute TikTok video that went viral this week as “sad” and a “disaster.” Even Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince replied on x (formerly Twitter) that it was “painful for me to watch.”
In the video titled, “POV: You’re about to be fired,” former Cloudflare account executive Brittany Pietsch enters a virtual meeting with an HR representative and a director at the company, both of whom she says she Never met before. In a caption, Pietsch writes that she assumed they were meeting to let her go, because she had heard from coworkers who had already been fired.
In the video, company representatives say Pietsch had not met performance expectations, and Cloudflare had decided to “part ways” with him. Pietsch’s response is what prompted this clip to be shared across social-media newsfeeds: She demands clarification as to why she, specifically, is being let go by the company, specifically because she’s a new employee. Who hasn’t heard any negative feedback. She also asks why her manager is not part of this termination meeting.
“Each person one-on-one [meeting] Every conversation I’ve had with my manager, he’s giving me nothing except, ‘I’m doing a great job,’” she says during the meeting. “I’m definitely very confused and I would love an explanation that would make sense.”
The director, who cannot be seen in the video, says he “can’t speak specifically” about Pietsch’s performance.
In a statement to MarketWatch, a Cloudflare spokesperson clarified that the company has not made layoffs, and is not involved in force reductions. “When we decide to separate from an employee, we make the decision based on a review of the employee’s ability to meet measurable performance goals,” Cloudflare’s statement said. “We regularly review the performance of team members and let go of those who are not a good fit for our team. There is nothing unique about that review process or the number of people we let go after the performance reviews this quarter.
Pietsch did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prince, the company’s CEO, said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the company laid off 40 of the 1,500 salespeople in its go-to-market division. “This is a normal quarter,” he wrote his post, “When we are doing performance management correctly, we can often tell within 3 months or less of a sale whether they will be successful or not, even during the holidays.”
But he also said: “We try to fire completely. In this case, clearly we were far from perfection. It is painful for me to watch the video. Managers should always be involved. “HR should be involved, but it shouldn’t be outsourced to them…we don’t always get it right.”
Many viewers seem to agree, as the video has gone viral on Reddit, as well as receiving nearly 200,000 views on TikTok and millions of views on Xx.
“It’s a complete disaster on both sides,” said attorney Eric Pacific.
“Completely unfair to them,” wrote Austen Allred, CEO of online-coding bootcamp Bloom Institute of Technology. “There is great sadness across the board.”
On LinkedIn, Pietsch responded to the social-media uproar. She said that her manager was unaware that she was being let go, and that she did not ask questions during the meeting to try to save her job, but rather to get more clarity on whether she was up for termination. Why was it chosen?
“I will never be able to wrap my mind around this,” she wrote in the post. “As employees we are expected to give 2 weeks notice and yet when the roles are reversed we are Don’t you deserve even a little bit of respect?”
What is the right way to fire an employee?
It’s never easy to part ways with an employee who has 80,000 followers, according to human-resources consultant Molly, who runs the TikTok account HRMolly. She requested to be identified only by her first name for privacy reasons.
But that being said, it is very important to treat affected employees with respect. This may include sharing as much information as possible about why the decision is being made.
“I tell people that even if you catch someone stealing, there should be a level of decency in that termination meeting,” she said. “It seems that an important consensus has been reached in the meeting [in the viral video] There was a lack of some dignity.”
It’s also important to understand that this type of conversation will be difficult for any employee, Molly said.
“We know it has an impact on people and we know it’s emotional and it’s harmful. How can we do this in a way that causes minimal collateral damage?” she said, noting that she took the concept from fellow TikTok creator and diversity consultant Ciara Jones. “Companies need to prioritize the well-being of the employee who may be affected.”
As far as recording your layoff or termination meeting — that can be risky, Molly said, and is completely illegal in states that require you to get consent before doing so. .
But companies and human resources professionals would be wise to remind themselves that, in this day and age, this can happen, he said. And if a camera or tape recorder would change the way you handle the conversation, that’s a good sign to reevaluate.
According to its company website, Cloudflare has dozens of job postings for open positions at the company, including sales roles.
In his LinkedIn post, Pietsch said he’s not too worried about any backlash to the video that could hinder his chances of getting another job.
“Any company that wouldn’t want to hire me because I shared a video about how a company fired me or because I asked questions about why I was being let go is not a company I would ever want to work for.” I would also like to work,” she said. wrote.