CEO responds to 'painful' video of employee who went viral after being fired

CEO responds to 'painful' video of employee who went viral after being fired
Brittany Pietsch

The CEO of Cloudfare has responded after a woman posted a video on social media capturing the moment she was laid off.

The viral clip, titled "POV: You're about to get laid off”, was posted by Brittany Pietsch – who had been working as an account executive for three and a half months.

Cloudfare provides “security and performance for millions of Internet properties”, and its CEO Matthew Prince has since commented on the “painful” clip.

Rather than her manager, Pietsch was informed of the news she’d been laid off by HR executives she’d never met before.

Pietsch said in the clip: "It must be very easy for you to have these little 10, 15 minute meetings, tell someone that they're fired, completely wreck their whole life, and then that's it with no explanation - that's extremely traumatising for people if you can imagine that.”

One of them said to her in the video: “I don't think there's anything we can say at this moment or today, Brittany, that's going to change the way that you feel. Again, it's understandable, I'm taking notes and feedback. We'll circle back."

Since the video was posted online, Prince has responded to the video on Twitter/X.

He wrote: “We fired ~40 sales people out of over 1,500 in our go-to market org. That's a normal quarter. When we're doing performance management right, we can often tell within 3 months or less of a sales hire, even during the holidays, whether they're going to be successful or not. Sadly, we don't hire perfectly. We try to fire perfectly.

He went on to say: “The video is painful for me to watch. Managers should always be involved. HR should be involved, but it shouldn't be outsourced to them, No employee should ever actually be surprised they weren't performing. We don't always get it right.”

Prince also said that “sometimes underperforming employees don't actually listen to the feedback they've gotten before we let them go.”

Adding a comparison with the sporting world, he added: “Chris Paul was a bad fit for the Suns, but he's undoubtedly a great basketball player. And, in fact, we think the right thing to do is get people we know are unlikely to succeed off the team as quickly as possible so they can find the right place for them. We definitely weren't anywhere close to perfect in this case.”

Prince also said that the company would change the manner in which people were informed they were going to be laid off in the future.

“Any healthy org needs to get the people who aren't performing off. That wasn't the mistake here. The mistake was not being as kind and humane as we were. And that's something @zatlyn (Michelle Zatlyn - COO of Cloudflare) and I am focused on improving going forward.”

Sign up for our free indy100 weekly newsletter

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings

The Conversation (0)