The CEO (executive director) of the North American marketing startup HyperSocial, Braden Wallake, had a publication that went viral on LinkedIn in the last week – when he posted a photo of himself crying after laying off employees at his company. The post received several criticisms, accusing the businessman of putting himself at the center of the situation – which impacts much more the lives of the dismissed.
Affirming that he cares who he fires, Wallake said that “not every CEO is cold-blooded” and that the startup always puts its employees first. The executive director ends the post by saying that he loves all his employees and cannot imagine “a moment lower than this”.
“On days like today, I want to be a businessman who only thinks about money and doesn’t care who he hurts along the way. But I’m not. So I just want people to know that not every CEO is cold-blooded and doesn’t care. when you have to fire someone,” he wrote.
Continuing: “I know it’s unprofessional to tell my employees I love them, but from the bottom of my heart I hope they know how much I love them. […] I’ve always hired people on the basis of who they are as people.”
Comments on the post are full of criticism.
With more than 50,000 reactions and almost 10,000 comments on the post, several netizens felt that Wallake had made a mistake when posting the photo. In between short but jocular comments calling the CEO embarrassing, many people explained in detail what they saw as problematic in the post.
“You should elevate the employees you’ve laid off by putting their names on the post, giving them great recommendations on your Linkedins, and telling all potential hires why others should hire these people. If not, you’re just centralizing your loss rather than the them,” recommended one person.
Many offered similar analyses, justifying that Wallake should help the professionals he fired – since he has so much admiration for them. Others, however, applauded the CEO, calling him vulnerable and claiming the post “restored my faith in the business world once again.”
Braden Wallake apparently listened to the criticism and learned from the lessons offered. Just a day later, the entrepreneur posted on his LinkedIn a small profile of one of the employees he had to fire, Noah Smith, inviting contractors to get in touch with the professional.