CEO Jack Dorsey is eliminating performance improvement plans at Block, making it easier to let go of employees.

An exploration of how Jack Dorsey has taken steps to make layoffs at Block more palatable, and his broader approach to downsizing in a changing tech world.

Jack Dorsey's Approach to Layoffs at Block

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Block (formerly Square), recently approached an uncomfortable task - layoffs. He utilized a tactic of as much transparency as possible, making this unpleasant event more bearable for individuals involved. This act of candor helps to improve the overall relationship between the organization and its employees, reducing potential mistrust or resentment after layoffs.

Block's Unique Tactic

Instead of masking the reality behind corporate euphemisms, Dorsey preferred to maintain an open channel of communication with team members. He adopted a unique tactic as part of his transparent approach. Surprisingly, before any official announcement about the layoffs, Block's CEO sent out an email giving the employees options. They could either wait for the official announcement or opt for a face-to-face meeting to know their immediate future.

The Impact of this Tactic

This approach significantly eased the tension among workers, as it provided employees on the verge of layoffs more time and an opportunity to prepare mentally and emotionally. In effect, Dorsey’s strategy transformed the process of layoff announcements into a more humane and less traumatic event. It further fostered healthy relationships among team members and encouraged a positive work environment.

Layoffs Amid Covid-19

These layoffs are coming about two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. Every organization, including Block, had to face numerous challenges since it hit. The pandemic has changed the economic landscape globally, with businesses across sectors grappling with an uncertain future. Layoffs are one such manifestation.

Covid-19's Effect on the Tech Industry

The tech industry has experienced significant ups and downs due to the lockdowns and changing consumer behavior. While some companies saw a rise in their fortunes, others had to lay off workers, restructure their organizations, or shut down altogether. In such a scenario, managing layoffs effectively and sensitively becomes crucial.

Dorsey's Transparency

In these times of uncertainty, Dorsey’s transparent approach to dealing with layoffs is noteworthy. Not only did it cushion the blow for the affected employees, but it also maintained the trust and credibility of the organization. In an era of remote work, where personal interaction is minimal, Dorsey's method to deal with downsizing could serve as a model for other businesses.

Lessons from Dorsey's Approach

The delicate process of layoffs is something all CEOs may face. Dorsey’s exemplary way of conducting layoffs at Block indicates that a leader’s approach can make a significant difference. When a managerial task is handled with empathy and openness, it alleviates the negative impact on employees and the overall working environment.

Dorsey's Focus on Employee Welfare

Dorsey’s focus on employee welfare in handling layoffs is indeed praise-worthy and could pave the way for future layoff management. This high level of transparency shows that the company values its employees as individuals, rather than just focusing on the business side of things. It sets an example for other organizations to follow suit and underscores the importance of maintaining employee satisfaction and happiness.

Humanizing Corporate Decisions

Jack Dorsey’s approach shows that even business decisions that are typically seen as cold and impersonal can be handled in a way that places emphasis on the employees as individuals. Layoffs are never easy for the employees involved or the organization, but bringing humanity into these conversations can significantly lessen the impact on the workforce and contribute to a positive organizational culture.

The Role of Transparency in Business

The role of transparency in business decisions cannot be understated. Especially in the current climate, with the pandemic causing upheavals in various industries, such transparency can go a long way in maintaining employee morale and loyalty. With employers increasingly embracing remote work, maintaining open communication has become paramount to ensure the well-being of employees.

The Evolution of Layoffs

Layoffs, traditionally seen as a stressful and uncomfortable process, are changing. CEOs like Dorsey who understand the human impact of such decisions are making strides to make downsizing less traumatic. This shift in perspective not only benefits the employees but also the companies in the long run as it helps maintain trust and credibility.

Ensuring Employee Well-Being

The approach that Dorsey has taken underscores the importance of employee well-being. The knowledge that their employer values their happiness fundamentally changes the way an employee perceives their job and the company. In turning layoffs into a conversation instead of a dreaded event, Dorsey has created a blueprint for others to follow.

The Importance of Good Leadership

Dorsey's transparent approach in handling layoffs and the care he exhibits toward his employees demonstrates sound leadership. It exemplifies how significant the role of a leader is in maintaining a positive work environment and motivating employees. His actions show that he values the people behind his company’s success.

Adapting to the Changing Landscape

The world is changing rapidly, and businesses must adapt to survive and succeed. The possibility of downsizing is a harsh reality many companies face, particularly during these uncertain times of global unrest and economic chaos. Dorsey's approach to layoffs is a clear indication of adapting to the changing landscape and ensuring organizational resilience.

Maintaining Organizational Culture

Above all, ensuring a good organizational culture is crucial. The way an organization handles a challenging situation like layoffs can significantly impact its culture. The transparent approach Dorsey employed, treating his employees with dignity and respect, positively aids the culture of his organization, which will ultimately define its success.

The Changing Landscape of Leadership

Leadership, especially in the tech industry, is changing. Gone are the days of cloistered decision-making. Today’s leaders understand that transparency and open communication not only build employee trust and satisfaction but also contribute to a positive organizational culture. Dorsey’s transparent approach to layoffs is an example of this changing leadership landscape.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for many businesses, forcing them to take uncomfortable measures like layoffs. However, even in such challenging circumstances, leaders like Jack Dorsey show the way forward. By adopting a transparent and compassionate approach, they not only make layoffs less traumatic for employees but also strengthen the organization’s culture in the long run.