We all know that email needs to be redesigned so that the “Reply All” button is far, far away from the “Reply” button. Everybody who has a parent who likes to forward jokes to other parents — which is every parent, ever — who then have to tell everybody who got the email, all three hundred of them, just how funny it was before forwarding it to you again, knows this.
But it also bites alleged professionals just as hard. Like the HR guy at Aviva, a British insurer, who somehow managed to fire an entire branch of the company.
The message, a reminder that a non-disclosure agreement was in effect, got sent to the entire investing arm. Needless to say, people were surprised.
More than 1,300 workers at Aviva Investors, the insurer’s asset management arm, were shocked on Friday to receive an exit email from the HR department.
There was a stunned silence at the London headquarters as staff across the division read the unsympathetic memo – intended for just one employee.
It instructed all Aviva Investor workers to hand over company property and security passes on their way out of the building, and submit all electronic passwords.
The terse communication reminded staff not to spill any company secrets.
It read: “I am required to remind you of your contractual obligations to the company you are leaving. You have an obligation to retain any confidential information pertaining to Aviva Investors operations, systems and clients.”
The error has since been fixed. And, we assume, whoever was responsible got fired over email, because we need that sort of delicious irony in our lives.
(Image via virexmachina on Flickr)