Company layoffs? A new method of getting rid of unnecessary employees in a fair and efficient manner. This new technique will surely be adopted by every HR department.


Companies have various approaches to firing employees (or “laying them off” or “making them redundant,” if you prefer a softer and more soothing terminology).

However, generally speaking, no one regards the layoff process as being pleasant for either the fire-er or the fire-ee.


Instead of making the firing process a brutal and harsh process, why not just invite all the employees (who might be fired) into a breakroom for a cake, to celebrate the company’s upcoming more-efficient financial situation.

Seemingly coincidentally, there will be a radio / 1980s boombox / vintage MP3 player playing a song.

When the song stops, people would normally expect another song to begin. However, in this case, the employees have actually stumbled into a game of musical chairs (Figure 1), where the reward finding a chair is retain your job.

(The employees that the company does not want to lay off should be forewarned about this “game,” so that they can be sure to grab a chair as soon as possible.)

Fig. 1: The employees (left) are enticed into the breakroom with promises of celebratory cake, but it’s actually a high-stakes game of musical chairs.


In this fashion, the layoffs can happen exceptionally quickly, and—since everyone theoretically had a chance to grab a chair—it feels more “fair” than the typical methods that involve employee evaluations, internal politics, etc. This way, no one’s feelings are hurt, and everyone retains a high opinion of the company!

PROS: Brings high efficiency to corporate restructuring.

CONS: May violate the Americans with Disabilities Act: consider how a person who walks with a cane would have a disadvantage in rushing for a chair. Additionally, it is impossible to lay off an employee in a wheelchair in this fashion.