Insurance firm accidentally fires 1,300 employees via email

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Here's an illustration of the ongoing need for IT leaders to school other parts of the business in the right and wrong ways to use technology: British insurance firm Aviva mistakenly notified 1,300 employees of their termination last week when an email intended for one poor guy was sent to an entire division, reports Chris Matyszczyk at CNET.

The greatest misuse of technology here was not in accidentally sending an email intended for one individual to an entire department. The greatest misuse of technology was in using email to fire someone. As Matyszczyk puts it: "How slightly inhuman ... that a company whose Web site says, 'Most insurance companies see policies. At Aviva, we see people' sends e-mails to inform staff of its sayonara rules."

A spokesman for Aviva (which is the second largest insurer in the United Kingdom) chalked the errant mass firing up to a "clerical error," according to Bloomberg. HR reportedly sent out an apology email in due course.

The misuse of technology in this instance racked up legions of not-so-flattering headlines across the globe (or at least across the Internet), making the insurance company look silly, at best.

IT leaders perhaps need to remind the business from time to time that just because a technology exists does not mean it should be used for everything it can be used for. Some things are still better off done the old-fashioned way.

For more:
- see Chris Matyszczyk's post at CNET
- see the Bloomberg article

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