Online poll to determine layoffs boosts Belgian agency's business

Reaction to Apprentice-style website allows ad agency to keep all employees on payroll
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 02/12/2009

After a Belgian advertising agency set up an

Apprentice

-style website asking web surfers to decide which employee the agency should let go in order to stay afloat, the agency's economic fortunes turned around and the agency no longer needs to fire anyone.

The Brussels-based company, ironically named So Nice, posted mug-shot style photos and biographies of eight employees on a website in December and asked the public at large to vote for who should get the pink slip.

The employees were given the choice of whether or not to participate, said the company's co-founder Laurent Duffaut.

Duffaut blamed the situation at the agency, which has 10 employees including Duffaut and a managing director, on a drop in business, late payments from clients and a lack of government action to ease the economic crisis.

After all the attention the website garnered, including articles in the Toronto Star and more than 15,000 votes from people in 20 countries in less than one week, those delinquent clients made good on their accounts and the agency also attracted new business, according to a statement on the website www.YouChooseWeFire.be.

With old bills being paid and new revenue coming in, all eight employees on the website are safe from elimination. For now.

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