As previously reported, the largest private freight brokerage in the United States, Total Quality Logistics, recently terminated a massive amount of employees last week. Freight Broker Live previously reported up to 700 employees suddenly lost their jobs late in the day, March 17th, 2020. It is worth noting for transparency, while TQL says this number is “grossly inaccurate” they would not provide an accurate number stating “as a matter of company policy, we don’t comment on specifics involving employee matters.”
Why the firings?
Many of the terminated employees told Freight Broker Live they believed the reason for the firings was due to the need to reduce the company-wide headcount after testing it’s remote software. According to internal sources, during a two week test of the system, the IT department realized their server capacity was not able to handle the number of users trying to access the system remotely. Several of the terminated employees were part of this testing process and were working from home and said the system was “slow and laggy.”
In emails obtained by Freight Broker Live, a day before the mass terminations, TQL CEO Ken Oaks sent a company-wide message to employees addressing the testing and possible issues. “Currently, we have 2,200 employees working from home, testing systems. IT will be adding more servers to our network to improve the speed and quality for our work-from-home users. Until that process is complete later this week, we’re holding on sending any additional employees home for testing or work-from-home moves.”
The official response from TQL was that they terminated “a number of employees from the company because of under performance.” Numerous terminated employees disputed this account stating that many of them were considered top producers in their department. All mentioned they were not on “goals” which prompted us to look into it a bit more.
We reached out to a current contact within the company to understand the “Goals” process.
“People get put on goals at TQL when they’ve been there a year or longer and haven’t hit TQL’s definition of success. TQL says you’re successful when you have consistently put up $4,000 [gross profit] for an average of 12 weeks. For brokers who cannot do that and aren’t making progress prospecting wise or aren’t “trending up” they get put on goals. First it’s a warning, “like hey, you’re about to be put on goals, do better.” And then it starts with small goals, “attainable goals”. Every broker has a weekly goal, for example: $4,000.
“If those brokers get put on small goals, they basically have to put up a percentage of that $16,000 they should make in a month. It’s supposed to be attainable, so the broker might have to put up $6,000 or $8,000 in a month. They will also have to hit certain metrics like calls, call time, and customer closes. They also will have to snipe (a technique TQL uses to gain new prospects). if a month goes by and they have hit most of these metrics or all their metrics they get to continue work at TQL.
“Hard goals come after this and usually months later when they pass the small goals but are going back to their old ways, i.e. not prospecting and not putting up money. These hard goals aren’t meant to be reached. It’s basically saying, we are firing you if you do not reach these metrics you’ve never hit before. They will pull the broker in and they will have to sign a paper and the broker will either choose to try to hit the impossible metric or leave. In my time, I’ve seen half walk away and half really try. All of them are gone. The hard goals last for a month and include putting up money that the broker has never put up before (hence the reason they are on goals). They will also have to hit their prospecting metrics.”
While TQL maintains the employees who were terminated were fired for “under performance, many who are still with the company feel differently. “The brokers who were fired did not get a chance to be put on goals. They did not get a chance to prove themselves,” said one current employee. While we may not know the reason for the firings, we do know it could have been handled so much better.
Editor’s note: Freight Broker Live previously reported 700 employees were terminated on March 17th, 2020. The decision to publish this amount was not an attempt at a headline or as some say “shock factor”. It was due to the conversations with 37 individuals, both current and fired employees prior to the release of Saturday’s article. Of those initial 37 employees, 11 reported the approximate count was 700 fired. Of those 11, 2 were current employees. When TQL corporate communications contacted FBL on Saturday, we asked for clarification of the total amount terminated, which they would not provide. Since the article was published and viewed over 50k times in 12 hours, Freight Broker Live has been contacted by over 100 current and former employees, the majority confirming the number was “well over 500.” Because TQL is a private company, and kept the firings under reporting levels as required by the WARN Act, unless they go on the record, and at which time we will update all articles, we only have the statements of those surveyed.
It is important for us to note, while other “media” outlets may rush to put out an article, only to edit out parts of articles days later in an effort to appear “credible” Freight Broker Live stands behind the content we write and make sure all of our information is verified and before we print it.