Layoffs Planned? What’s An Employer Brand To Do?

Like most companies, you’ve focused a lot lately on your employer brand.  Why?  Because you are paying attention to data that does more than suggest that the tie you have to your employees is growing more tenuous by the day.

You see the data:

  • Job satisfaction has been moving downward and is now at an all time low:  according to the Conference Board, only 45% of America’s workforce report being satisfied with their employment experience.
  • Over the last 6 years, the percentage of departing employees who would not recommend their employer has grown from 42% to 75%, according to company exit surveys aggregated by Corporate Executive Board
  • The percentage of all employees leaving their employers who are leaving voluntarily is growing – and now greater than the percentage of employees who are laid-off according to current BLS data.

And now, like HSBC, Cisco, Bank of America and a growing group of other employers, you’re about to announce a layoff.  A major layoff.  And like most employers, you still have critical job openings in several sectors of the business and in various locations around the world.  And you’re predicting talent shortages in many of your critical operations.  A layoff.  Really?

What’s an employer brand to do?

With the fluid nature of today’s global workforce, you know it’s critical that you maintain a positive employer brand so that you can retain the critical talent you have and continue to attract (and in the future rehire) top talent.

What’s an employer brand to do?

You know that over the course of the next decade recruiting top talent is going to continue to become more and more challenging and you realize that the way you treat employees on their way out of the organization has now become as important as how you treated them on the way in – now more than ever.  The way you treat someone during the upcoming layoff will decide – for them and their network – whether they would ever consider working for your company again.

Remaining employees have always watched how impacted employees were treated during a downsizing or restructuring event.  But now, as the Boomers are beginning to make other plans, as Gen X is itching to see the fruits of their labor, and as Gen Y is yearning to work for organizations that are changing the world – the perception of how their former colleagues are treated will have a significant impact on your company’s employer brand, how loyal they will remain to the company and ultimately how easy it will be to retain them.

In these days of lightning speed feedback on hundreds of social networks, one negative comment can spread like wildfire.  Treating employees with dignity and respect as they exit the company can do a lot to mitigate the risk of that happening.

What’s an employer brand to do?

Revisit your severance policies and make sure that outplacement services are front and center.  Companies like yours that have invested in your employment brand could easily see that investment go up in smoke quickly without providing immediate, 21st century job finding services like cloud-enabled virtual services that harness the power of social networking sites and semantic search engines to automatically and continuously deliver personalized job leads.

Truth is, there are outplacement organizations that are taking advantage of cloud computing, semantic search, virtual technology, and up-to-the-minute content being created by experts every day.  The harnessing of these technology and content-components have done two things that are important to employers:  they’ve driven cost out of the service and they’re helping former employees find jobs faster – saving UI costs and severance costs, in some cases.  Finding new jobs fast is the point.  For all the stakeholders.

While the traditional bricks and mortar outplacement firms are certainly “bolting on” some technology solutions to their learning based processes, and their consultants are learning how to harness LinkedIn and FaceBook for networking purposes, there are new entrants to the space – technology based entrants – that are redefining this industry’s processes, outcomes for laid-off employees, and deliverables to the employer.

Job boards, social networks, and the ubiquity of information about employers on the web have certainly changed the way people at all organizational levels and all levels of experience look for jobs today.  In many ways, job boards and social networks have made finding the right job a much more complex activity. Your outplacement solution needs to help untangle those complexities while motivating your former employees to move forward quickly.  Nothing will take the sting (and negative social media activity) out of job loss like finding a great new job fast!  And that’s good for your employer brand.

What’s an employer brand to do?

Be sure to review your outplacement policies before you take another step in the downsizing process.  Providing more service to more people could actually save you money.

More importantly, providing the right service can save your previous employer branding investment – because employees who feel supported as they leave their organization and who find great jobs quickly – continue to be employment brand ambassadors for you.

They won’t be part of the 75% of departing employees who don’t recommend their former employer.



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4 responses to “Layoffs Planned? What’s An Employer Brand To Do?

  1. Pingback: Can This Employment Brand be Saved? - Dice Insights

  2. Pingback: Can This Employment Brand be Saved? | Dice Resource Center

  3. Hi China. Your post speaks volumes and highlights the need for long term career management. Of equal importance is employee brand. Such personal branding is critical in these times when 75% departed employees won’t recommend former employers. The concept of personal branding stems from the practices of commercial product marketing. About a decade ago, Tom Peters referenced the concept in a Fast Company article “The Brand Called You.”

    From a lifelong career perspective, our personal brand represents all that we are. It is not what we are, but who we are. As a certified coach I refer to the “who.” The who represents continual development of self-awareness regarding core values, beliefs, ethics, integrity and guiding principles. Our brand, our who, is demonstrated on resumes and during interview discussions in the expression of lifelong learning and continual growth.

    Learning suggests we are self-motivated, and extends to our emotional maturity as a whole person. We demonstrate that we continually learn and develop ourselves i.e who I am. That ongoing cycle represents the path to lifelong career development new employers are eager to find in the 21st century fluid workforce.

    • Hi John: thanks for your insightful comments. The statistics about how disconnected and dissatisfied the American workforce are ought to give all business leaders — not just HR leaders — pause. Thanks for stopping by!

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