Though U.S. layoffs have eased since the beginning of the year, February and March were particularly hard on the technology sector, and there could be more layoffs yet to come. Global Equities Research analysts predict that 333,000 layoffs will take place in the technology industry by the end of 2016.
The good news? With the knowledge that layoffs are on the rise in the tech world, companies can prepare and focus on tending to current and transitioning employees. Businesses should be proactive—not reactive—when job cuts become unavoidable.
In light of the tech industry’s slim down, here are a few articles to wrap up March that explain what compassionate employers can do to plan ahead and minimize the potentially adverse effects of future layoffs.
Pamela Rucker, co-chair for Women in Leadership at the CIO Executive Council mentions in this CIO article that instead of taking the “wait and see” approach to layoffs, IT leaders should be proactive. "For me, this isn't a time to sit back and wait for things to happen to us, but for us to look at how things will change, and what we'll do to change with them. The process of change itself is a challenge, and can present many opportunities for you to talk about other things with your staff outside of the fallout from the layoff process."
In her Forbes article, Caroline Ceniza-Levine urges displaced employees to ask their employer important questions before they part ways, such as “will I get outplacement coaching or other resources to help in the transition?” If employees are asking these question it’s crucial that businesses have answers—and good ones—in order to protect the employer brand during and long after layoffs. Offering outplacement services like resume writing and career coaching are excellent ways to give support and security to transitioning workers ahead of layoffs.
According to Forbes enterprise tech writer Alex Konrad, Optimizely became the latest larger startup to announce layoffs as valuations constrict across the tech industry. But Optimizely CEO Dan Siroker wants workers to know ahead of time that layoffs were not related to the performance of those that will be let go. As a leader, showing compassion and empathizing with the employees affected by layoffs can help protect your employer brand. “I care deeply about the individuals affected and believe the world should know that this decision was driven by factors outside their control and shouldn’t be viewed as a reflection of their performance,” Siroker wrote in a blog post.
At least 18 public tech companies cut ties with workers in late February and early March. Unfortunately, this trend will likely continue throughout the year. It is imperative that employers in that sector start planning now for the possibility of layoffs. Compassionate employers will need to focus on keeping workers engaged, informed and prepared—through services like outplacement—not just when layoffs loom but beforehand. The best defense against the adverse effects of job cuts is a great offense.
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