Changing Employer Attitudes Toward Layoffs

There has long been a certain stigma tied to being laid off from a job. Sure, it’s not quite the same as getting fired for cause, but it’s still not great to be seen as expendable when staffing cuts are required.

But that stigma might be starting to break down in the face of employers around the globe struggling to find workers. In short, any stigma surrounding being laid off is greatly mitigated by employers’ need to find workers.

Layoffs Leaving Some Employees in Enviable Positions

“Stories of workers posting about their job situations and actively seeking connections for new opportunities are becoming increasingly common, especially in the past several months,” writes Bryan Lufkin in an article for BBC Worklife. “Right now, the economy is in flux: the job market in countries like the US remains tight and still favors workers, but hundreds of firms are also laying off employees; a possible recession looms, and many companies over-hired last year when the economy was stronger.”

Lufkin suggests that the many workers being affected by layoffs today are shifting their perspectives from feeling humiliated to using their newfound freedom to land another, potentially better job. Contact headhunters. Share your experiences via social media channels like LinkedIn. Actively seek connections of all kinds to learn of new opportunities. Lufkin is seeing laid-off employees using all of these techniques much more transparently today than they have in the past.

“And as layoffs continue, these posts may continue to rise, turning a once-taboo topic into an opportunity for positivity, growth and even new jobs,” he writes.

A New Look at the Laid Off

For employers considering recently laid-off workers in their hiring decisions, it can be helpful to get a sense of why a candidate’s previous company conducted layoffs and why the candidate, specifically, was impacted. There’s a big difference between workers who were laid off because of poor performance and those who were laid off because the business line they served was eliminated, for example.

As a general matter, companies should be wary of dismissing potential candidates simply because they were recently laid off. For one, many companies simply can’t afford to be that picky. Moreover, the dynamic labor market and volatile economic conditions around the globe mean there are many potential employees available who may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time when layoffs were initiated.

If you’ve traditionally viewed laid-off applicants as somehow “less than,” it’s time to take another look.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.