In an era of economic uncertainty, the fear of layoffs looms large for employees. The mere thought of job insecurity can be anxiety-inducing, affecting not only those facing potential job loss but also the overall workplace environment. However, there is a way to make this process more seamless and less traumatic – by investing in comprehensive offboarding strategies.
The Layoff Landscape
A recent survey by ResumeBuilder revealed that 38% of business leaders anticipate layoffs in 2024. Consequently, over two in five U.S. employees find themselves living in fear of losing their jobs. A survey by Harris Poll and Justworks showed that nearly half of employees have actively changed their behavior at work to avoid being laid off. Layoffs are often associated with negative perceptions and experiences, causing distress among the workforce.
Shawna Simcik, VP of leadership development at organizational consulting firm Keystone Partners, emphasizes the need for a change in approach. She states, “Employers can do a very small thing to change that: They can choose to invest in employees while offboarding them, and shift that negative experience into a positive one.”
The Overlooked Investment: Offboarding
While companies invest significantly in onboarding new hires, offboarding is often overlooked as a critical component of the employee lifecycle. According to data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost to onboard a new hire is approximately $4,700, including equipment and training time. In contrast, offboarding can cost as much as $15,000 per employee.
Simcik emphasizes the importance of career transition services as a part of the offboarding process. These services, typically offered as part of a severance package, can be beneficial in both the short and long term. A recent study by Keystone Partners found that 77% of employees who received these services viewed losing their job as a positive experience. Additionally, they were 37% more likely to return to their former employer as a “boomerang employee” in the future.
The Changing Landscape of Employment
Simcik acknowledges the evolving nature of employment, where lifelong job security is no longer a guarantee. She highlights the need for employers to consider the entire employee lifecycle, acknowledging that employment relationships will eventually come to an end.
Investing in Employee Well-being
While the initial cost of additional offboarding benefits such as career coaching, job matching platforms, and development classes may seem daunting, Simcik encourages employers to consider the potential return on these investments. The research conducted by Keystone Partners revealed that 65% of employees who survived a layoff but knew their laid-off colleagues received career transition services viewed their employer in a positive light.
Simcik encourages companies to normalize discussions about layoffs and create an environment where employees feel comfortable asking questions. Forward-thinking employers recognize the value of considering the full employee life cycle, even during challenging times.
Conclusion: A Compassionate Approach
In today’s unpredictable job market, one thing remains certain – how employers treat their employees during their time together matters. The investment in comprehensive offboarding strategies not only minimizes layoff trauma but also contributes to a positive work culture. As Shawna Simcik wisely puts it, “Ask yourself: Where can you take them during your time together — however short or however long that may be? How will you treat them while they’re in your organization and when they leave?” It’s a question every employer should consider to foster a compassionate and supportive workplace environment.
“Employee Behavior Changes in Response to Layoff Fears: A Survey by Harris Poll and Justworks.”
Simcik, Shawna. “Layoffs and Offboarding: Shifting the Negative Experience into a Positive One.”
Cost of Onboarding a New Hire.” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Keystone Partners. “Employee Experiences during Layoffs: Research Findings.”