When you were a kid, you probably put on your white coat, placed your stethoscope with “Doc Mcstuffins” face on it around your neck, and miraculously fixed our sister’s severe case of “Super-Loud-itis.”
Pretending to be a doctor is a common childhood experience and for a good reason. Doctors spend over a decade studying and then training in the human body's complexities.
They then use that knowledge during an average of 50-60 hours a week, diagnosing, advising, comforting, treating, and hopefully healing their patients.
Their career is vital in ensuring we can live as healthy as possible, especially when disease tries to slow us down. They deserve to have a doctor's appreciation day.
Each year on March 30th is when we do just that-- when we celebrate Doctor’s Day.
Recruiting new employees is a very time-consuming and expensive process. One study found that it costs roughly $4,129 to hire a new employee with around 42 days to fill a position. This can cause undue stress on other employees and the company’s bottom line. Retaining current employees can be a difficult task, but it is much more cost-effective and efficient. Stay interviews are becoming more and more popular and are a great way to find out what is causing issues with your current employees so you can stop the hemorrhaging before it’s too late.
What is a Stay Interview?
A stay interview is an interview conducted one-on-one with a current, high-performing employee in order to determine what they like about their job and what they would like to see change. Stay interviews are often confused with exit interviews. They are two entirely different concepts. An exit interview is conducted with human resources after a person has resigned. This is to understand why they decided to leave. A stay interview is with an active employee with the goal of reducing employee turnover. One study found that stay interviews can improve turnover by 20%. It is important to understand what is working for current employees and what their biggest pain points are, in order to retain quality, efficient talent.
Since managers work with employees directly and have context for their specific positions, they are best equipped to conduct stay interviews. They understand what the employees are dealing with and can relate better. It is also an opportunity for the manager to really get to know their employees in order to create better communication.
Imagine you own a ship. You are staring out at the water one day and notice several people standing at the railing looking out, as if they are looking for something. They look like they are considering bailing out, jumping ship. Would you wait until they actually jumped to ask why? No chance. As soon as you saw those people looking out over the horizon you would ask what they are looking for. Why they are considering bailing out? Now consider you own a business. Does it make sense to ask employees why they are leaving when they have already decided to leave in the form of an exit interview? No! You want to know why they would leave before they do. That is where a stay interview comes in. Let’s dig in.
What is a Stay Interview?
A stay interview is an interview conducted one-on-one with a current, high-performing employee in order to determine what they like about their job and what they would like to see change. Since managers are those that work with employees daily and know the in and outs of the employee experience, they are the best person to conduct the interview. Employee satisfaction surveys are another way that employers previously gauged workforce engagement, but they are not as personal and not helpful in encouraging employee retention.
According to weforum.org, “more than 4 million Americans left their jobs in 15 of the past 17 months.”
Stay interviews are often confused with exit interviews. They are two entirely different concepts. An exit interview is conducted with human resources after a person has resigned. This is to understand why they decided to leave. A stay interview is with an active employee with the goal of reducing employee turnover. It is important to understand what is working for current employees and what their biggest pain points are, in order to retain quality, efficient talent.
Layoffs are rarely easy for anyone involved. You and your employees are left with looming anxiety as the company you know now changed. Among the fear of company stability, job security, and feelings of loss as they witness their former co-workers leave, employees may find themselves with corporate survivor's guilt.
Even though the remaining employees may be called “the lucky ones” for still having a job, that doesn’t mean they are unaffected by downsizing. You must address survivors' guilt to limit further damage to your company or an employee’s mental health.
What is Corporate Survivor’s Guilt?
When companies and organizations start to ‘let people go’ or lay off some of their workforces, there can be an emotional toll on those left behind. The emotional impact is what organizational psychologists call corporate survivors' guilt or workplace survivors syndrome. It is defined as:
Another day, another round of layoffs blasted throughout the news. Watching it unfold without any control over the outcome leaves employees, and those recently terminated, in a whirlwind of confused and raw emotions. The remaining workers at companies often suffer from post-layoff stress and guilt for still having a job when so many are left without one. The affected employees in a layoff will all experience an entirely different rollercoaster-like set of emotions. If you find yourself on the “layoff rollercoaster” and you are looking for validation or understanding of what has happened, we’ve compiled a list of employee reactions to layoffs.
Layoffs have become a standard part of the working world. There are signs of layoffs so you don’t have to be caught off guard. Check out 6 Signs layoffs are coming.
The term layoff instills a sense of doom in any employee in the working world. They also seem to be more common in this current economy. Companies are focusing more and more on rapid growth and they even plan to have reductions in employees eventually. The good news is, you can learn to recognize the signs of layoffs, so you aren’t caught off guard. If you are prepared for layoffs, they won’t seem so scary and you can plan for your next steps.
Six Ways to Recognize Impending Layoffs
Whether it’s due to an economic downturn, or your company’s revenue dropping (or both), financial loss is usually one of the first signs of layoffs. 38% of small businesses that fail, do so because of a lack of cash. Be sure to participate in all company meetings and pay attention to their revenue goals, and whether the company is meeting them. A lot of times, those of us who are not in upper management like to bury our heads in the sand. Or maybe we don’t think the finances are our problem. This could not be more wrong. If you notice projected earnings are not being met, it is a good idea to take stock of your role and the value you add to the company’s bottom line. Companies love to tout that revenue is not their only objective, but it will serve you to remember that money talks. Your company will not keep you on because they love you. They will do what is best for their bottom line. They are a business after all.
Layoff has become a term that is all too familiar in today’s economy. In these uncertain times, many businesses are considering layoffs in order to improve their bottom line and keep their businesses afloat. However, layoffs are by no means an ideal solution. They increase the workload for existing employees and contribute to decreased morale. They also require a reprioritization of business objectives and may require you to drop some initiatives that could help your company grow. Layoffs should be the last line of defense in saving a business.
How Executives Can Avoid Layoffs
Hire the Right People
One very important way to avoid layoffs is to hire the right people from the very beginning. Demand for new employees can be stressful, leading to a rushed hiring process at times. However, the investment of time into finding the right people for open positions is very important and can pay major dividends. If you hire someone who is self-motivated and efficient, it will cut down on costs in the long run. Efficient employees eliminate the need for extra employees. Self-motivated employees will free your time up to focus on other areas of the business that could lead to more revenue. If you focus your time and energy on hiring the right people, this is a great way to reduce your chances of layoffs in the future. Employee retention is another important thing to consider. Losing employees can be expensive so keeping them around is a great way to keep your costs down.
Create New Streams of Revenue
Now may be the time to give those ideas that have been forming in your mind some attention. Have customers been asking for a specific product or service? Now is the time to offer it if possible. Find the most cost-effective way to introduce a new product that will fill your existing customer’s immediate needs. Gift Cards and promotions are a great way to provide increased revenue without any financial commitments. Do you have extra office space or could you create extra office space? Leasing out office space is a great way to create a new revenue stream in this environment. Someone with a small business does not want the commitment of a full office lease and will take that space off your hands without any financial burden to you.
If you are waking up this morning with a newly acquired “on the (job) market” status, you might be one of the hundreds of thousands of employees in the tech industry that have recently lost their jobs during a mass layoff. A layoff tracking site estimates that nearly 120,000 employees have been laid off so far in 2023, and we aren’t even quite into the third month. If nothing else, it looks like you are in good company. Experiencing a job loss can be devastating to move on from, especially when it is unexpected, and it can leave you wondering how to navigate what to do after being laid off. Whatever the circumstances were it all boils down to a situation no one wants to find themselves in.
Fired vs. Laid off - What is the difference?
In the most basic terms, the difference comes down to who is at fault: you or the employer. Though they are quite different, some people might use the terms interchangeably. It’s important to distinguish the difference, however, to understand your situation better and know what job search steps you need to take.
Being fired occurs when the employee is at fault and it is generally caused by things like poor quality of work, issues with attendance, theft, or insubordination. It eliminates any severance compensation, or unemployment eligibility, and makes hiring managers less likely to offer a job.
A layoff happens because of issues within the company rather than the fault of the employee with common reasons being things like trying to cut costs, potential bankruptcy, mergers, buyouts, or relocation. Severance pay is often given in a layoff and there is a greater chance of qualifying for unemployment benefits.
A Layoff Could Be a Good Thing
No one wants to be laid off, but just because you find yourself in this situation doesn’t have to mean entirely bad news. According to the 2022 report from the State of the Global Workplace, 67% of employees do not feel a sense of meaning in their work, and they do not feel positive or hopeful about their future.
In the U.S. specifically, 50% of workers reported feeling stressed at their jobs on a daily basis, 41% as being worried, 22% as sad, and 18% angry.
State of the Global Workplace
Often it is easier to stay in a miserable work environment than to risk losing your income and not being able to provide for yourself and your family. If you find yourself in this situation, and you identify with those percentages of unhappy workers, consider finding a new job as an invitation to reassess the direction your life is headed. Perhaps this is the opportunity you didn’t know you needed to switch things up and take back control over your life and your happiness.
8 Things to Expect
Your pep talk has officially commenced, are you ready? Some sort of roadmap is helpful to know where to go next following something like a layoff. Allow us to get you started with a few ideas of how you can navigate this stressful transition:
First Things First
Before you get too many steps ahead, pause and take a long breath in and out. Layoffs are considered to be in the top ten of the most stressful events, and for good reason. Ensuring you have the money to buy food and pay your rent is obviously at the top of the priorities list. But remember, you are human, and your headspace during this process is vital to your success and your well-being. Just like you need food, water, and shelter, you also deserve to live in a mind and body that isn’t constantly in fight or flight. So before you start rushing to fill out as many applications as you can get your hands on, take a few minutes (hours, days, whatever you need) to breathe. Here are some ideas to help you process this experience:
Search for therapists in your area: you have already been forced into this unwanted free time so you might as well use it to your benefit. Look for someone who could help you avoid this severely impacting your mental health and help you set yourself up with a better foundation for moving forward.
Journaling: Writing can be a wonderful tool to help process the feelings around a job loss. It’s a great way to reflect on everything leading up to this point - what went right, what went wrong, and what you want to bring with you moving forward. What do you actually want in a new job? What kind of future employer do you want to work for? If your previous job was not moving you in the direction you want to be in life, what changes do you want to make? Set some goals, check in with your needs, and redefine what you actually value in life and in your career.
Meditation: This is becoming quite a cliché answer, but it is for good reason. Though it is not to be used as a substitute for medical care, using it in combination can have positive effects such as reduced anxiety and depression, lowered blood pressure, improved memory, and better sleep; All of which are important for job hunting.
Connect With Others: One of the things your severance pay cannot cover is the loss of community you might have had within your prior workplace. Creating meaningful connection is vital to our well-being, and without that sense of belonging our minds and our bodies will start to suffer.
Get Outside: The research continues to grow on the importance of nature in our lives. The vast majority of us are severely lacking in time spent outdoors and our work schedules do nothing to help that. According to the American Psychological Association, “exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation.”
Whatever you choose to do in order to care for yourself during this difficult time, give yourself some slack - you deserve it.
When a company has laid off employees, they will usually provide a letter explaining their decision to terminate and why. This is helpful to provide a prospective employer when going through the application process. They won't have to take your word for it when you say you were laid off rather than fired - they will have written proof. If you are provided a layoff letter, make sure you take the time to review it and make sure it is accurate. If it's not then reach out as soon as you can and request any necessary changes. If you were not given a layoff letter, get in touch with human resources and ask for one. They are easy to make, and that document could make a big difference in your job search.
During a layoff process companies will often offer a severance package. This is a contractual agreement of assistance the employer will provide the laid-off employee during their transition time. Benefits offered include financial compensation, health insurance, and possible job search assistance. Though they are not required by law, many employers opt to give them to to show they are a quality business to work for, and to avoid any disasters that could arise. Be sure to review the agreed severance terms and don’t be afraid to take time before signing. You usually have roughly 21 days to sign, so take your time and make sure you know what you are agreeing to.
This seems like an obvious step, but it's worth adding here because you deserve every bit of money that you have earned! Be sure to look over what you are given and check for any mistakes made or money still owed. Do some digging into the company policies on things like PTO and sick leave because you might be owed money for unused time off. Your severance pay will hopefully help, but any additional income is welcomed!
If you are currently facing a loss of health insurance with this layoff, you aren’t entirely out of luck. As of 2019 you are no longer facing a fine from the IRS if you do not have insurance which is helpful for situations like this. Also, if your company had 20 or more employees you are likely eligible for COBRA continuation of health coverage for up to 18 months. You might have to pay up to the full premium yourself, but it provides something to fall back on while you search for something else.
As long as you were let go from your job due to no fault of your own you are likely eligible for unemployment insurance. The process of how to apply and receive benefits varies from state to state, but most places allow you to get everything started online rather than in person. There are conditions to receiving unemployment benefits (things like being able to prove you are actively looking and applying for a certain number of jobs a week), but this is a great resource to help you while you are busy going from one job interview to the next.
Update Your Resume
Time to dust off that file on your computer and get it up to date. This doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. There are many different sites online that make building a resume quick and painless. A resume is the first impression a potential employer has of you, so having some quality templates to follow will help to steer you in the right direction.
Consider your Words Carefully
Having to consider words like “severance,” “job openings,” and “resume” after thinking you had a secure job position can bring up a lot of emotions. You could likely find yourself going through stages of grief and spending a chunk of time filled with anger (rightly so). Let yourself freely vent to friends and family all you want, but be careful what you put online. You never know what words you said while hurting can burn bridges or scare off future a hiring manager
Nothing we say here is going to ease the pain you are experiencing after a layoff. This is a situation no one wants to end up in, but the good news is you are not alone. There are millions of people who have gone through this process before and there is help to get you through this. Take what you learned up to this point and only carry forward with you things that help you create the future you want. Good luck!
Waking up each morning and scrolling the news feed is beginning to feel reminiscent of the 1993 film Groundhog Day. For months it’s been a never-ending stream of mass amounts of layoffs reported within tech companies, with no sign of a grumpy weatherman played by Bill Murray to come and turn things around. According to Layoffs.fyi, the tech industry saw an estimated 160,000 employees laid off from their jobs in 2022, and 2023 is already off to a devastating start. With not quite two months in the books, the number of displaced employees is already over 100,000 and promised to climb higher. Companies large and small are scrambling to deal with the repercussions of the 2020 Covid pandemic and are playing a contagious game of “follow the layoff leader” which is resulting in staggering amounts of (potentially unnecessary) workers without a job.
What is a Layoff
A layoff is a situation in which an employee loses their job because of decisions made by company executives for the long term health of the business. The difference between being laid off vs. being fired comes down to who is at fault: the company or the employee. In the case of a layoff, the company is the one who is to blame.
Layoffs within a company can happen for a variety of reasons as each company has unique aspects that separate them from others. Some of the most commonly seen situations include some of the following:
Are Layoffs a Good Idea?
Despite countless research showing that layoffs rarely achieve the end goal of the company leaders, they continue to be used both inside the U.S. and out. The lasting positive effects of layoffs are often difficult to find, but their negative effects are like neon flashing lights - impossible to miss.
Let’s pretend you are the CEO of a large company in the tech industry. We will call it “Company X.” Company X is experiencing a difficult financial situation all while watching the way surrounding businesses are laying off employees left and right. Discussions of a feared recession are happening, and an employee layoff has been talked about with the Human Resource department for months now. In the chaos felt during the 2020 pandemic, you over-hired and are now regretting that decision. It seems like in order to cut costs and avoid bankruptcy, following the current layoff trend might be the best option.
As a leader in this imaginary company, what would your vote be? It might seem easier to look around and copy what is happening all over the country, but it’s in your best interest to hold off and dig a little deeper. Displacing employees could help in the short term but the negative effects far outweigh the benefits, and voting against it might ultimately be the best choice of your career (imaginary or not). Listed below are 5 reasons why:
5 Negative Effects of Layoffs
If not handled carefully (and even when they are) a layoff can do a number on a business's reputation. It’s often said that “all publicity is good publicity,” but that logic doesn’t hold up here. Hearing a company will be conducting a layoff process signals to the public that the company is headed in a negative direction and can alter their perception of the business. Consumers might decide to invest in competitors due to a fear that the other company could go out of business, leaving them to look elsewhere anyways.
For years it was easy to keep a lot of information hidden about a layoff process, but that is no longer the case. Thanks to social media and the ease at which news travels rapidly, your business is everyone’s business, often within a matter of minutes. This leaves company leaders often scrambling in an effort to save their public image. Social media use also makes it all too easy for furloughed employees to share their negative layoff experience with their family, friends, and strangers across the internet. It’s not unheard of for large media outlets to catch wind of the story and create viral outrage directed at the company.
Risk of Lawsuits
One of the risks when implementing employee layoffs is suffering potential legal consequences (which also will become PR and financial consequences as well). If careful steps are not taken and the rules are not played fairly then things can turn an unfortunate job loss into a nightmare for company leaders. Some examples of this are:
Whistleblowing is a term that can be used when an employee suspects they were chosen for a layoff out of retaliation. If they had previously complained about unfairness or lack of safety in their work environment, the company might have to prove this was not the reason they were let go from their position.
Discrimination lawsuits are important to consider before moving forward with laying off employees in a company. They are filed when an employee feels they were unfairly targeted for job loss based on things like age, gender, ethnicity, or religion. For example, Twitter’s CEO, Elon Musk, is facing a lawsuit from disabled workers who lost their job last year. during the organizational change, Musk gave workers the option of volunteering to leave the company, or remain and agree to long hours and unrealistic working conditions. This disproportionately affected disabled workers who were physically unable to agree to such conditions and were left with no choice but to leave.
Advanced notice is often required when laying off employees and can result in unwanted lawsuits if not given. Some states have different rules based on the number of employees a company has, but here is what the U.S Department of Labor states regarding providing advanced notice:
"Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) (29 USC 2100 et. seq.) - Protects workers, their families and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs."
Currently, in the U.S., we are sitting at an unemployment rate of only 3.4% - the lowest it has been in over 50 years. So far, the massive amounts of layoffs within the tech industry have not managed to move that in a significant way (at least not yet). That isn’t always the case though.
Typically, when the economy slows down and companies respond by laying off lots of workers, claims for unemployment compensation spike; it’s happened before with recessions looming.
You don’t need to make too big of a leap to see how this could turn into a problem for the economy and lead to even more layoffs. When people make less money, they spend less money. When people aren’t buying as much, businesses aren’t profiting as much, which means they either cannot afford more workers, or they simply don’t need as many on their payroll. The natural progression of this is a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
Less Engagement + More Turnover
If a company is focusing on numbers, they might overlook the way layoffs could effect the remaining employees. This can, unfortunately, be a huge oversight.When employees are the backbone of your company, the last thing you want to do is make decisions that destroy their trust and loyalty, increase stress and burnout, and ruin employee morale in the workplace. Yet that is precisely what layoffs do. Many are left with the unsettling “survivors guilt” and no understanding of how to move past it. When an employee feels like the effort they put into a job will not guarantee security in that position it becomes difficult to feel engaged and want to work to improve job performance. Trying to work in that stressful state of “could I be next?” will undoubtedly stifle creativity and make it difficult to foster relationships with coworkers. It leaves little doubt as to why employee turnover rates rise following layoffs.
One study conducted showed that of the most stressful life experiences studied, being laid off was ranked at number seven. On that same list, it ranked above a close friend dying or getting divorced. The trauma from unexpected job loss causes serious physical and emotional distress in displaced employees and can lead to potentially life-altering consequences. Layoffs have been linked to depression, anxiety, the development of new health conditions, substance abuse, violent acts, and self-harm. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business tells the grim yet honest truth: “layoffs kill people, literally.”Not only do they raise the risk of suicide two and a half times, but they also increase the chance of death by 15-20% in the next 20 years.
The research overall is pretty clear - layoffs do more harm than good. Harvard Business Review states that of the companies that execute layoffs, the majority of them do not see improved profits. If little to no benefits come with so many negative effects, it raises the question - why risk it? With the challenges in today’s workforce, especially in the tech industry, many leaders will be faced with an important choice to make - follow the current trend of choosing a mass layoff, or bravely navigate a path of alternatives that leads to something healthier and more beneficial for both the company and it’s employees.
There’s no way around the toll that job loss takes on employees - the financial stress of losing a job and having to find another one, uncertainty of the future, the sadness of leaving a role that one might have enjoyed and felt genuinely fulfilled by. But there are ways that companies can handle it smoothly to minimize the negative effects as much as possible - and ways that it can be fumbled.