Article: The Great Resignation takes a dark turn: Is it now the Great Layoff? Expert weighs in


The Great Resignation takes a dark turn: Is it now the Great Layoff? Expert weighs in

As he discussed the flip side of the Great Resignation, Mr Haresh Awatramani, CEO of Beehive, emphasised that future HR leaders must possess a wider breadth of thinking, in addition to being tech-savvy and adaptable enough to manage a constantly evolving and unsettled workforce.
The Great Resignation takes a dark turn: Is it now the Great Layoff? Expert weighs in

If you parted ways with your employer within the past couple of years, then you were among the participants in what was dubbed the Great Resignation; a term coined in 2021 to characterise the unprecedented amount of individuals who vacated their positions in certain advanced economies following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And this grand upheaval in the labour market persisted, with millions more people leaving their jobs in 2022. Now, we are witnessing the opposite end of the spectrum, with layoffs becoming prevalent. With the considerable number of downsizings happening in various industries, it wouldn't be far-fetched to label this occurrence as The Great Layoffs!

In the past, numerous companies such as Accenture, Amazon, Nordstrom, Indeed, LinkedIn, Meta, IBM, Morgan Stanley, Twitter and others reduced their workforces. The magnitude of job cuts has become so extensive that it's difficult to keep track of. 

This has resulted in a plethora of questions arising from individuals, including inquiries about the reasons behind it, the consequences, potential solutions, and how it affects various generations. To gain a better understanding, People Matters reached out to Mr Haresh Awatramani, the CEO of Beehive, a company that provides HR software solutions.

Excerpts from an interview: 

Q. What factors do you believe are contributing to the shift from employees voluntarily leaving their jobs (The Great Resignation) to employers initiating layoffs (The Great Layoff)?

The three key reasons for the recent surge in layoffs include: A possible recession, the need to manage costs, and growing "too quickly" during a bull market. Rising inflation and interest rates have increased business costs, resulting in lower corporate profits and unhappy investors. In recent months, these factors have compelled many prominent industry players to implement a hiring freeze, lay off employees, and reduce spending in recent months.

Q. Do you anticipate any long-term impacts on businesses and the workforce due to the shift from The Great Resignation to The Great Layoff? If so, what are they?

The industry layoffs have jolted the labour market. The main impact for businesses is the need to justify their actions, but corporate reasoning is now being scrutinised in both traditional and social media. Anyone, thanks to social media, can now challenge workforce reduction decisions. Overall, layoffs destroy trust and have a negative impact on businesses in real but difficult-to-measure ways. 

In the case of employees, layoffs can have a negative impact on an individual's sense of self-worth in addition to the emotional impact. Employees who are laid off frequently feel like they have failed, which can decrease self-esteem and confidence. Employees may find it challenging to find new employment opportunities due to this, as they may believe they are unimportant to other companies. 

Q. What specific challenges do you think Gen-Z employees may face in the event of a layoff, and how can employers address these challenges to support their young workforce?

The main challenges that Gen-Z employees face in the event of a layoff are a lack of savings, a lack of job experience, and a lack of job security. Many Generation Z workers are just starting out in their careers and haven't had time to save. Many people may have little or no savings in case of a financial emergency, such as job loss. Because Generation Z is so young, they have yet to have the opportunity to gain the experience that their elders have. 

If they are laid off, they are concerned that they will not have the necessary experience to re-enter the workforce. Finally, even if Gen Z workers are employed, they may believe their job is in jeopardy due to the pandemic's impact on their industry. They may be concerned that their employer will lay off employees or that their position will become obsolete as the company adapts to the changing business environment.

Because of these challenges and ongoing economic uncertainty, Generation Z remains concerned about the possibility of layoffs. In many ways, Generation Z is at a disadvantage compared to previous generations. 

Employers can help the vulnerable generation by understanding that GenZ employees feel disconnected and have reached a breaking point. Putting mental health first, making onboarding a community-building exercise, supporting young talent with L&D, and finally trading screen time for connection time are some ideas for addressing the challenges that the young workforce faces. Businesses must prioritise human connections.  

Q. How can HR professionals help their organisation retain top talent during the period of layoffs or restructuring, and what strategies can they use to attract new talent in a competitive job market?

  • Talent retention is critical in any business economy. Some key ideas for engaging team members and retaining your most valuable asset, talent, include: - 
  • Provide clear career growth and advancement opportunities. 
  • Make sure that employee education is not an afterthought. Instead, make workforce career development a top priority across departments. 
  • Investing can help you retain top talent and intellectual property while constantly introducing new skill sets across the organisation. 
  • Maintain transparency by providing regular updates on business performance and budgets. 
  • Regular team meetings and monthly Town Halls should be held to ensure that employees do not feel stagnant or left in the dark—both of which can lead to them looking elsewhere for more engagement and security.

Companies may leverage layoffs to attract top talent and ensure long-term loyalty. Given the layoff of excess personnel, talent abundance is a hopeful angle for recruiters looking for potential hires within the organisation. Furthermore, organisations must foster a supportive work culture and working environment in which people can feel at ease to ensure job satisfaction, growth opportunities, and overall well-being.

Q. In your opinion, what strategies or resources can HR professionals utilise to support their own career development and growth during times of economic uncertainty?

Tomorrow's HR leaders must be bigger, broader thinkers, as well as tech-savvy and nimble enough to deal with an increasingly agile and restless workforce. To adapt to the new reality, HR professionals must improve their skills in seven critical areas that are critical to future success in the profession and are expected to be widely used by 2025. They include embracing technology and analytics to predict and assess everything from employee retention to recruitment strategies to wellness programme success. Understanding how the company succeeds and remaining focused on people does not imply removing humans from the equation. HR professionals must be prepared for the most dynamic workforce in 2025, market a modern benefits package, and stay on top of compliance issues. Most importantly, HR professionals must continually improve their skill sets.  

Q. How can technology, particularly HR Tech solutions, support organisations in managing the layoff process, and what role does Beehive play in helping companies navigate through this challenging time?

Layoffs are not always easy in all organisations, but having the right solutions can help automate many employee transactional processes and employee engagement processes that help understand the Psychology of the employees. This also aids in determining which employees should be retained and which categories should be laid off in light of the current situation.

Q. Beehive specialises in developing and implementing workforce management solutions. How has the demand for such solutions evolved in light of the changing dynamics in the job market, including the possibility of increased layoffs?

The great resignation, quiet quitting, the transition to a hybrid work environment, the threat of burnout, and the constant flux of external scenarios necessitates much more sensitive and well-thought-out organisational practices. This is where Beehive has upgraded the traditional performance management systems for both employees and HR managers. Beehive's upgraded performance management and Goal setting module, along with OKR, not only drives high performance in complex and dynamic working models but also enhances overall employee engagement. The demand for workforce management solutions has grown significantly over time, and it is expected to double in the coming years.

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Topics: Business, Talent Acquisition, Leadership, #HRTech, #HRCommunity, #Layoffs

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