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The incalculable damage of layoff to morale and engagement

Robin D. Richards
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December and especially January have been observed to be the worst months for layoffs, and just last week the announcements have started to come in: Capital One announced plans to layoff nearly 1k employeesESPN to lay off 100+ after Thanksgiving, and Sears to close 63 locations right after the holidays. Contributor Robin D. Richards – Chairman and CEO, CareerArc.

Companies preparing for layoffs should know the new risks and costs of separation events, specifically on consumer brand and employer reputation: New data published by recruiting and outlpacement solution provider CareerArc after surveying 1,160 respondents:

66 percent of Employees Share Negative Reviews of Employers Who Let Them Go That percentage nearly double in two years (only 38 percent in 2015). The use of social media and employer review sites to share negative opinions also doubled.

Biggest Threat: Millennials Are Even More Jaded By, and More Vocal About, Being Let Go Millennials are 22 percent more likely than baby boomers to develop a negative perception of the employers who laid them off, are 2.5x more likely than Gen-Xers to share those views on social media.

What’s the Cost?: Poor Employer Brands Lose Out Job Candidates (Especially Female Candidates) & Repeat Customers: Only 1 in 5 candidates would apply to 1-star rated company. Female job seekers are 33 percent less likely to apply to a poorly rated company. 64 percent of consumers have stopped buying from brands tarnished by news about poor employee treatment.

Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds: Adults laid off during the Great Recession were 65 percent more likely to still harbor a negative perception of that employer today, nearly a decade later.

With this December marking the 10yr Anniversary of the Great Recession, it’s a important moment to investigate how layoffs are being managed and communicated in the age when millennials (who surpassed Gen X in 2015) now make up the majority of the workforce and are on pace to comprise of 75 percent of the working population by 2020. How can companies prepare for the millennial-majority talent market primed to influence, and be influenced by, peer-written reviews?