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Preparing for Tech Layoffs: 3 Tips for Leaders

An empty office signals tech layoffs.

Until the pandemic, tech layoffs were rare, as the industry seemed like one that could weather any significant economic downturn. But since March, some major industry players have either halted hiring or laid off considerable portions of their workforce as tech companies faced unprecedented challenges and losses.

Some of these companies, such as Uber and TripAdvisor, are tied intrinsically to elements of our lives that have come to a standstill, like commuting or traveling. TripAdvisor made extensive reductions in April 2020 in order to simply survive. With its rides down 80% in May, Uber cut 25% of its workforce.

Other companies may have been in trouble before the pandemic hit, and their need to make cuts was only accelerated. Either way, the pandemic has taught Silicon Valley that no industry is future-proof.

Pandemic or No Pandemic, Tech Leaders Must Prep for Change.

This is especially true for your bottom line and employer brand, arguably the two most crucial resources for any tech company.

Why? Tech is a small town: Everyone knows everyone, and everyone talks. Not only is tech a more intimate talent group compared to other markets, but it is where the war for talent is perhaps the fiercest. Pre-pandemic, the tech industry tied with healthcare for most in-demand jobs, with software developer topping the list. Now, with remote work becoming standard for tech companies, at least in the short term, candidates may compete not only with others in their own metropolitan area, but also with those across the country.

So how do tech companies successfully transition talent in this unusual labor climate, while minimizing the blows to employer brand?

Here are 3 tips for tech leaders who are considering a Reduction-In-Force (RIF):

Offer an outplacement solution that matches the needs, lifestyle, and flexibility that tech talent demands.

Outplacement is a career transition service employers provide their exiting employees in the event of a layoff to help them get a leg up on their job search. The traditional outplacement brick-and-mortar approach, wherein employees must drive across town to attend in-person resume workshops, is no longer possible in the new normal where remote work has become a necessity. Fortunately, tech talent is accustomed to mobile, on-demand, flexible service delivery. Outplacement solutions like Intoo’s leverage technology and offer a more flexible approach that fits the independent tech employee and the times.

Outplacement is proven to protect employer brand by reducing negative employee feedback resulting from tech layoffs, mitigating legal risks, and increasing the likelihood of boomerang employees. And like most SaaS solutions, a tech-based outplacement delivery is also more cost-effective than the traditional model. Learn more about how outplacement can support tech layoffs.

Review and refine your off-boarding process; ensure it not only follows the correct guidelines but also reflects your values as a great employer.

In-demand tech talent can choose where to work, and since tech companies experience the highest turnover, the choice to quit is made most frequently in this industry, and is not particularly newsworthy. In contrast, tech layoffs can be more public; in the audience are the employees who remain with your company, competitors looking to attract your transitioning workforce, and even members of the press.

The way you treat your employees at a difficult time will determine the character of your brand more than any employee benefit or perk you offer. Download our RIF checklist so you don’t miss any steps in the off-boarding process.

Communicate with clarity and compassion. The way employees learn of their layoff is crucial to the success of a separation event.

Communicating a layoff is one of the most difficult elements to manage and usually fails because of poor planning, mixed messaging, and simple oversight that often gets misconstrued as insensitivity. Speaking with PR and legal professionals who have experience in managing RIFs is advisable to solidify messaging and lessen liability. However, what you say is as important as how the news is delivered. Informing the affected employees first is always a good rule to follow.

By preparing for your layoffs, communicating the news with care, and offering tailored benefits to help guide your employees to their next opportunities, you will preserve the respect of your outgoing and remaining employees and protect your brand reputation within the industry. Download our outplacement guide for tech companies to learn how our services can help your exiting employees land new opportunities faster.

Intoo helps employers protect their employer brand and do right by their workforce by transitioning employees to land their next job nearly 2.5 times faster than the national average time it takes to find employment—all without leaving their homes. Designed for employees of all levels, industries, and backgrounds, Intoo’s coaching-first, award-winning online platform accelerates career transition by connecting candidates with career coaches faster and by providing personalized guidance for each individual.