Navigating Layoffs and Being Laid Off, a Q&A with LHH’s SVP of Product & Solutions
Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) is the leading global provider of talent and leadership development, career transition, and coaching services. Vettery spoke with our SVP of Product & Solutions, Greg Simpson, to get his insight on how companies can navigate layoffs and how individuals who have been laid off can actively move forward in their career.
What is the difference between being laid off and furloughed? Why would an employer choose one over the other?
Furloughed employees remain employees with access to benefits. They expect to be brought back to work. Laid off employees, however, have been let go and are no longer employed. There is no expectation that they will be brought back to work. Furloughing employees during a tough economic time allows companies to maintain staff while reducing labor costs. By maintaining staff the company is better positioned to quickly ramp up as economic conditions improve.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking for a job after being laid off?
- Know your strengths. Take stock of your interests, competencies and skills. How are you unique?
- Know your reputation. Talk with former colleagues, peers and people in your network to get an objective perspective on your performance.
- Know your environment. Do some research to understand what skills are needed in your function and your industry. Identify a target list of companies where your skills and interests align.
- Set goals. Now that you have insight into what your options are, set short- and long-term goals that align with your aspirations and market needs.
- Set an action plan and upskill. Continuous learning is key in today’s job market. Develop an action plan to accelerate learning.
- Find a mentor. Connect with somebody you admire who has blazed a trail in your function or industry. Ask them about the lessons they’ve learned. Seek guidance and advice. Your mentor can also be a great networking source.
How should they address this on a resume or cover letter?
It’s important to show you’re active. Include temporary or contract assignments, pro-bono work, and volunteer activities related to your profession. Highlight newly mastered skills. When outlining your skills, be sure to include any you acquired or refined during your job search.
What recommendations do you have for uplifting the morale of remaining employees after a round of layoffs?
When not handled properly, layoffs can damage morale, hurt productivity, and actually lead to increased turnover. It’s critical to acknowledge what employees who remain may be feeling, including fear, anxiety, stress, and maybe anger. Leaders will want to be transparent and truthful in communications. Talk about what’s positive in the present. Provide support and training to help employees adapt and thrive. It’s imperative to demonstrate respect, empathy, and compassion. And remember to focus on the future.
Do you have any tips for employers on how to rebuild their teams in the future?
The employers with the most successful talent strategy in the future will be those who set in motion a renewable workforce strategy. This includes efforts in reskilling and upskilling, more proactive alignment of new jobs to existing employees, and a culture that fully supports mobility within the organization.
What types of services does LHH provide for individuals who have been laid off?
LHH works with individuals to assess, explore and pursue the best career options available to them – employing a unique strategy that aligns today’s digital hiring and recruiting methods with personal career coaches who help prepare individuals, and upskilling and reskilling from General Assembly and LinkedIn Learning.
Has LHH made any adjustments to their offerings based on COVID-19 and widespread unemployment?
LHH extended the duration of all of our active candidates who were looking for work at the start of the COVID-19 crisis in an effort to provide additional support in the face of a rapid downturn in the global economy. LHH also ensured that any and all experiences that would have normally been found within our offices were quickly made available remotely. This includes all networking forums, workshops, and employer introduction events.
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