Preparing for Tech Layoffs: 3 Tips for Leaders

A young Black woman leads her team in a project meeting


INTOO Staff Writer


While the tech industry is always evolving, it’s also subject to the same negative impacts resulting from economic fluctuations. In addition, its very own creations—such as AI and automation—are helping to eliminate jobs in the industry as roles no longer need to be performed by humans. With tech layoffs becoming common, leaders in the industry would be wise to have processes in place to prepare for such possible events in order to protect their organizations and brands. What makes the tech industry especially vulnerable to negative repercussions following layoffs? 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. 

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

3 Tips for Preparing for Tech Layoffs

1. Offer an outplacement solution suitable for tech talent. 

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. Tech talent is accustomed to mobile, on-demand, flexible service delivery. An outplacement solution that leverages technology and offers a more flexible approach will be more helpful to  a tech employee than one that is not. Look for one that offers multiple modalities to get coaching guidance, such as video chat, audio chat, and text messaging, as well as one with coaching available on weekends, when tech talent may need assistance preparing for a Monday interview.

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. But for the offering to be effective, it needs to be a solution that’s attractive to tech employees, and that means it should be one that employs coaches who have experience working with job seekers in the tech industry.

Learn more about how outplacement can support tech layoffs.

A male HR manager reviews outplacement benefits with a female employee who has been laid off.2. Review and refine your offboarding process.

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, news of tech layoffs often spreads rapidly; in the audience are the employees who remain with your company, competitors looking to attract your transitioning workforce, current and potential clients/customers, 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. 

Before you actually need to prepare for a layoff, have a process in place for offboarding, and ensure that it not only follows best practices but also reflects your values as a great employer.

Read more about offboarding best practices.

A young, female HR director meets with a male employee to notify him that he's been laid off.3. Communicate the layoffs 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 reductions in force (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.

How you inform your remaining employees about the layoffs is just as important. Make sure you cover these important details in order to stifle rumors and assuage fear and uncertainty:

  • The reason for the layoffs
  • How employees were selected
  • How those laid off have been taken care of in their transition out of the company
  • How the organization plans to move forward

Read more about the right way to notify employees of layoffs.

Read more about communicating layoffs to remaining employees.

In Summary

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. INTOO’s outplacement program helps employees transition to new jobs through an unlimited number of hours of one-on-one, on-demand coaching from premier career counselors, resume reviews, and other career services. Learn more about how our outplacement program can benefit your company when you’re transitioning employees.

INTOO Staff Writer

INTOO staff writers come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience writing about topics that matter to the HR and business communities, including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more.

Learn how to effectively build and transition your workforce.

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