Yeah, this isn’t something we like to talk about! We love talking about technology that helps our employees be better employees or technology that helps us find better and more talent. But the technology that helps us get rid of people, well, that seems a bit depressing, right?
In 2022 there have been public debates about what a recession is. We haven’t had one since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, so there is a very large part of our workforce that has never seen a downturn in the economy. We are on the precipice of an economic downturn, and companies will be laying off workers. Are you ready? How will you handle this? Spreadsheets?
Offboarding will be a major buzzword in 2023!
God bless the marketing pros who try and make termination software sound sexy! We don’t call it firing software or a termination process, we now call it “offboarding”.
At the HR Technology Conference this past year, I was a judge of the startup competition Pitchfest and one technology that was pitched was Onward HR. They actually did a great job and I really liked their pitch, but they were going up against a bunch of software that “helped” employees, not help you offboard them. Not fair to them, they had real HR software, helping solve a real HR and employee problem. A lot of the software pitched sounded positive and sexy, but it was mostly vapor. Onward had real HR stuff!
Big HCM software and payroll software will tell you they also do offboarding, but honestly, what they really do is basically just help you with the process. True offboarding should be about how do we humanely help our employees transition out of the company and quickly become re-employed. But also, a giant part of offboarding is ensuring those same employees actually might want to come back and work for us again at some point.
You see, layoffs, are an inexact science. Most organizations are bad at it because we don’t practice layoffs. We practice hiring. We practice developing employees. We practice performance management. We do not practice layoffs, so we mostly suck at layoffs. Quite frankly, I’ve never met a leader who wants to be good at layoffs!
That means the technology can help. For the most part, layoffs run like this:
- We make the decision of how many heads we need to cut.
- We then ask managers of people to make decisions of who specifically.
- We then try to find a way to let people know where everyone will basically know at the same time (this almost always fails and is terrible).
- We then try and move on and forget it all happened.
The problem with the last step is we basically move on from those departing employees, and those employees feel that, and it becomes very personal. We try not to keep a connection with previous employees. Then, two years from now, you try and launch an alumni recruiting campaign because you’re growing again and can’t figure out why so many previous employees hate you.
What is my advice for your upcoming layoffs?
Be better. Treat people like humans. I mean treat people like humans you will once again in the future want to have a positive lastly relationship with!