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Layoffs this year have been mostly limited to the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, especially tech. But depending on your industry, you might find yourself face-to-face with a layoff if the economy slows more drastically in 2023, and it’s not always clear what you should expect from a soon-to-be-former employer as they let you go.
Recent headlines have show how wide in range layoffs policy can be from corporations, from the slash-and-burn approach taken by Elon Musk at Twitter to the pains some leaders are going to in publicly disclosed letters about job cuts laying out the various benefits being extended to departing employees.
Layoffs are a reputational issue for companies at a time when the American public ranks how businesses treat their workers as the most important ESG issue, according to annual polling conducted by Just Capital. Living wages, training and career advancement opportunities, worker safety, and diversity all factor into human capital metrics, but that doesn’t mean companies get a free pass on how they reduce headcount. “Layoffs can be done in a just way,” said Martin Whittaker, founding CEO of Just Capital.
“My general philosophy on letting people go is you want to treat people well because it all goes back to your brand and in today’s market employer brand is very important,” said Paul Wolfe, former head of HR at Indeed who now runs his own corporate consulting firm. “People exiting are still out there talking about your brand,” he said.
But there’s a big problem: many workers don’t know how to evaluate a job separation agreement, in effect, they can’t tell a just layoff from an unjust one. Here are some recommendations from career experts for an employer-employee interaction no one wants to have, but it’s better to prepare