During February 2009 the Chandler Macleod Group (CMG) conducted a survey of 5,250 candidates in the Australian workforce and found some interesting but not surprising results. I have summarised some of the highlights from the press release below, or you can read it in full online.
- 30% of all candidates have been affected directly or indirectly by job loss due to redundancy
- 76% of employees who remained in organisations that had cut staff planned to seek other employment opportunities
- Job vacancies still exist, mainly in the government, not-for-profit, health and utilities sectors
- 50% of employers are introducing “innovative” ways to retain talent, ie 3 or 4 day work weeks
- Applications for the jobs that remain have doubled in the last three months
For the job opportunities that remain candidates need to stand out from the crowd to quote Peter Gleeson CMG’s Executive General Manager of Professional & Executive Recruitment:
“Qualities that employers are looking for today in candidates are: resilience; strong leadership; ability to seek ways to remain competitive from a business development standpoint; and the ability to be more productive with limited resources,”
Earlier in the press release David Reynolds, Chandler Macleod Consulting’s Executive General Manager said:
“I believe that job losses will continue to rise steeply before the financial year end in June 2009 as organisations will need to show they have the strategies and structures in place to face the challenges of the financial year ahead.”
In summary while there might be job opportunities out there, and employers are looking for people who can help them survive times are going to get worse before they get better.
But don’t despair as Phillip Tusing from Destination Talent says unemployment is a bit of a strange thing:
For instance, Cabramatta struggles with an unemployment rate of 15.6%, while Wollstonecraft is 2.9%. To residents (employers and job seekers) of both suburbs, the national unemployment average doesn’t mean much.
Over the weekend Techcrunch posted about the layoffs traking place due to the economic downturn. There are two main themes in the post; first some of the layoffs are clearing out of dead wood and the other being it is hard to keep layoffs a secret when everyone is a publisher.
To the first point. This is not new companies have always used downturns to shed deadwood, not sure why this was even raised by Michael Arrington.
The second point is far more interesting and will have major impacts on employers for years to come. In a world where anyone can publish, and does, how you manage this process is critical.
But in the age of everyone-is-a-publisher it takes just a second after someone is walked out the door for them to post about it on Twitter or their blog, and it spreads from there.
Blog posts, tweets, video content all remain in search engine caches for a very long time, if not forever! Which means if you are thinking of cutting back here are some tips for doing so in a social media world, some of these are just plain common sense.
- Do it quickly, ok this is always the case but even more so now. Use the old carpenter’s rule “measure twice, cut once” the last thing you want to people having multiple chances of publishing about the process.
- Remember the jobs you are cutting have people in them. Treat them that way.
- But also remember humans do not make rational logical decisions based on information given to them. They will instead pattern match with either their own experience, or collective experience expressed as stories. This usually means they will react poorly initially.
- Provide employees some advice about being careful if vent online, make sure if they do it will not lead to nasty legal battles down the track.
- Expect things to be blogged, tweeted, and generally discussed.
- Monitor the internet to see what is being said. Allow people to vent but if needed gently correct the messages if they are blatantly wrong.
- Don’t get into a online publishing war over the smallest of things published, sometimes ignoring it is the best option. The more times search engines find a topic the higher they rank it in the results. Also bloggers tend to react quickly and harshly don’t give them additional fuel to write about.
- Communicate with the employees who are leaving, but do so honestly and openly, limit the corporate bullsh#t.
- Communicate with the employees who are staying, again do so honestly and openly, limit the corporate bullsh#t.
- Setup a Facebook alumni group (if you don’t have one), automatically invite all of the employees who are leaving. Remember some will be boomerangs.
- Setup an internal wiki to allow the people leaving to document their knowledge in a central location. This way you might collect some of the knowledge that is leaving before it leaves.
- Communicate to your customers, suppliers, media, analysts and blogosphere what is going on and why.
- Make sure you are not applying double standards with your executive team as this will certainly get people talking.
- Make sure the rest of the organisations is also cutting back on expenses. If you keep people flying first class while laying off employees this will also get people talking.
- Highlight the other cost cutting measures that the organisation is taking to show layoffs aren’t the only thing.
- It is a great time to have the CEO start an blog, this will show them as a real person a factor that should not be overlooked during this period of change.
- Finally make sure you pay severance packages fairly and on time.
These are my initial thoughts, have to head off and join the family but chip in with your own while I am gone.