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WLW: Let Them Go

Marketing, Discussion, Employee Experience, Newsletter, Work Leader Weekly
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Marketing, Discussion, Employee Experience, Newsletter, Work Leader Weekly


Welcome to March and Women’s History Month. We got results from our first LinkedIn poll of the week and we ask another in this edition. Also in this newsletter, we have DEI challenges, WFH challenging creatives, and more labor law reforms. But first, have we found an alternative to layoffs?

Let’s jump into it. 

Just waiting for people to quit isn’t a talent strategy

Layoffs are still getting attention even though February was actually down from January, at least in the tech sector. Nobody wants to do layoffs if they can avoid it, obviously. But what happens when you do need to cut labor costs? 


The Wall Street Journal has some ideas. In an article this week, the paper wrote an article about how organizations can lay off staff without actually letting them go. Could this be the brilliant life hack that organizations can use to avoid the pain of layoffs? 


Don’t get your hopes up. The ideas implemented by organizations include:

  • Using new return-to-office mandates like Disney and Amazon to prompt voluntary quits for more remote-friendly employers
  • Social media giant Meta are upping the stringency of their performance reviews, giving thousands of employees subpar ratings hoping to constructively dismiss their way free of being overstaffed
  • Relocate entire units to corporate headquarters like Walmart and Tyson, knowing a good percentage won’t follow

How could this go wrong?

LinkedIn Poll of the Week
What’s the predominant way your organization is working today?

At face value, it might seem okay but it’s not. The people who are talented and who always have options see right through these actions. They are quick to find other opportunities at other companies.

And while your payroll costs may be solved, your talent problems have just begun. It’s a micro version of brain drain, where your organization shifts labor costs to people with less experience or skills than the ones you lose. That’s no good.

Organizations need their best talent to stay to help them navigate through business disruption. Desperately.

So what’s the alternative?

Trying to figure out how to get people — critically, the right people — to just leave the organization on their own doesn’t work. It leaves your fate completely out of your hands. It’s also a cop-out.

If you need to cut staff, an old-fashioned layoff with best practices and workforce planning built into the process is actually the best course of action when absolutely necessary. It allows an organization to develop a workplace that those high performers will want to stay at when the dust settles.

Let them go. The right way. Especially when it’s tough.

Weekly Linkedin poll result

Is your organization considering a four-day workweek? We asked; you answered.

Not surprisingly, it’s still early days for the concept. 70% said they aren’t considering a four-day week. As more data comes in from studies like the one in the UK or from organizations that adopt it, I’ll be curious to see how this changes.

Quick hits from around the web

What else is happening?

  • Is the age of the empowered employee over? Just to emphasize: We have a structural shortage of talent in the U.S. This seems like a bad bet to make. (Fast Company)

  • An Apple store worker is the new face of U.S. labor law reform. Captive audience meetings for union avoidance are in the spotlight. (Wired)

  • Great brands start within, with a great culture. Great brands aren’t manufactured. They come from core values that emanate from their people. (Newsweek)

  • DEI isn’t dead. It’s just evolving, experts say. I don’t think anyone would say it’s dead but the performative bullshit is making way for something different. (HR Dive)

  • Employee turnover is expensive — an algorithm could help (and also hurt). I’ve heard promises about this for years. I’m still not holding my breath. (HR Brew)

  • How the pandemic damaged creativity — and why remote work is only part of the problem. Nice to see WFH not be the only scapegoat to lackluster creative. (AdAge)

  • Companies value potential in employees — not candidates. Hiring for potential and soft skills should be just as important as developing them for existing employees. (ERE)

  • Internal mobility, talent marketplaces are ‘life-or-death’ survival strategies. Bersin talks to HR Tech’s virtual audience about connecting skills to people. (HR Executive)

  • People aren’t getting the COVID booster. Employers can change that. We figured out how to do this with flu shots but not sure employers should go further. (SF Chronicle)

  • The price of remote work? Your privacy. Giving employees a phony sense of autonomy doesn’t seem like it could backfire. (Allwork.Space)

  • Activision fired staff for using ‘strong language’ about remote work policy. Strong language for strong actions. Let’s see what the NLRB says about this. (Reuters)

  • Recruiting platform sees dip in remote jobs, despite workers’ demand. 70% of job applications are going to a decreasing number of jobs. (HR Dive)

  • The workforce is constantly changing and HR is, too. A great view into the evolving nature of HR in the government sector. (GovExec)

“The Wire” and a sweet potato solve a cold case

“The Wire” was one of the best TV shows in history and, with the help of DNA found on a sweet potato, helped solve a murder from 2011.

The lead that resulted in Hampton’s arrest was a phone tied to the name Marlo Stanfield, a fictional character in the HBO series “The Wire.”

In the show, a potato was used as a silencer.

Investigators found a sweet potato at the real scene of Lampley’s murder.

According to officials, the sweet potato had Hampton’s DNA on it.

Prosecutors have a pretty good case. The suspect was wearing a GPS monitor from another crime he committed which places him at the scene of a crime and the pond where the gun was recovered. As Malik ‘Poot’ Carr said, “It’s a cold world, Bodie.”

That’s it for this week!


Lance Haun

Vice President & Market Insights

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