Shoham Levy.

Firing employees and remaining a valued brand are both possible

Even though the industry has faced a slowdown in recent months, retaining skilled employees remains vital. However, to accomplish this objective, smart and sensitive organizational management is essential, writes Shoham Levy, CEO of Creativity Value

Everyone has been swept away by the wave, which has now become a tsunami. The trickles turned into massive layoffs in all high-tech companies, including the industry giants. The surprise intensification of layoffs has changed the discussion from a lack of programmers and developers to a fear that developers will have fewer job opportunities, despite the high demand.
As a result of negative headlines and a flood of downsizing, companies are confused and uncertain about the industry's super trends and long-term changes, an issue that has an effect on hiring. Although there is a slowdown, recruiting and retaining excellent employees remains a strategic and existential challenge for organizations. It is a necessity for survival in a world where competition for talent is increasing constantly. It is crucial to remember that $12 billion have been raised so far this year as a result of the investment tsunami that began after the outbreak of the pandemic. Today, companies compete for the best employees with 2-3 times more capital as they did in 2019.
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שהם לוי
שהם לוי
Shoham Levy.
(Photo: Gilad Artzi)
We are not in the peak period of 2021, when approximately $25.4 billion were raised, more than 3 times the $7.7 billion raised in 2019, but even a significant decrease in 2022 doesn't change the picture. A great deal of capital still competes for a talent pool that hasn't increased dramatically in recent years. Consequently, corporate branding is both an anchor and a strategic goal for high-tech companies, regardless of layoffs or cutbacks.
When a business begins with the premise that its most valuable asset is its employees, it formulates the most effective strategies. Startups must also conduct layoffs, but when the corporate brand is in view, they will make the most prudent decisions.
What is the best way to retain some employees while letting go of others? If the layoffs were handled fairly, the employees at the company would be able to evaluate the company's conduct in the future.
Commit time, energy, and resources to communicating the move and the situation that led to the company making cuts. Although management may believe that laying off employees is more easily accepted when the entire industry is undergoing layoffs, this is not the case. A fired employee wants to know why he was fired. Be transparent with the fired employees, since they are also your representatives in the industry.
When you start downsizing, transparency is key. Transparency will significantly decrease rumors about the company's current situation in the corridors. Management fears that the fired employees have nothing to lose and they will contact the media to inform them of the layoffs. Similar leaks occur in companies that fail to be open and fair with their employees.
Employer branding is not thoroughly examined when there is an abundance of investments and income. The success of a company is not measured by ostentatious parties, but by its corporate culture and how it manages its internal and external communications. A respectful and fair way of parting will gain attention and appreciation from existing employees and those who have left or been let go.
Provide as much support as possible for those who have been laid off. There are many tools that are almost free, in case the budget does not allow it. Even if the organization feels the employee did not excel, the company can still provide assistance, such as help in filing an unemployment claim.
Also, companies should assume that the layoffs will reach the media. Any other assumption may lead the company to conduct communication in an suboptimal manner. Just as high-tech requires professionalism in software and products, so it must also demonstrate professionalism in crisis management. Layoffs can damage the brand and the corporate image if media preparation is not performed. Therefore, it is crucial that you prepare answers in advance that will clear up any questions the media may have. Considering that the layoffs were leaked, it is imperative that the company acts transparently and reliably and discloses the exact numbers of those laid off.

The more employees notice that the organization behaves differently than it did yesterday, the greater their concern about the resilience of the company. The importance of updating and reporting that the organization continues the business journey, signs new contracts, invests in marketing, holds conferences, raises funds, and invests in itself and in its existing employees is particularly critical in times of cutbacks. Extra-organizational communication negatively affects the morale of the employees who remain in the organization and who are the most important.
It goes without saying that a decision to lay off employees will lead to a certain decrease in motivation. Shutting down corporate communication with the outside world only adds to concerns and creates a snowball effect. Whenever possible, keep the organization's budget and communications intact before making the cuts.
Shoham Levy is the CEO of Creativity Value, a startup, technology, and venture capital PR agency