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Layoffs in 2023: How to survive & thrive

With tech giants such as Amazon and Meta slashing thousands of employees, Google employees say there’s growing anxiety internally that layoffs may come shortly. On the other hand, many small and large organisations have predicted a future recession. Maybe they’re correct, as the dark clouds don't seem very far.

The year has been tough for the tech sector in both the U.S. and India. According to the data compiled by layoffs.fyi. “In India, around 11,833 startup employees lost their jobs in 2022. And as per the Crunchbase News Tally, more than 88,000 workers in the U.S. tech sector have been laid off in mass job cuts so far. 

The figures show - now is the time to prepare for a potential layoff. 

What are mass layoffs?

Mass layoffs can be defined in two scenarios:

  • If a minimum 33% of the workforce working at the same geographical location loses their jobs.
  • When the laid-off employees amount to more than one-third of the company’s workforce or at least 50 employees lose their jobs within a month or less.

Such layoffs are devastating for employees and their families who lose their jobs and also affect the economy as a whole.

What companies have had mass layoffs this year?

Amazon & Meta initiated the mass layoffs in the corporate world in 2022, with announcements of trimming of the workforce amid rising economic uncertainty. 

  • Amazon - It has been reported that they will lay off around 1% of its global workforce or 3% of its corporate employees. In corporate and technology, Amazon will cut around 20,000 jobs and these initial layoffs are just the beginning of Amazon’s overall plan to shorten the workforce.
  • Meta - Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has announced that it will be laying off 13% of its employees. The move has impacted more than 11,000 employees worldwide.
  • Twitter - Twitter laid off 3,700 employees — nearly half of its global employees and it is the largest mass layoff of 2022 by a tech company.
  • Snapchat - Snapchat has confirmed that they will lay off 20% of its employee workforce, which accounts for approximately 1,300 people.

Aside from these tech companies, there are several others who announced layoffs this year, including Netflix, Carvana, Soundcloud, Coinbase, etc. In other sectors, DocuSign, Ford Motor Company, Tesla, Shopify, Vimeo, Loom and many others.

To objectify the reasons and the trend of mass layoffs we have compiled a few of the sayings from CEO’s like -

Mr. Zuckerberg told employees that he had believed the sharp shift online after the onset of Covid-19 would be permanent. “I got this wrong and I take responsibility for that,". He said this during the mea culpa offered by tech executives. 

Days earlier, after the twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, cut head count by roughly 50%. Twitter Inc. co-founder Jack Dorsey, who ran the company until last year, offered contrition “I grew the company size too quickly. I apologize for that," Mr. Dorsey tweeted.

There are several more tech leaders who spent years eagerly adding to their staffs and covid resulted in more. They are now taking responsibility for what has happened. Some say, "Sorry, but we grew too fast.”

Why do layoffs occur & what is the strategy behind them?

Many companies have slowed their hiring pace or frozen their hiring, while others have taken things a bit further by directly laying off - and it seems to grow exponentially.   

Not all job cuts are the result of a worker's performance. There are several factors that result in mass layoffs. If it happens, it is inevitable. But you can spot the signs that could result in layoffs like-

  • It's a red flag if a project is transferred to another person, even when you're qualified and ready to take over.
  • There are no new projects added to the portfolio; instead, you're asked to focus on existing ones more. 
  • All additional allowances, incentives, and perks are eliminated. 

You can consider such instances as subtle signs of layoffs coming. There are a few more instances that can be considered serious signs of layoffs to come, such as:

  • Decline in corporate revenues reflects the sense of belt-tightening like taking approval for petty cash which were unquestioned previously, new procedures for securing purchase orders, investigation of expense accounts etc.
  • If there are management shake-ups resulting in mergers and acquisitions, it's possible there could be layoffs in the future.
  • If hiring procedures freeze and there are no new hires in any team.
  • Discussions about funding or sources of funding suddenly stop, and top officials stop attending crucial funding and award meetings.
    If such signs are seen around you, there is time to get a head start now.

How can employees face layoffs?

If employees are laid off, focusing on three main strategies can help - 

  • Look for potential employers, available opportunities and find ways to upskill and diversify into other sectors.
  • Maintain and develop a network with your ex-colleagues and bosses to help you find leads. They can also uphold you in front of employers.
  • Develop skills in sectors like stock market, programming and content writing which will always be in demand as long as the companies are operating.
  • Deal with it practically rather than emotionally.

Employees should not view it as a setback, but rather as an opportunity to make amends. This is because there are now several communities and support networks for employees laid off unceremoniously and without following proper protocol.

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One such digital group is BeBetterAgain formed by Gangandeep Singh in April. Since then he claims he has connected people to over 100 companiesLayoffs, he says, diminish confidence in people, but the increasing awareness has reduced the stigma attached to them.

Kamal Karanth, co-founder of specialist staffing company Xpheno says “With more bellwethers and marquees carrying out layoffs, the erstwhile taboo about a laid off employee has vanished”. He adds “While layoffs are a disruption of an employee’s rhythm, it’s not the end of the song for anyone”.

The hustle between how to survive and how to face both could be well managed using workforce analytics. We’ve got a tool, check out how it works.

Tools that can help both employers and employees to overcome the bad phase

You cannot stop layoffs, but you can work through or avoid the bad phase affecting your financials and your team. This can be done with the help of employee productivity monitoring software like We360.ai.

Dr. Archana Tiwari, People Manager at We360.ai, explains how a productivity monitoring tool can be used to manage the workforce and prevent layoffs. She says “We360.ai is not only giving us an understanding of how our employees are performing currently, but it is also allowing us to predict their future success. In addition, We360.ai helps us improve employee productivity and identify their development needs. This software is helping us stay ahead of the competition by effectively managing our workforce in the current climate where many organizations are planning layoffs.”

How We360.ai can help?

  • Employers - It provides a real-time view to the workplace functionality and a detailed insight into workforce analytics. Employers can observe employee patterns, understand work habits and identify top and low performers. They can fetch employee work reports and evaluate employee performance, thus enhancing productivity at the workplace. Such perks of employee monitoring help business leaders and HRs keep things in control by prior analysing team’s efforts and timely improving them by coaching or training the weak ones. This will provide a balanced situation which could help you avoid layoffs during tough times. 
  • Employees - Employee monitoring provides employees with tools to self-evaluate their performance and work. Employees can know about their place at work, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and learn from their successes and failures. In addition, these evaluations can help employees become more dedicated, motivated, and engaged in their work and become more trustworthy. Moreover, it could also provide an opportunity to upskill abilities and diversify job roles. During bad times employees can be confident about their work and position at the workplace.

This shows both employers and employers can transform work processes with the help of employee monitoring software. Regardless of whether a situation is favourable or adverse, workforce analytics solutions are always beneficial. Protect yourself against economic pressures by keeping your workforce productive forever. 

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