Management Psychology
October 23, 2015 9:07 AM   Subscribe

My company is going through new management. We were informed that positions will be cut. We were told by upper management to make sure our resume is set up and we have a Plan B and C. Does anyone know of any documentation/study on the correlation of how many individuals told by upper management to have a Plan B leave the company? I am curious on how many they are expecting to find other opportunities outside of the company.

They did not give any numbers on who will be cut or how many.
I assume this has a lot to do with what industry you are in, and what type of individuals are in the audience. For example, if you are talking to a group that doesn't have many outside opportunities or are too comfortable in their jobs to look outside.
But I want to know if there has been any studies out there that I can look at numbers. I'm fascinated about the numbers.
posted by redandblue to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If they tell you about the layoffs in advance, and you find a job before they lay you off, they're off the hook for paying your unemployment benefits.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:22 AM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I found your question a little confusing, but I hope this anecdata is helpful in some way.

A company I've worked for had a "streamlining" of a section of their staff (which I didn't belong to). They announced that people would have to reapply for their jobs, which was essentially telling them, like you by the sound of it, that they might not get them so they better have a plan.

What actually happened was that they made very few redundancies indeed in the end, after finding during the process that they needed everyone they had to get the work done. But some of the best people in the redundancy pool went and got new jobs during that time, not wanting to sit and wait to see what their fate was. They ended up losing some of their most capable staff through this clumsy so-called streamlining.

It can actually be quite hard to get rid of people. So to answer what I think you're asking, for us there was a small number of people who took the opportunity to go work for somewhere that values them more, a large number who worried they'd be got rid of but weren't, and a very small number indeed who were actually "let go", who were generally temps or on short contracts anyway.

Edit: this was in the UK for reference
posted by greenish at 9:22 AM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't know about numbers, but I read legal rulings on this a fair bit - in Canada. By giving advanced notice and encouraging you to get ready, they increase the likelihood of attrition. They also increase the likelihood that you will get hired quickly. They perhaps reduce shock caused by the layoff, as you were prepared. All of these things mean they can pay out less severance. It also means that some people will land softly on their feet - to me, as a business owner, I'd like to think people had some control over the process and that we weren't the kind of business who turfed you on Friday at 4 in December.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't analyze or finesse this. They have told you you might get laid off. I would go full-bore on finding another job. I would run a job hunt exactly as if I were unemployed or in a job I KNEW would get cut.

As others have said, or hinted at, what will inevitably happen is the best minds will leave, which will not make this a nicer place to work. There is nothing to be loyal to here.

Whether this is a strategy to avoid paying you unemployment is kinda irrelevant, other than the obvious advice NOT to quit UNTIL you find another job. They don't want to pay unemployment; you don't want to be unemployed (unless you live somewhere that unemployment pays better than working, which isn't anywhere I know). You finding another job is a win-win.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:29 AM on October 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

I don't have any documentation, but here's what I've seen.

Almost no support staff or low-paid line staff leave. They tend to believe that a new job will be very hard to find, or very easy to find, and each view supports waiting out the layoffs.

A fair share of better-paid line staff leave, but almost always NOT the people you would want to leave, but instead those with the highest industry visibility, best headhunter relationships, etc.
posted by MattD at 12:10 PM on October 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

We suffered fairly catastrophic consequences when offering police officers early retirement (suddenly having very few senior personnel and also having too many people on the pension rolls.) It was about twice the number of losses that were anticipated. However, there was a lot of concern about injuries and it's a stressful job, so.
posted by SMPA at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2015

Depending on the size of the company, they may have assessed each individual employee's likelihood to leave (based on direct supervisor's sense of their abilities, interest in the job, market pay rate, and availability of alternate work) when hearing that message.

More realistically, there is no estimate of the number of people who will leave. They are in desperate times, and they are doing this to mitigate morale/trust impacts on the remaining staff after layoffs are complete. A surprise layoff of significant headcount destroys trust in a way that a previously-announced layoff does not.
posted by samthemander at 8:02 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your responses.
I'm not sitting on my hands. I have my resume fired up and my headhunters are waiting for my call.
My position is the Least Likely to get cut. But I AM worried about others I work with. The good ones leaving. That is why I was curious if anyone knew of any studies out there where they searched industries with this tactic to find out how many "head for the hills."
posted by redandblue at 6:20 AM on October 26, 2015

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