Three tips to survive corporate sacrifice.
6 min read
The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.
WeWork's collapse last October was seen as the first warning of a bubble that was about to burst. About the crazed IPO valuations. On the reckless nature of venture capitalism. Along with the IPO problems of companies like Uber and Peloton , the firings of Casper the mattress startup and Oyo the cheap hotel chain , WeWork was presented as the bad omen; especially for employees who were laid off by the thousands. I disagree.
As the founder and CEO of a company that helps people find new jobs and is working with many of those ex-WeWorkers, the past decade I have helped companies with endorsement programs hire quickly to level them up. I've seen these cycles over and over again, and what employees don't need is a shoulder to cry on, but short, helpful tips.
Layoffs are embedded in the very nature of the ecosystem, where the market race demands a similar wave of hypergrowth. It often works, and that's why venture companies in the United States shed a record $ 136 trillion last year. But occasionally, this growth surpasses reality.
WeWork laid off nearly 20% of its 12,500 employees, with thousands more subcontracted or eliminated from subsidiaries. Implosions like this generate eye-catching headlines, for example a large venture capital fund gambling boldly but poorly. An independent CEO who fled with a $ 1.7 trillion parachute, while his workers received barely 4-month compensation. However, WeWork is more of an anomaly than a standard bearer and certainly nothing new. These explosions, whether through embezzlement or basic market wear and tear, have occurred for decades.
Three years ago, I was in the front row of a similar implosion at Zenefits , the RH software maker, which at one point was valued at $ 4.5 billion. As their prospects increased, they brought in my company to help recruit more than 100 people. So they fell short of their sales targets and discovered them cheating . The number of employees in San Francisco and Tempe, Arizona, decreased from 1,600 to 500. My company returned to the scene to help many of those who were laid off. Still, the market continues to move forward, as the United States is not lacking in invention and entrepreneurship.
What we learned from this and other incidents is that being fired en masse is not the scarlet letter most people think. Here are three tips to survive the storm.
1. move fast
There was a time when those who were fired en masse were rehired in volume, as other companies took entire teams off the lists of the dying. But this also means importing cultures that may or may not fit. Today companies are not just looking for ethnic or gender diversity. They are also behind the distinction in work and personal experience.
So while in the past you were considered to be in if they had already hired six of your colleagues, that is no longer the case. Now rather it means that the company reached its hiring quota with your level of experience. But if you are not the first at the door or a new job does not come quickly …
2. don't worry
When an avalanche of people with similar abilities enters the market, there is a natural absorption rate that moves at a certain rate, but the lack of immediate success presents you with a unique window. Use your compensation to travel, have fun, catch up on those appointments you have missed with the doctor and dentist. And most importantly, recharge yourself.
Polish your skills, attend seminars or that class you didn't have time for, and connect, connect, connect. Because in a few months …
3. The market will reopen
Employers are smart. They realize that the failure behind downed companies usually resides on top of most employees or is the result of unforeseen market forces. They also understand that this sudden influx of skilled workers is a moment of bonanza, not an encounter with someone with a scarlet letter.
What we have found in cases like Zenefits and others, is that after the first round of hiring there is a latency period of 3 to 6 months. This is when conditions change, employers re-examine their needs, and new rounds are about to begin. If you have a solid history of performance, there is little to worry about. For every big headline case like WeWork, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies looking for new hires; just as there were after reductions at Tesla two years ago or Etsy the year before, or after any number of layoffs at companies that are stronger today and are hiring again.
Yes, the immediate future can be difficult as investors are demanding faster routes of profitability and, ultimately, a way out. But this is also a good thing. Smart executives will read the Uber and WeWork stories as a precaution, forcing themselves to take a wiser approach to the pace of the market.
The United States has a history of two centuries of ingenuity. This is not going to be sidetracked by a few unicorns that failed to meet high expectations. There will always be unfortunate accidents, but there will also be a need for good people to help bring American inventiveness to the market.