There seem to be distressed and anxious employees all around us. What with big giants such as Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook’s parent company Meta, Microsoft, and many others in the tech space deciding to fire employees in big numbers. As per industry experts, almost three lakh jobs have been impacted in the last two months.
In fact, such layoffs have become so frequent of late that they have ceased to shock readers. Of course, it causes a lot of financial stress to the laid-off staff who are rendered jobless overnight, stuck with loans to pay off, and no funds to fulfill the needs of their homes and families. Another significant repercussion, however, is that employees lose their trust in employers.
The reasons are many. Internal politics, discriminatory HR policies, and the double-faced attitude of the HR department are some significant ones. However, the biggest cause for this distrust is the ‘hire and fire’ attitude of companies/employers.
Human resource leaders point out that this widespread layoff phenomenon is not new. n the past too, companies have fired employees during the economic downturns. “This leads to employees losing trust in their employers.
Clearly, it is a cyclic trend. Companies that are firing employees today were the ones that were hiring in big numbers two years ago. In fact, many even boasted about the fact that they were hiring in big numbers instead of laying off people. Reality hit these very companies rather hard when the downturn came.
The manner in which companies lay off their employees is also a matter of concern. For instance, people still cannot forget how Vishal Garg’s Better.com fired 900 employees all of a sudden, over a zoom call. It created a huge uproar on social media. The layoffs at Twitter are yet another example of unceremonious firing, where the impacted employees were informed of their employment being terminated by an e-mail from HR. Within a matter of seconds, they lost access to official accounts and laptops. No empathy was shown by the employer.
Earlier, companies focused on building cultures and values but now, the relationship has become very transactional. “All the ‘best places to work’ certifications appear like marketing gimmicks. When the time to show real empathy arrives, they become ruthless,” observes Devarshi Deb, former CHRO, Asahi India Glass.