The series of layoffs that have swept across large technology companies, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Meta, have created an abundance of talent in the market.
Talent of this level is hard to come by under normal circumstances. Therefore, it is natural for organisations to make the most of this opportunity and try to hire the laid off employees, especially the specialist talent.
The first criterion for selection, however, would definitely be ‘skills match’. The most skilled and talented person who fits the role, will be preferred and shortlisted.
However, in a situation, where two or more people are at par in terms of skill set, their previous company can become the deciding factor. Of course, it will depend on the role as well.
“Every company has a unique culture, based on which it is labelled. Whoever joins the company, regardless of their background, is made to work in a specific way.”
Kamal Karanth, a talent specialist & founder XPheno
Believe it or not, there is always a perception in the market that employees from certain companies inculcate certain soft skills and behavioural traits.
“Every company has a unique culture, based on which it is labelled. Whoever joins the company, regardless of their background, is made to work in a specific way,” says Kamal Karanth, a talent specialist and founder, XPheno.
People coming from highly process-oriented companies, such as say GE, will be considered to be hard working and highly process-oriented beings. Those who work at Xerox, would be really good in sales as Xerox trains people well in that particular field.
Similarly, a Googler’s mindset is bound to be more innovative, as Google offers a work culture that values experimentation, creativity and work-life balance. On the other hand, Amazon is known for its processes, and a culture where employees work hard and long. Having opportunities to work independently and required to make quick decisions, employees at Amazon are bound to be trained for a fast-paced and results-driven work environment.
Therefore, “laid-off employees from different companies are perceived differently, based on the general image those companies have and the kind of talent they’re known for in the job market,” explains Karanth.
Suchismita Burman, former CHRO, ITC Infotech & founder, Be Inspired, believes that the culture factor works more for the senior-level employees than the entry-level employees.
“For senior-level people, the two significant factors that work are the span of control or the power dynamics and the role definition in another organisation, along with the cost of joining.”
Suchismita Burman, former CHRO, ITC Infotech & founder, Be Inspired
“Given the layoff scenario, the primary focus of professionals such as senior developers would be to look for stability in the new organisation, followed by the value the new company is giving to their skills. The employer, on the other hand, will select them based on the value such professionals are going to add to their existing workforce,” she explains.
However, Ramesh Shankar, former head of HR, Siemens South Asia & now founder, Hrishti, has a different take on this.
Though he agrees that the culture of Amazon and Google are different, the similarity between the two will be more predominant in the job market.
“Both companies have a strong focus on technology and employ people with a diverse set of skills and experience. Therefore, many of the employees laid off from these companies will have transferable skills, and the culture of the previous employer may not make a big difference to employers,” opines Shankar.
“In earlier times, the very word ‘layoff’ was a stigma. Now, however, people have come to accept it as a reality. Those laid off do not feel embarrassed to share the fact, as the companies are more at fault. Also, the companies compensate their laid-off employees well, offering them financial support and help with outplacement too.”
Ramesh Shankar, former head of HR, Siemens South Asia & now founder, Hrishti
Apart from the culture quotient, there are other ways to differentiate between talents with the same skill sets and decide which one to pick. There are several factors that influence such choices.
Compensation is one big deciding factor. Employees in these large technology companies are paid really well. And there will be a lot of bargaining involved. While the laid-off employees will try to retain their previous salary, the company planning to hire will also endeavour to get the best fitment without disrupting its budget or creating a disparity in the salaries of the existing employees in the same role.
“Finally, it will depend on the bargaining abilities of both the employer and the candidate,” asserts Burman.
“Earlier, the very word ‘layoff’ was a stigma. Now, however, people have come to accept it as a reality. Those laid off do not feel embarrassed to share the fact, as the companies are more at fault. Also, the companies compensate their laid-off employees well, offering them financial support and help with outplacement too,” shares Shankar. Both the other leaders agree with the same.
All of these have changed the overall scenario. This, in a way, has increased the bargaining power of the candidates, and they will not accept anything as an offer.
Apart from the compensation, laid off senior level employees from these large technology companies will decide on their next employer, based on the value the new company gives to their skills. Similarly, the equation will only work when the employer finds that such professionals can add value to their existing workforce.
“For senior-level people, the two significant factors that work are the span of control or the power dynamics, and the role definition in another organisation, along with the cost of joining,” observes Burman.
“Many things must be explicitly stated by both the parties. For instance, what is the motivation drive of the individual, the requirements of the role, the culture, how the power dynamics work and what is that one thing that both the parties are committing to each other,” states Burman.
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