The importance of EX during periods of mass layoffs and economic uncertainty

It’s time to talk about the contrary labor market. Just know, if you’re scrolling your news feed and are feeling confused, you’re not alone. 

On the one hand, we’re hearing more and more about “the great resignation” — the elevated rate at which workers are quitting their jobs for increased compensation, better development opportunities, greater workplace flexibility, and more work-life balance. And then, at the same time, news about another mass layoff pops up on our feed. Companies are rescinding job offers at the last minute — primarily due to a slowdown in the venture capital market — leaving many of us worried about the projections of a recession in the making. 

In the United States 4.5 million people resigned from their positions in November 2021

If that isn’t enough, we’re also experiencing a significant post-pandemic labor shortage across industries such as retail, hospitality and travel. Workers from these sectors had to pivot when COVID-19 impacted their employment, and as consumers, we’ve seen the strain firsthand. Anyone else had to suffer the neverending queues at an airport recently, or seen their favorite local restaurant close down its doors for good?  

For employees, job seekers, and HR professionals, this is certainly a challenging landscape. So what do all parties need to be prioritizing during this tumultuous and seemingly contradictory time? The employee experience — or what we at Ada affectionately call “EX.” 

To reduce employee churn, maintain employee engagement after layoffs, and reassure candidates that they are joining a company that can support their career goals, EX is paramount. Now, let’s get into the why and the how. 

What companies should be thinking about when it comes to EX

During these kinds of macroeconomic events, employers should be anticipating employee perceptions throughout the employment journey. EX is the result of all the interactions an employee has with their employer — the good and bad experiences that can have radical impacts on employer brand, as well as reputation in the marketplace for both clients and candidates.

Ensure empathy is a part of your strategy

Something that we lean on at Ada during challenging times is one of our core values — empathy. And by empathy, I mean putting policies and programs in place that are rooted in compassion and understanding.

Of course, organizations are focusing on navigating the complexities of this current market. But it’s critical to balance measured growth and an urgency to hire great talent with reassuring existing employees around job security to maintain morale.

Brands should think about empathy in the same way they take the time to understand their customers. Employee and candidate experiences need to be designed in a way that’s considerate, consistent, and practical. This means treating every employee like a VIP, even when making the tough decisions that could negatively impact them. 

Only 67% of surveyed global information workers say that their company does a good job of providing an environment where they can be productive

By creating experiences that delight your employees — like saving them time or effort through automated interactions, transparent communication across the organization, providing learning and development opportunities, promoting inclusion and belonging, recognizing their contributions, and so forth — you’re less likely to watch them walk out the door and seek satisfaction at another company.

Communication is important, especially when times are tough

Leadership matters, and how we treat our employees during disruption matters. Many organizations are going through very public layoffs right now, and some, like Wealthsimple for example, are standing out from the crowd for all the right reasons. 

Wealthsimple’s internal and external communications have shown compassion and transparency. And Wealthsimple has actually put systems in place to facilitate networking and connectivity with recruiters and hiring managers. This public show of respect and empathy for employees affected has not only advocated for their candidacy in the market, it shows they’re able to handle a tragic situation with class and humanity. Cue round of applause.

In the grand scale of things, why is this example so powerful? How does it actually affect a company’s bottom line? Well, employees impacted by layoffs are starting to share their experiences on social media. There is very little tolerance for companies that shirk their corporate responsibilities during these difficult times. Both as customers and employees, people want to do business with brands they care about. Brands that share their values. If brands don’t live up to their promises, they risk losing those relationships — and the loyalty of their networks — for life.

71% of consumers prefer buying from companies aligned with their values

But the impact of these events stretch beyond the employees who are laid off. It trickles down to the employees who survive the cut, too, and remain a part of a downsized workforce. 

Nearly three quarters of employees retained after a layoff saw their productivity decline after, according to Harvard Business Review. But, there’s a clear path to avoiding this: employees who felt their managers were visible, approachable, and open were much less likely to report a productivity decline. Meaning that organizations can — and should — address feelings of insecurity, guilt, overwhelm, anger, and fear  with prompt, consistent, and transparent communication about what’s happening inside the organization.

Automation can help

Leveraging automation as an internal approach to EX — coined by Ada as the automated employee experience (AEX) —  allows brands to simplify and streamline internal inquiries, tasks, and processes in one platform. This is particularly relevant to IT Helpdesk and HR teams for tasks like answering common questions, accessing technology, or managing benefits. 

Automating tasks that typically slow employees down reduces friction among teams and increases job satisfaction. Personalized, automated interactions with employees can be infused with empathy, emotion, and even humor (and they should be!) while at the same time, providing answers to employee’s most common, most pressing, and most important questions.

At Ada, we’re investing in our own technology to create a work experience that automates repetitive work and provides intelligent answers to repetitive questions anytime, from anywhere. We’re driven to help our clients provide VIP experiences to their customers, and to do this effectively, we need to power VIP experiences on the inside.

With Ada Owners working across timezones, AEX ensures every employee can get the help they need, when they need it. And this is what will keep our growing workforce strong, engaged, and productive.

Sarah Fox
Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is a scuba-diving, animal-loving journalist turned content marketer. In her career, she’s covered stories on development, written profiles on notable philanthropists, and interviewed celebrities with a passion for giving back. When she’s not producing content for Ada, Sarah’s likely fawning over her dog somewhere in the woods.

More info about Sarah Fox: LinkedIn

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