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image  1 Executives considering downsizing are currently grappling with the same problem
January 17, 2023

Executives considering downsizing are currently grappling with the same problem: finding the most effective way to let employees go. ⁠⁠Is it better to get layoffs over with all at once even at the risk of cutting too deep? Is firing over Zoom more humane than making an employee come into the office to lose their job? How much severance pay is fair? ⁠⁠As well-known employers including Amazon, Salesforce, Goldman Sachs and others lay off workers, executives elsewhere say they are closely monitoring different approaches to the process.⁠⁠Some human-resources teams are building spreadsheets to track how many positions peers cut and what they say to employees during the reductions. Laid-off workers, meanwhile, are comparing severance agreements and pushing back if they feel terms fall short, which has sometimes led to tense all-hands sessions.⁠⁠“I’m not sure there’s one recipe” for a layoff, said Katy George, a senior partner and chief people officer at McKinsey & Co.⁠⁠The stakes for companies are high. Though the job market is cooling, the unemployment rate stood at a historically low 3.5% in December and many employers say they still face challenges filling some positions. This is also among the first job downturns in the era of increasingly empowered and vocal employees who are adept at using Slack and other tools to amplify their criticisms. Companies say it is important to handle layoffs carefully to protect employers’ reputations and help maintain morale among those who remain.⁠⁠Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⁠Illustration: Alexandra Citrin-Safadi for WSJ
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