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Breaking Up is Hard: Impact of Layoffs on Employer Brand

By October 6, 2021October 13th, 2021No Comments

Layoffs, like break-ups, are hard to do. No one likes to break the news, someone’s usually hurt and how it’s handled often affects the brand and reputation of employers.

Today, the impact of layoffs is magnified by a workforce growing more sensitive to their employer relationship. At 56 million workers, Millennials are now the largest generation in our workforce and they are driving change.

According to research, Millennials are cause-oriented and more focused on where they work for and why. They’re also socially-driven and highly connected, growing up with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This means they share everything. For employers, an important question is what they’re sharing. In the mitigate the impact of an incident or a layoff, employers will need to widen their public relations focus beyond traditional media to include social media.

Social Media and an Employer’s Brand

Social media gives laid-off employees a powerful platform for sharing grievances – whether founded or unfounded – and it’s not limited to Facebook and Twitter. Specialty sites like Glassdoor give employees the option to rate their employers and share insider details with the world.

When considering whether or not to work for an employer, prospective employees often review what current and past employees have to say.  Increasingly job boards also include employer reviews next to employer job postings, which have an obvious impact on an employer’s ability to attract talent for key positions.

Some of the more prominent sites include:

  • Glassdoor: reviews former employers
  • Vault: ranks and reviews employers, internships, and schools
  • Indeed: the largest job board aggregator with company reviews

Though most sites let employers respond to criticism and correct false accusations, often the best way to counter bad publicity is to prevent it from happening in the first place. New solutions, like next-generation outplacement have evolved to offer a powerful preventative, helping employers protect their brand and internal and external goodwill, even in the face of a layoff.

By helping separated employees move on to their next opportunity, outplacement packages can be like setting them up with their next date. By shortening a laid-off employee’s unemployment spell, employers can lower Unemployment Insurance charges by as much as $2,000 per employee.

The bottom line: for a growing generation of workers, how an employer treats its employees at exit matters. In a workforce now dominated by Millennials empowered by social media, the implications are stronger than ever, both for the culture of those left behind in a layoff as well as those sizing up an employer’s brand when considering a new job.


501(c) Agencies Trust offers members complimentary reemployment coaching packages, through NextJob, to help your laid off employees land jobs much more quickly. Contact us for more information on job search packages.

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