The High Price of Laying Off Younger Workers

The Millennial generation is in the midst of experiencing their first
recession. This experience has caused them to witness a new side of
corporate America…and they don’t like it one bit.  This could spell
trouble for corporations down the road. To paraphrase an old English
idiom, “hell hath no fury like a generation scorned.”

SBR Consulting, a Charlotte
firm specializing in helping companies attract, retain and reward
different generations in the workplace, has just published their first
of three studies
on how the Great Recession is affecting the Millennial generation
The results suggest that due to poor management and poor handling of
layoffs, 70% of respondents who were laid off would not go back to work
for their company and 55% are either unsure or do not want to work for
corporate America again.

It also reveals another significant clash of styles between
generations. Veterans, born before 1946, and older Baby Boomers (born
between 1946 and 1954) pledged loyalty to the company in good times and
bad. Layoffs were taken in stride because what was good for the company
in the short term was good for the employee and community in the long

When older generations were laid off or even fired, they did not talk
about it at home. They certainly did not broadcast it to the world. The
Millennial generation, however, was raised on 24/7 breaking news and
instant messaging. They share personal information readily. They are not
afraid to talk about being laid off. They are even moral vocal about
how their layoff was handled. These conversations and perceptions are
then shared with hundreds of friends and thousands of strangers via
social media sites like FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

That’s bad news for any business that handled a layoff poorly. Not
only is this news spread virally, but now that Google and other search
engines are indexing tweets, updates, and blog posts, this bad news
creates a permanent digital imprint for anyone to see. A battered
reputation poses a significant risk for any business that handled it

The study found that early warnings of layoffs and respect throughout
the process meant a great deal for Millennials that were subsequently
laid off from their jobs. “It’s not personal, it’s business” does not
work for this generation. They take layoffs personally.

Only 34% felt the company cared about them during the layoff process
and left with a positive perception of the company. Compare that to the
64% who received no warning of a looming layoff. Only 12% of this group
felt the company cared about them during the layoff process and left
with a positive perception of the company.

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