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Meta and Salesforce seek to rehire laid-off workers

Meta and Salesforce seek to rehire laid-off workers

In an unexpected twist, companies like Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and Salesforce are seeking to rehire some of the employees they laid off earlier, creating a complex decision for these former workers. The question of whether to return to a company that let you go can be a challenging one, as it depends on various factors, including how the layoff was handled and the current opportunities presented.

A contrasting stance

The recent resurgence in demand for rehiring former employees marks a stark contrast to the beginning of the year when many Silicon Valley giants downsized their workforce, attributing it to overstaffing during the pandemic. In 2023, tech companies have collectively cut around 350,000 jobs, with the peak occurring in January. Salesforce, for instance, plans to rehire approximately 3,000 employees after implementing a 10% reduction in its workforce earlier in the year. The company’s rehiring efforts are primarily focused on areas such as sales, engineering, and data cloud product teams, with the goal of expanding its AI business and attracting more investments.

CEO Marc Benioff is actively encouraging former employees, including those who found employment elsewhere, to consider returning to Salesforce. The company even organized an event aimed at reconnecting with alumni, where they distributed “boomerang” shirts as a symbolic gesture.

The emotions

However, for workers who were laid off by Salesforce and did not leave to accept other job offers, there might still be lingering resentment regarding how the company handled the layoffs. Some employees criticized the company’s communication during the downsizing process, which seemed contradictory to Salesforce’s cultural emphasis on “Ohana,” a Hawaiian term signifying family. The company, under pressure from activist investors to enhance profitability and efficiency, shifted its focus away from the “Ohana” philosophy, signaling a change in corporate priorities.

Navigating the Decision to Rejoin a Former Employer

Sandra Sucher, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School who has extensively studied layoffs, suggests that the decision to return to a former employer should be based on thoughtful consideration. Former employees should ask themselves essential questions, such as why they were laid off, what has changed that necessitates their return, and why they should trust the company again. Rebuilding trust can be a significant challenge for some workers, as they may harbor reservations about the organization.

One Reddit user, for instance, sought advice in July about returning to a former employer that had previously laid them off but now offered a management position in a different division. The user was already employed elsewhere and faced a dilemma due to their reservations about the company’s actions. The advice they received varied, with some suggesting they return but continue searching for alternative opportunities, while others recommended against returning unless higher compensation was offered.

Another Reddit user shared their surprise at receiving a call from a department head who had both hired and laid them off, asking if they were interested in returning. This unexpected turn of events reflects the uncertainty and complexity surrounding rehiring former employees.

The concerns

This oscillation between letting go of employees and then attempting to rehire them is not unique to the tech industry. In sectors like hospitality, the pandemic initially led to mass layoffs of restaurant workers. However, as lockdowns eased, employers struggled to fill vacant positions due to workers demanding better working conditions. Tech workers now find themselves in a similar situation, with some potentially seeking higher pay to return, while others may accept the volatility of the industry.

Job security remains a significant concern for these workers, as indicated by the number of days since the last layoff at an employer listed on platforms like Trueup.io. Despite the uncertainties, there is a strong demand for individuals with skills in artificial intelligence (AI). The number of global English-language job postings mentioning AI technologies on platforms like LinkedIn has increased significantly, offering potential opportunities for tech workers.

Employee Job Security

For those contemplating a return to their former employers, understanding the company’s long-term strategy is crucial to avoid finding themselves in a similar layoff situation. Sucher emphasizes that the experience of returning after a layoff can fundamentally change how employees perceive job security and their relationship with the organization. This uncertainty can disrupt the assumption that job security is guaranteed through good performance.

The decision to return to a former employer after a layoff is a complex one, influenced by various factors, including how the layoff was conducted, changes in the company’s circumstances, and personal considerations. Tech companies are actively seeking to rehire former employees in a volatile job market, but rebuilding trust and understanding the company’s strategy are essential for those contemplating a return. The experience of returning after a layoff can have lasting effects on an individual’s perception of job security and their relationship with the organization, making it a significant decision to weigh carefully.

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