Talent Acquisition Shifts From Bringing People In to Helping People Out

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May 20, 2020
This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.

Once upon a time, when companies laid off workers, their severance packages — if they got any at all — included outplacement services. People would get access to counselors at firms that would offer help with updating resumes, job-search tactics, interview coaching, etc. Basically, employers outsourced the process of helping former employees find new jobs. 

Then COVID-19 came along. Sure, many companies are still contracting with outplacement agencies, but increasingly, employers are taking a more active role in helping laid-off workers land new roles. Talent acquisition departments are no longer focused solely on bringing talent into their organizations — now they are helping former colleagues seek external opportunities.

The latest high-profile example of this “we’re all in it together” philosophy is Uber. To help displaced employees, the company just days ago launched a talent directory. “Their talent helped moved the world,” it proclaims. “We wouldn’t be where we are without them. Learn how they can help your team grow.” Recruiters can visit the site and search for former Uber staffers based on location and role/skills, willingness to relocate and/or work remotely, and managerial experience. 

As Danielle Monaghan, Uber’s global head of talent, points out in a statement, “As a talent acquisition leader, I would like to call on companies who are looking to hire passionate and dynamic people to move their businesses farther…Reach out and ask those who are profiled about the things they helped build at Uber. I’m convinced they can be of great value to your team.”

Of course, Uber’s effort comes at the heels of the company’s announcement this week that it is laying off 3,000 more workers, on top of previous cuts that eliminated 3,700 jobs. All of which is part of broader job losses in the Bay Area, which by late April saw almost 30,000 jobs eliminated, according to research by Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies.

Indeed, Airbnb also recently announced that it would lay off of 1,900 staffers, about 25% of its workforce. Earlier this month, the company’s CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a public letter that his organization would launch “a public-facing website to help teammates leaving find new jobs. Departing employees can opt-in to have profiles, resumes, and work samples accessible to potential employers.” Additionally, he cited that “a significant portion of Airbnb Recruiting will become an Alumni Placement Team. Recruiters that are staying with Airbnb will provide support to departing employees to help them find their next job”

Sure enough, it was Airbnb’s launch of its own talent directory that inspired Uber to do the same. (The two sites share almost identical interfaces.) As Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted yesterday: 

Certainly, such efforts by Uber, Airbnb, and other employers demonstrate ways that TA teams can add value during today’s economic climate. But when hiring inevitably picks up again, will organizations continue to make greater efforts to help former workers find jobs new jobs? 

This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.
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