Were All These Layoffs Inevitable? Perhaps, But Here’s How It Happened | Josh Bersin

Workforce Planning

A few weeks ago, I began to track job cuts and layoffs announced by several organizations since the start of 2023. And last week, I shared a Fortune article that points out how many organizations announcing layoffs offer a similar reason for these cuts: In the wake of the pandemic, we experienced growth in demand and increased our workforce to fulfill that demand. With a slowing economy and shifting market, we now see that we mistakenly hired too many, and we must correct that by letting some people go.” However, this new article by Josh Bersin provides a perspective on how these layoffs could’ve been avoided by controlling the hiring frenzy many organizations underwent during accelerated growth. While you should read the entire article for full context and messaging, a few themes include how, in a rush to grow, several organizations entered into a hiring spree that created a flywheel effect that was hard to slow down. As this process accelerates, “time to hire” becomes the measure of success, so companies raise salaries to get candidates to make decisions quickly…Revenues slow, and now the CEO and CFO are upset. How did we get our cost structure so high? Who hired all these people?” One way organizations could’ve minimized overhiring is “rather than simply throwing headcount into the Talent Acquisition order book, these companies try to dynamically move people from low growth to high growth areas (development and mobility). I also shared in a post last week how overhiring is partially due to a lack of workforce and scenario planning that leads to a miscalculation of demand. Regarding internal mobility, I am resharing this one-page PDF that includes six resources on how an organization can unlock its internal workforce’s hidden capacity.