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Introducing Pallet Layoff Support

June 20, 2022
Alessandro Russo

As a new player in the online recruitment space, we feel a strong responsibility to play an impactful role in the recent wave of layoffs. But before we get into the part we plan on playing, first we'll discuss:

What the latest round of layoffs doesn’t mean

  1. That underperforming workers are getting axed. A round of layoffs is an emergency move that companies never want to make. Research published in the Harvard Business Review outlined the extensive negative effects of layoffs, including bad optics, frequent negative effects on stock prices, and negative effects on new talent attraction.

Point being, layoffs tend to be an emergency way for companies to extend their runway or correct after periods of unsustainable growth. Getting laid off is a reflection of a broader economic climate, and doesn’t inherently say anything about your performance or your skills. A high amount of displaced, qualified talent is also great news for companies that are still in hiring mode.

  1. That tech is dead. True, tech stocks have lost a lot of value so far this year — especially companies that went public in 2021 (the average 2021 IPO is down 20% in 2022). But concluding that a down round is a death knell for the tech sector is too extreme.
  1. That the apocalypse is here. Anytime markets take a plunge — especially after a seemingly unstoppable streak of green numbers — people wonder whether it’s the end of capitalism as we know it. We're not economists, but there are enough businesses hiring on Pallet today to give us a decent understanding that growth is still happening, and opportunities are still abundant.

Consider venture capital. VC activity might have cooled off as the denominator effect takes hold (when markets dip, the proportion of illiquid venture investments in VCs’ portfolios rises, increasing the risk of new venture investments), but that doesn’t mean VCs are panicking. Venture activity in Q1 2022, though down from last year’s record heights, is still higher than almost any quarter in history — it has just shifted to early-stage (pre-IPO) startups which are less directly affected by flagging public markets.

“We’re still seeing plenty of activity at the seed stage,” said Sarah Hodges, a partner at Pillar VC. And “we are seeing later-stage firms move earlier as they recognize the opportunity in seed.”

While looking at any silver linings, it's important to note that layoffs have a very real negative impact on people's lives, which is part of the reason we feel compelled to do something about it. While we're not entering the end of Tech as we know it, things are changing. Companies will likely be more conservative in how they grow, VCs will likely be more careful in how they value their investments, and qualified people will definitely be left hanging at no fault of their own.

Our Solution? Leveraging Talent Collectives

If you're not familiar with Talent Collectives, we'll provide you with a quick rundown.

  1. We partner with online community leaders: slack groups, newsletter writers, youtubers, discord mods, Twitter & Linkedin influencers, etc. and give them software ("A Pallet") that allows them to invite members of their community into a single directory.
  2. Community members join and create a profile, even if they're not currently open to new opportunities. Because members can set their "work status", (which determines whether their profile is displayed to businesses), and remain anonymous, professionals tend to join even if they're not actively "on the hunt".
  3. Alongside the community leader, we both generate demand from businesses interested in recruiting from niche audiences. On both the member and business side, the community leader is able to curate the experience.

Once a community leader has invited his audience and we've gotten businesses hiring for that audience profile, businesses can go through and request introductions to candidates who are open to new opportunities. Each time a business sends a request, the community leader will send that person a personal note asking if they're interested. The result of having the community leader facilitate these introductions speaks for itself: 

The results of a survey sent to candidates in Collectives

Ultimately, you can think of Talent Collectives as a bunch of mini, curated, hiring marketplaces. Community members are the supply, hiring businesses are the demand. Why community members? Because that's where the best people are. Giant online recruitment platforms have their benefits, but none among them is having the sustained attention of experienced professionals. That attention is, more and more, being directed towards participation in slack forums, reading newsletters, and following industry experts on social media. Why not take that experience of participating in community, and add the option to find your next role? It's already happening, on an informal level, all the time.

Before we built Collectives, we only theorized the potential to attract great people. Now that community members comprise our whole talent ecosystem, we know it to be true. What we couldn't have anticipated, is the genuine care and trust community members feel for each other, and for the person leading the community (we believe the graphic above speaks to that "trust"). We've spoken to our partners, and there is nearly unilateral agreement that they can play a significant role in helping laid off individuals get their footing back in great new jobs. Especially as community leaders hear about layoffs that directly impact their audience. To that effect, we've built in explicit support for employees who have been laid off, directly into Talent Collectives.

Layoff support, directly in candidate profiles.

Here's how it works: 

  • Every time a candidate applies to a Talent Collective, they fill out a form including their current or most recent employer, and if they are between roles, the time they ended their last role
  • If they've ended their last role in 2022, a prompt appears asking if they've been affected by layoffs.
  • If the applicant marks the “laid off” checkbox, they will be added to two collectives. The one they are directly applying for (the one from their community) and a layoff-specific Collective designed to share their profile more broadly with businesses in our ecosystem.

Our thinking behind this small product update is simple: as highly talented people are displaced for reasons unrelated to their performance, Talent Collectives have become an even more valuable resource — for workers, and for businesses. Online communities are putting the hiring market on their backs; their role as a conduit between businesses and talent has never been more important. Collectives in particular are a constructive channel for candidates to pursue, and testament to the fact that businesses recognize and want to hire the great talent that's been left out on the lurch.

Every company does not handle layoffs the same way. Some CEOs release spreadsheets of every single person who lost their job, including background and contact info. Other express their sincerest regrets, dole out some severance pay, and move on. Either way, there’s a vacuum left when qualified candidates lose their jobs for reasons unrelated to performance.

Our #1 priority here is to help those highly talented people land back on their feet. To that effect, access to the layoff Talent Collective will be curated but entirely free for businesses. This is not a move made for profit, simply a recognition of that vacuum and our desire to fill it.

The candidate experience within a Collective is also particularly well suited for the job search that might follow a layoff. It eases the active burden on the candidate. They don't have to browse through online job posts, create applications, write cover letters, and hope someone with human eyes actually reads their effort on the other end. They fill out a profile one time, they allow that profile to be displayed to curated selections of businesses, and they wait as intro requests come rolling on, entirely on their terms. It's a great option for a truly passive job seeking experience. You join the Collective and you allow companies to reach out to you at your own tempo. Don't believe it? Throw your hat in the ring and see for yourself.

Whether you’re still reeling from the loss or ready to get back in the game, we assure you: There are plenty of fish in the sea. We should know. We have a database consisting of thousands.