Amazon leaders release memo on layoffs, ways to help Gen Z’ers find their spot in the workplace

Plus, the job types on the rise in 2023.

Greetings comms pros! Let’s take a look at the week that was and see what news stories we can learn from.

1. Amazon executives send memo to employees regarding impending layoffs

Earlier this month, Amazon announced that the company would be cutting 18,000 jobs in an effort to rethink its post-COVID strategy. This week, Amazon’s leadership released a memo to employees outlining the thought process behind the move. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Amazon’s human resources department and its stores divisions are likely to feel a significant impact from the layoffs.

CNBC reports:

The layoffs come after a period of rapid head count growth at Amazon during the Covid-19 pandemic. In November, CEO Andy Jassy said the company would begin eliminating roles, primarily in its devices and recruiting organizations.

Jassy is also undergoing a broad review of Amazon’s expenses as the company reckons with an economic downturn and slowing growth in its core retail business. Amazon froze hiring in its corporate workforce, axed some experimental projects and slowed warehouse expansion.

While layoffs are never a good thing for anyone involved, these memos at least give a little bit of humanity to the decisions being made. In particular, the note from Amazon’s global retail head Doug Herrington adds a personal touch to the move that at least adds some grace to an undoubtedly tough decision to hand down.

Some highlights of Herrington’s note included:

While it will be painful to say goodbye to many of our talented colleagues, it is an important part of a wider effort to lower our cost to serve so we can continue investing in the wide selection, low prices, and fast shipping that our customers love. During Covid, our first priority was scaling to meet the needs of our customers while ensuring the safety of our employees. I’m incredibly proud of this team’s work during this period. Although other companies might have balked at the short-term economics, we prioritized investing for customers and employees during these unprecedented times.

As communicators, we need to remember that we’re dealing with people at the end of the day and not just the bottom line. Treat them with respect, even when the message you’re giving them is a hard one to relay.

2. Finding a place for Gen Z to thrive in the workplace

As the leaders of countless trends on social media (and Tik Tok in particular), Gen Z has carved out their place in our social zeitgeist. But it’s important to remember that members of Gen Z are also at the beginning of their career journeys too. Comms pros will do well remember this and help them along with their journeys by making a distinct effort to engage with them at work.

According to Harvard Business Review:

As Gen Z entered the workforce, many were quickly furloughed or fired. All of these factors, in combination, fueled Gen Z’s disillusionment with the establishment and capitalism. Thus, this group garnered a reputation for mistrust of the status quo, disconnection and impatience, and for demanding immediate action around issues it cares about.

Despite their turbulent transition to adulthood, Gen Z is already shaping and influencing society and the workplace in numerous ways. The results of the 2022 U.S. midterm elections revealed Gen Z’s collective power as its political choices swayed election results. In addition, Gen Z employees are bringing their values and priorities to work, particularly their desire for transparency around recognition and rewards, and have started to make a significant impact. However, research shows that Gen Z may be struggling with engagement at work. According to a 2022 Gallup Poll, 54% of Gen Z employees, slightly higher than any other generation, are ambivalent or not engaged at work.

As we recently touched upon, communicating across generations requires an understanding that each generation has a different experience rising through their careers. As the HBR report stated, Gen Z’s hasn’t been the most stable. But there are ways to help shepherd our youngest generation into the workplace. Some potential strategies can include frequent sharing of information through internal communication channels like Teams or Slack in order to alleviate uncertainties and provide room for growth by showing presenting learning and development opportunities customized to where they want to move within the organization. While there’s no one path to accomplish this, it’s on every communicator to work with managers and create additional touchpoints to learn what Gen Z wants so we can show them the way.

3. What types of jobs are on the rise in 2023?

New year, new jobs? Whether you’ve been in your role for a while or are on the hunt for something new, fresh data from LinkedIn revealed what types of jobs could be more plentiful going forward.

According to LinkedIn:

Our 2023 Jobs on the Rise list uses unique LinkedIn data to uncover the 25 fastest-growing job titles over the past five years — providing insight into where the workforce is headed. Whether you’re currently job seeking or not, the ranking uncovers trends that can help you define your next move and prepare for the future world of work.

Take that three of the top five positions were occupied by roles related to the employee experience, with HR manager in the second spot, DE&I manager in third, and employee experience manager fifth. The popularity of these roles is a reminder that, in today’s workplace, employees want to be engaged not just with what they do, but how the intangible experience around their work is as well. This can include strong benefits, a robust culture, and opportunities for development. It’s not just important to think about the role you’re going for, but also the experiences you’ll have once you fill it.

4. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend comms all-stars!

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

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