A new online community for employees who have been laid off is partnering with ZoomInfo to put job seekers in touch with recruiters.
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ZoomInfo is providing LayOffers with contact data for nearly 370,000 recruiters, as the new company works toward its goal of helping 1 million people who were laid off. It’s a timely resource, as around 3 million people filed unemployment claims last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
LayOffers founder Jeffrey Jewett launched the website as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and companies began laying off employees. Jewett had the idea for an online support and company accountability website for people who had been laid off for about a year and a half, after a company he provided consulting for laid off about half its employees. Around January, Jewett thought about working to get the site online, but it was the COVID-19 pandemic that spurred him into action.
“This is a really difficult time for people,” Jewett said in an interview with Crunchbase News. “Not only are they laid off, but they’re laid off in an environment that’s really challenging, challenging to find work.”
Once he rolled out LayOffers, Jewett realized that while community support and company accountability were important in the long term, in the short term people who were laid off just wanted to find a job and get back to work. So he pivoted the website’s focus for the short term, with plans to grow out the community and accountability aspects in the longer term.
There’s a lot of attention around employee onboarding, with applicants often looking at Glassdoor reviews and lists of the best places to work, according to Jewett. But there’s less attention on how companies handle layoffs, and that often says a lot about a company’s culture.
“The thing that really gets overlooked is their offboarding process,” Jewett said. “Companies always look great when things are going well, but when things are going bad, how do they treat their employees?”
Jewett said he believes holding companies accountable by putting a spotlight on their offboarding process will improve experiences in the long term.
In the world of startups and tech at least, with the sheer number of layoffs there’s been a new focus on how companies deliver the news of job cuts and take care of those who are let go. Airbnb, for example, recently received praise for the steps it has taken to help laid-off employees find jobs (it created a directory of laid-off employees, and assigned part of its recruiting team to help them find new jobs, among other things). Other companies have drawn criticism for how they’ve broken the news to employees.
Now, LayOffers is posting between 10,000 and 26,000 jobs every two weeks. Jobs stay on the site for two weeks to keep the site current, and the positions span numerous industries and roles.
LayOffers is a mission-driven organization being run mostly by Jewett and his wife. However, Jewett said in the future he wants it to be a sustainable business that can last, because there will still be layoffs even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Illustration: Dom Guzman