Are Title Changes the New Layoffs?

By: James Flippin · August 29, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

What Is Reassignment?

Companies are embracing a new strategy to avoid laying off employees: reassignment.

In lieu of mass layoffs, employers are assigning workers new roles as a way to streamline operations and cut costs. Adidas (ADDYY), Salesforce (CRM), IBM (IBM), and Adobe (ADBE) have all reassigned employees during corporate restructurings.

Being reassigned might not sound as bad as being laid off. But it can still be stressful for employees, who might not get a say in their internal relocation. In other words, companies are removing jobs rather than removing employees. In many cases, workers are faced with a conundrum: take the new role or find a new employer.

Fewer Layoffs

To date, 2023 has been a year largely marked by mass layoffs. In the first half of the year, several major US companies reduced their workforce.

However, job cuts have slowed: As of the past few months, layoffs are actually down on the year. US companies announced 8% fewer job cuts in July than in the same month last year. But while job cuts are down, “reassignments” more than tripled year-over-year in August.

Many companies spent a lot of time and money to hire top talent during the post-pandemic boom. Now they’re looking to slow growth without shrinking.

For some, reassigning employees presents a perfect middle ground: ensuring vital jobs are filled while trimming costs associated with old strategies.

How To Handle Reassignment

Often, reassignment is a genuine effort on the company’s part to avoid letting an employee go. But it’s also worth remembering companies may be obligated to pay severance when a worker is laid off. If they quit out of their own volition, the employer is under no such obligation.

For unhappy reassigned workers, a conversation with their manager may be in order to discuss the move itself, as well as what it means for your career path.

Reassignment can mean many different things, and it is a new challenge for workers to navigate even if it ends up being a new opportunity worth seizing.

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