The Fortune article names five potential costs:
- Brand equity costs: the damage a layoff may do to your company's reputation
- Leadership costs: the loss of potential talent
- Morale costs: the emotional drain on those who are left behind
- Wall Street costs: the effect layoffs can have on stock price
- Rehiring costs: the difficulty of hiring and training new employees when the economy improves
As wellness professionals, we are especially focused on the third category. The article mentions a mid-90s study that showed up to a ninefold increase in medical claims among employees who survived layoffs. Not surprisingly, these claims were often for mental health issues, substance abuse, and cardiovascular problems.
We're not naive: in this economy, layoffs are unavoidable for many companies. But why not try to mitigate the costs? Consider ramping up your health and wellness offerings to those who remain. When the economy recovers, you'll have a happier and healthier workforce than those who were more shortsighted.