It’s possible that you or someone you know has been reassigned to a new position in your workplace instead of being laid off.
Data from LinkedIn revealed that organisations have been shuffling around employees internally more frequently recently.
The reason for the company reassignment may be that the employee has been promoted or that their jobs have been cut, the study revealed.
But is a company reassignment a good sign? What does it mean for employees to be reassigned to a new department?
"Reassigning is definitely a huge part of the dynamic right now," says Andy Challenger, a senior vice president at the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
A report by The Wall Street Journal suggests that companies are reassigning workers right now instead of performing layoffs in a trend that is called “quiet cutting.”
A recent study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas revealed that organisations have announced 42 per cent fewer job cuts in July than in June and 8 per cent fewer cuts in July last year.
Challenger says that quiet cutting is something we’ve seen in the past. In fact, organisations have been preparing themselves for something like quiet cutting to happen.
All throughout the pandemic and during one of the tightest labour markets in the world, Challenger says organisations are loathe to let people go.
“I think they really built up this muscle that, literally as a function within their organization, the ability to reassign or reposition people instead of having to let them go when a job went away,” he said.
Company reassignments can be a chance to learn something new or potentially develop a new career, says Josh Bersin, an analyst and CEO of the Josh Bersin Company, a research firm that focuses on talent management, corporate learning, and human resource management.
“Almost all the CHROs I talk with today are trying to improve internal mobility, connect hiring managers to internal people and post jobs online or build internal career marketplaces,” says Bersin.
A report by LinkedIn revealed that internal mobility rates rose between February 2022 and February 2023 in many industries. For instance, there was a 28 per cent increase in internal mobility among entertainment providers, while there was a 23 per cent increase among admin and support services.
Company reassignments might not actually be a bad thing. It could be a good sign that your company wants to keep you even if your original job was no longer needed.
Challenger says that it signifies a company saying that “Hey, we don't have this role anymore, but we want to keep you.”
But if company reassignments are being done en masse, Joanne Lipman, a Yale University lecturer, says that it already becomes an issue.
The deal is that organisations must make known to employees how they reached the decision of company reassignments. Transparency and openness will make employees feel respected.
Caitlin Duffy, an HR research director at Gartner, says that if employees don’t feel respected, it’s likely that they won’t stay at the company.
If you’re afraid of being reassigned, you can look for telltale signs that it will happen. Challenger says that it’s like being laid off, only you will be transferred to a different job post.
"You're being excluded from things that you might otherwise have been a part of," Challenger explained.
If you feel that you don’t like where you will be reassigned, you’re always free to leave and reject the offer. After all, sometimes company reassignments can eliminate employees’ sense of agency over their career trajectory and salary. Your best bet is to evaluate whether your new role fits your long-term goals.