- A group of CHROs has created a free platform to connect employers laying off or furloughing people with those in urgent need of workers, according to an April 14 announcement from Accenture, which powers the tool.
- The initiative, designed in response to rising unemployment in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is called People + Work Connect, spearheaded by CHROs at Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, ServiceNow and Verizon. The business-to-business global and cross-industry platform allows companies to share the experience and skills of their laid-off or furloughed workforces with others seeking employees and pools non-confidential and aggregated workforce information by categories, including experience and location.
- The platform launched 14 business days after the idea was pitched, with the support of the Business Roundtable, Gallup, HR organizations and universities, according to Accenture. Companies participating on the platform include ADM, Baxter, Blue Apron, Cargill, Frito-Lay, Lincoln Financial Group, Marriott, Mondelēz International, Nordstrom, ServiceNow, Walmart and Zenefits. More than 250 companies are expected to onboard during the next week, and the platform will soon add public sector jobs, Accenture stated.
Last week, about 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported April 16.
Research also shows that long-term unemployment, defined by the DOL as having been out of work for 27 weeks or more while actively looking for employment, has increased as well. A March 7 Indeed report found that long-term unemployment is 0.67% — near where it was before the Great Recession, but "significantly" higher than the 0.45% rate in 2000. For most worker categories, long-term unemployment rates are higher today than in 2000, Nick Bunker, economic research director for North America at Indeed, said in the report. Bunker named a long-term decline in the demand for employees as well as structural modifications to the economy due to new technology as some of the possible reasons for the increase in the rates.
According to some predictions, a further decline could be on the way. In the next three months, 49% of companies responding to a recent survey said they are very or somewhat likely to conduct layoffs; 11% said they have conducted permanent layoffs and another 7% have conducted temporary layoffs, according to the Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. online survey responses collected between March 20 and March 26.
The CHROs who created People + Work Connect said they are trying to limit the impact on the employment market and could potentially make this type of collaboration standard. "While the current pandemic has been the impetus for People + Work Connect, we expect this type of collaboration to become the norm going forward," Christy Pambianchi, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Verizon, said in a statement. "Now is the time to build a more resilient workforce — for today and tomorrow."