Layoffs after client losses are a harsh reality of the ad business. But one agency leader is putting a $5,000 cash guarantee behind each of the 50 employees he has to let go because a major account left his shop.
Ignite Social Media in Cary, N.C. (which also has an office in Detroit) will have to lay off almost half of its 110-person staff this month, reports the Triangle Business Journal, as Chrysler Group shifts social media responsibilities to IPG Mediabrands following a review.
But Ignite president Jim Tobin isn't just giving the doomed staffers letters of recommendation, or endorsements on LinkedIn. He's vouching for them in a more impressive way—by promising to pay $5,000 to any employer who hires an ex-Ignite staffer and then has to fire the person within 90 days for performance or character issues. It's like Hyundai Assurance for agency people.
Sure, one could wonder whether the sum is really enough to cover up to three months of wages, plus the HR hassle of canning a dud hire. But it's nice to see a guy who is dropping the axe also go above and beyond to recommend talent. Mostly, it's a clever way to highlight the meat coming onto the market. (In that sense, it's a little reminiscent of the time a Goodby, Silverstein & Partners alum launched "Grab Some Goodby," a website to promote his friends when that agency had to let blood in 2012.)
And if agency churn goes the way it sometimes does, maybe Chrysler's new social media agency will even pick up a few of the Ignite staffers.