Ever since the layoffs began the industry has been witness to major screw-ups, some of a scale never before seen. Campbell Ewald and Doner come to mind as examples of what not to do. But as it goes in this business, we generally only hear the bad layoff stories. Today is different, as we share one agency’s attempts to make it right after letting folks go.
The Martin Agency is based out of Richmond, Virginia but also has offices here in New York. Like so many agencies, they’ve had to cut back for one reason or another, despite bringing back the Numa Numa guy for Geico (and inventing the googley-eyed stack of bills/the falling CEO for the insurer, too).
It happens. But what distinguishes this agency from others is how they respond and treat those they must let go. In TMA’s case, that means paying half of any laid off employee’s first month salary (up to $4,000) at their new job. According to agency representatives, when news of this policy broke last February companies started calling in to try and match up their openings with former Martin Agency employees.
The only catch to that part of the program is that it’s good for 60ish days. This week marks the end of that 60 day period and according to an HR administrator, there’s no word yet if there are any takers.
But this policy — which also includes resume workshops, job search assistance and outplacement counseling for Martin’s 24 laid off employees — has been in place for the better half of a decade. It’s worked in the past, and this time around there has been a lot of interest from companies looking to hire.
And why shouldn’t there be? Hire a former Martin agency employee and your company just made some buck. For recruiters, a few grand is the cost of their services. Let’s say you’ve got two similar candidates for an opening and one comes with $3,000 for the company that hires him/her…well you get the picture.
We asked the agency what would happen if say someone was interviewed on April 24th but wasn’t officially offered a position until after the 60 period ended. “Well we’re flexible about the dates,” said Beth Rilee-Kelley, of TMA’s HR department. “because of the environment these days we increased the period from one month to two.”
Given that TMA hasn’t had to honor any re-employment payoffs (so to speak), one can surmise that none of the 24 laid off employees have found work yet. “But they are interviewing,” said Rilee. Part of her role lately has been fielding calls from companies looking to hire from TMA’s pool. Weekly, the agency compiles a list of companies with openings which is sent around to the laid off folks.
But what about severance? The standard at TMA is that each employee gets 2 weeks for their first year of employment and one additional week for each subsequent year after the first. That’s nothing out of the ordinary but when coupled with the counseling, job search help, re-employment payout etc, well it’s certainly better than most.
We haven’t been able to reach any former TMA employees to talk about their experiences following the lay-offs so if any of you wants to let us know how it’s going, e-mail matt at mediabistro dot com.