Even when you work for a well-run organization, profits can unexpectedly plummet, and layoffs can result in those cases. Sadly, employees generally find themselves powerless to prevent this. What you can do is keep your eyes and ears open. That way, you can be proactive should you see many of the following signs that layoffs may be coming your way in the future.
- Your organization's revenues are far below normal, for an extended period of time. (Temporary dips do occur; when they become long-term you need to worry.)
- Your organization has merged with another company. With two sets of employees doing the same or similar jobs, it's inevitable that some people will be cut.
- Managers are suddenly and frequently behind closed doors with each other and speaking in whispers in the halls. You might overhear the words "restructuring," "right-sizing," or "down-sizing."
- You and your colleagues have trouble setting meetings with higher-ups; and when you do, you're given little direction. Ask questions and see if you can encourage them to share whatever they can.
- Multiple executives are resigning to take jobs with other companies.
- You're asked to train a new hire, a junior person or a consultant - in your duties.
- You've got a new boss who doesn't understand or see value in your role. A new boss will undoubtedly make changes, and if they don't see your value one of those could be your job.
- Your performance review is disappointing or keeps getting rescheduled.
- Your workload falls off for no apparent reason. Do you find yourself less busy than is normal? Are other employees taking on tasks you would usually handle?
- The organization is cutting expenses and outsourcing work; company-wide travel is on hold; a hiring freeze is instituted.
One or two of the above issues will not likely lead to job cuts, but a group of them is likely to. What’s more, although your manager says there’s no need to worry, he or she may not be in the loop.
Should you see a number of these signs, jump-start your job search by updating your resume. Document your achievements: how you’ve saved the company money, completed projects ahead of schedule or instituted successful new initiatives. Network online and offline, register with a staffing agency and start looking at active job postings and ads.
Getting laid off will always be a blow, but if you act early you can keep your sanity intact—and your career on track with minimal impact.