The changing technological climate has demanded that organizations transition into leaner structures. Dynamic client requirements, changing employee perspectives, shifts in the L&D cultures have forced businesses to adapt mobile structures. Technological disruptions and pervasive enterprise mobility have removed all forms of disconnect to improve workforce agility and reduce operational costs.
In addition to these internal changes, employee preferences have changed, with 40% of the workforce prioritizing flexibility in the workplace. Technological disruptions have also created a conducive atmosphere for remote work and freelancing, with more than 35% of the workforce in the US engaged in freelancing as of 2018-19
Given the pace of changes, organizations are forced to take cognizance and act fast. ‘Anyone, anytime, anywhere’ has become the mantra that businesses are implementing as work can be sliced to accommodate the cost of employing skills and resources across the world.
Fluctuating changes in the demand because of the geopolitical and socio-economic climates in the country have made it difficult for businesses to estimate manpower requirement. They can’t afford to put a team on the bench without assigning billable projects. To deal with this, companies are regularly shedding jobs and utilizing automation to replace transactional work that doesn’t require human sophistication.
These shifts in management approaches have made companies realize that manpower is not the only resource required to run a successful enterprise. Case in point: Airbnb, valued at $30B, only has a global workforce of 3000 employees.
If technological disruptions aren’t the motivating factor for companies, then cost pressures are. Rising competition and increased chances of failing have pushed up the amount of working capital required for liquidity. In this light, cutbacks will come in the form of weeding out employees who are not critical to the business at that juncture or seem like they aren’t aligned with the way the company is heading.
Skills are no longer the differentiating factor for employers owing to the opportunities for earning certifications and diplomas without having to sit in a classroom. There have been instances where employees have been given the pink slip despite their outstanding performance and indispensability in the organization. No; companies look for people who can adapt to the changes by developing niche skills. While these people will advance in the organization, the masses will continue to suffer
So here are some things you should do when your job is at risk.
Companies seldom act overnight when they want to lay off someone unless there are egregious circumstances. It is a drawn process because handovers must be completed. You’ll get several warning signs if your job is at risk. All you must do is look out for those signs. They may include your bosses not inviting you to meetings, social and professional events, or team mailers.
Ideally, you should have cultivated relationships beyond your company. Most employees tend to develop professional relationships within their organization or their industry. Not only does this develop group thinking, thus hampering fresh perspectives, it also becomes detrimental when you want to shift to a different company, industry, or a line of career.
Developing networks is a long process. You need to be patient. When you do get signs, network with people. Identify your closest friends and acquaintances and develop relations with them. Ask them for recommendations on who you should connect with from their circle. A broad network helps in understanding what skills are becoming essential and what are going obsolete. Conferences, mentoring circles, and professional organizations are all great sources for networking
Make Yourself Present
Contrary to what most people think, when you are faced with the risk of a layoff, you shouldn’t make yourself invisible. Be present.
Talk to your employers and your colleagues. Write to your clients, be proactive in blogging and other social media to let them know that you’re trying to perform. In many circumstances, employers are not aware of their employees’ achievements or professional growth. Proactive interaction and the outgoing nature might be a great way to let the employer understand your contributions, and thus your indispensability, to the company
Even if you were to leave the company and come out, you shouldn’t take a unilateral decision about that. You need to develop a circle of trustworthy and reliable people. This group should act as your personal board of directors for advising and motivating you.
If you have someone in your circle in a similar industry, it helps to talk to them even if you’re not on a first-name basis, about the nuances of that industry. All these things will help bring changes that will become invaluable to your career in the long run
Conduct a Financial Wellness Check
When you’re being laid off, you should account for the very real possibility that it might be some time before you find another job. Meanwhile, you’ll need some form of savings that you can bank on.
When you feel that your job may be at risk, you should conduct a check on your savings and understand how long you can continue to live a similar life that you’ve been leading. At the executive level, it can take more than six months to find another job. That means your savings should last you until then plus some more.
If you’re married, it will help to see how you could get covered under your spouse’s healthcare plan in case your company doesn’t provide COBRA payments. The next step is to determine your budget line and natural expenses. You can also check the website of your state for the unemployment benefits you’d be eligible for, and apply for them. Some states also provide information about the minimum expenditure a person would incur in different cities. Figuring your expenses out that way will help you in determining your savings
Keep Your Branding Up
When you feel you’d be out of a job, you should start working on your résumé to highlight your achievements to the potential employer. One simple yet powerful thing that you will go a long way in highlighting the relevant skills is to keep track of your significant accomplishments. This way, when a potential employer asks for your résumé, you don’t have to scramble to make one. LinkedIn is an amazing platform to interact with professionals in your industry. Being active on LinkedIn and networking in the right circles can help in building your brand.
Most things in this article take time in yielding fruits. The earlier you start noticing any warning signs, the sooner you can work on fructifying your efforts. Unwanted jobs are a painful but real aspect of life. Preparing for various what-ifs can help you be flexible, resilient, and in control of your destiny.