There are possible warning signs to help employees make adjustments and be ready to move forward if a job loss occurs.
December 5, 2012 – Reductions in force have been increasing in recent weeks as more employers adjust their work forces to meet current and anticipated demand. The end of the year is a more precarious time for employees who may be most vulnerable to reductions in force as companies reduce costs to get a fresher start next year.
“Layoffs and terminations usually take most people by surprise. They are generally unprepared for what to do next,” said Patty Prosser, Chair of OI Partners, a leading global coaching and leadership development/consulting firm.
“There are possible warning signs to help employees make adjustments, and be ready to move forward if a job loss occurs,” Prosser added.
Among possible termination warning signs are:
- Your boss is making less eye contact with you than usual.
- You have less face-to-face time with your manager.
- You are included in fewer meetings.
- You received a poor performance review.
- You have been told your skills or knowledge are outdated.
- Your workload or responsibilities have been reduced.
- Your co-workers know more about what’s going on than you do.
- Emails you send seem to have less importance.
- Your comments and suggestions are not considered.
- Cutbacks in your department have been more severe than others.
- Your company’s earnings or stock price have declined dramatically.
- Your employer has announced plans to outsource.
- Speculation about reductions is rampant.
A free report from OI Partners on what employees and employers facing reductions in force can do is available to download at OI Partners Outplacement Report
“Individual employees do not have much control over their company’s financial situation and the economy. You may be able to correct performance-related issues if they exist. However, if a number of these signals are present, you should formulate an action plan in case it is needed,” Prosser added.
If you are affected by a job loss, OI Partners offers this advice:
- Explore whether you can work for your company as a contract or freelance employee.
- Utilize career counseling you are given.
- Request outplacement job-search assistance if it is not part of your severance package.
- Familiarize yourself with your company’s severance policies, especially if you qualify for any enhanced severance formulas that use a combination of your age and seniority.
- Prepare your family or significant other for the financial effects of the job loss and adjust your budget accordingly.
- Do not immediately begin a job hunt until you have had time to put things in perspective.
- Do not send out resumes, call networking contacts or reply to job postings until you are fully focused.
- Consider transferring your experience to another industry or changing careers.
- Make certain your Linked In profile is up-to-date and aligns with what you want to do.
- Identify what state services may be available to you, at no charge, for training/re-training and job placement assistance.
- Spend some good quality time surrounded by close friends and those who know you and appreciate you.
- Focus on staying healthy and fit – this will do wonders for creating the right mind-set. Maintain a regular, daily regimen, for example, get up at the same time, read the newspaper, have breakfast or coffee, etc.
- Examine starting your own business or becoming a contract or freelance worker for past employers.
- Look into pursuing your “dream job” in addition to positions similar to those you have held.
“Many people are too upset and emotional after losing their jobs to quickly launch a search. Give yourself some time to re-assess your career and determine what you want to do next. Conduct a thorough career check-up and develop an action plan,” said Prosser.
Whether or not the top termination warning signs apply, employees should continually update their resumes, build and maintain their career networks, and keep their professional knowledge and skills current.
There are also measures employers can take to ease the transition of departing workers until they find new jobs. An OI Partners survey of displaced employees the firm has counseled during the past two years validates the value of providing outplacement career counseling services.
- Six-Fold Improvement In Job-Search Skills: After receiving outplacement assistance, more than six times as many displaced employees reported having excellent or very good job search skills than before they entered the programs. Only 12% of terminated workers rated their job-search skills as excellent or very good before receiving outplacement compared with 78% who ranked their abilities that way afterward – an increase of 650%.
“Terminated employees continue to enter a very challenging job market. Some have not looked for new employment in several years and their job-search skills are rusty or outdated. Other former employees are experiencing their first reductions in force and need additional resources and support to cope with the stress and anxiety,” said Prosser.
Companies can provide outplacement career counseling to departing employees to ease their transition. “Outplacement assistance upholds the morale of workers who remain as well as those who are displaced. It reduces employees’ anxiety and reflects corporate social responsibility,” added Prosser.