When you hear that your company is downsizing, it’s natural to feel a sense of panic. After all, a layoff can mean losing your job and your livelihood.
But don’t despair—there are things you can do to protect yourself from a layoff. Taking proactive steps can increase your chances of keeping your job even if the worst happens.
10 Tips to Help You Weather a Corporate Downsizing
1. Keep a Positive Attitude
It may be difficult, but try to keep things in perspective. When layoffs are looming, keeping a positive attitude is more important than ever. Plus, being the negative one at work is never a good idea. Not only does it make you less productive, but it can also damage relationships with your colleagues.
Gossiping about impending layoffs will only worsen the situation and could even get you fired. So, instead of spreading rumors and negativity, be the one who brings people together. Offer support to your colleagues, and help to create a positive working environment.
2. Stay Focused on Your Work Goals
It’s natural to feel worried about a possible layoff, especially if you’ve seen coworkers getting let go. However, staying focused on your job and not letting fear get in the way of your work is more essential than ever before.
Your boss will likely notice if your performance starts slipping, putting you at greater risk of being the next out the door. Instead, try to stay calm and focused, and do your best to beat your deadlines with exceptional work.
This is the time to go above and beyond in the quality of your work. Ensure that everything that leaves your desk is polished. Showing that you’re a valuable employee will make it more likely that you’ll be able to keep your position during a downsizing. Don’t let the fear of a layoff get in the way of doing your job well.
3. Be Flexible
During tough times, companies may need to make changes quickly. Be prepared to be adaptable and take on new responsibilities if necessary.
Consider acting as if you’re in a short-term contract or internship. If you were trying to land a job, you’d most likely be willing to let go of some ego or adapt to new things.
As companies are restructuring, managers are in a constant state of consideration. How you adapt to change and take on new roles matters now more than ever.
4. Put Your Best Foot Forward Every Day
Tying into that tip, ensure that your managers see you as someone who takes their job seriously.
Rather than give into familiarity and push the envelope on the dress code, ensure you’re dressing for success. And if you weren’t already, now is the time to show up five minutes early and always be prepared for meetings.
5. Offer Solutions
Have you noticed areas where teamwork could be streamlined to create more time, cost savings, or a more efficient process? Don’t be afraid to speak up and offer unique insights. It would be excellent to be seen as an innovative thought leader.
And that might be precisely what upper leaders are looking for in the team that will remain on and help build the company’s new vision.
6. Be a Team Player
Now is not the time to put your own interests first—work collaboratively with others to get through this tough time. That will be in the company’s best interests and will help you to stand out in a positive way to your managers.
If you have a coworker that is especially challenging, try to remember that they are probably experiencing the same worries that you are. Don’t allow situations to escalate. Instead, find constructive ways to communicate more effectively and highlight your leadership skills.
7. Keep Your Skills Up to Date
Ensure you’re keeping your skills sharp and keeping up with industry trends. Now is an excellent time to consider how you can add more experience and knowledge to benefit your career and the company.
Not only will this set you up for success if you are laid off, but it will make you more beneficial in the eyes of management.
8. Focus on Networking
Your professional network can be a valuable resource when you are concerned about your job security. Not only can it give you an advantage in the job market if you are laid off, but it will also help you to be seen as an industry expert.
This is especially true if you are part of any networking groups that members of management are also involved in. When you add thoughtful and relevant insights to industry conversations they may encounter, it will reinforce that you are a valuable asset to the team.
9. Check In With Your Career Plan
For several reasons, now is an excellent time to check in on your progress toward your career goals.
For one, as you’re assessing your development and career goals, you might notice where you have some gaps to fill that might otherwise harm your ability to make the cut.
But also, taking some time to assess your career plan can help you put your current job in perspective. Even though getting laid off is never on anyone’s to-do list, taking time to reflect on where you are can help remind you that this job is just one in a long career.
This might be an excellent time to focus on various goals you’ve let slide, such as working remotely so you can travel or creating a better work-life balance with a flexible schedule.
You’ll also be able to start updating your resume to reflect the skills and experiences you’ve acquired during your time at this job and focus it on the next step on your journey.
10. Assess Your Finances
If you were offered a pay cut to keep your job or a different role, could you afford to accept it? What about savings to help soften the blow if you are laid off? What’s the minimum salary you need? Are you looking for a step up in responsibility and compensation?
You should take the time to answer these questions by getting a firm grasp on where you stand financially. That way, you’ll be able to give a confident answer in any scenario.
Seek Professional Help
Layoffs can be high-anxiety situations, but you can use these tips to help you make the cut. If you’re having trouble updating your resume or planning out your next career move, now is an excellent time to find a mentor or professional career counselor.
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