Since the third quarter of 2022, the rate of employee layoffs has progressively increased. What started in the tech sector at Google, Facebook and others has now spread to other sectors. Most recently, companies like Disney and FedEx have let staff members go. And they are among hundreds of companies trying to improve their bottom line by cutting human resource costs. As inflationary pressures persist and recession looms, this strategy seems to be more and more common. For this reason, it’s important for individuals to be prepared given such an unstable climate.
When it comes to preparing oneself in today’s labor environments, it pays to have a layoff survival guide in place. Not only should this involve steps to avoid job loss but also efforts that make life after layoff easier. In this regard, an effective layoff survival guide involves three key areas… Preparation, Promotion and Protection. Investing effort in each of these categories can help you minimize or even avoid common challenges in life after layoff. And even if you never experience such a hardship, these recommendations are still encouraged to advance your stock and value.
“Before you freak out and wonder if you’re next, get a sense of how well your business is doing. If the business is staying flat or going down, you might want to start preparing.” – Scott Dobroski, Career Expert at Indeed
Step One – Layoff Preparations
Perhaps the most important aspect of a layoff survival guide involves good preparation. Even the best companies can experience unforeseen circumstances, so it never hurts to prepare for the worst. From an employee perspective, that means constantly developing your skills and abilities. Many employers offer professional development opportunities, and it’s important to take advantage of these. At the same time, updating your resume with these latest skills and abilities on a regular basis is encouraged. Not only does this help you appreciate your worth, but it also diminishes your lag in applying for new positions. Each of these can make life after layoff better.
In addition to these efforts, your layoff survival guide should also include a general awareness of your company’s well-being. How is your company’s stock performing in the marketplace? Has your company been meeting its financial and performance goals? Is it still competitive within the industry? By checking the pulse of your company’s health from time to time, employees can better predict upcoming changes. This may not help life after layoff should that occur. But it might provide a warning that allows you to escape before that happens. In other words, staying informed and ready for change can go a long way.
Step Two – Continuous Self-Promotions
In addition to being prepared for a potential layoff, it’s also important to invest in self-promotion activities. For example, performance reviews are generally conducted regularly, and specific comments are often included in these reviews. Taking the time to document and organize positive comments regarding performance serves a good PR material. At the same time, regularly posting comments and insights on professional sites and forums showcases your abilities to others. These actions along with continuous updates to your LinkedIn account lets employers appreciate your worth.
In addition to these activities, life after layoff can be improved through professional networking as well. It’s easy to network with existing clients and colleagues. However, one should also expand professional networks to include others within the industry. Naturally, one has to be careful about competitors or saying something an existing employer may dislike. However, broadening social contacts and keeping in touch regularly can open a number of future options. This is an essential component of a layoff survival guide that can facilitate speedy professional transitions.
“You should absolutely never put any of your personal data in your work account. You don’t own that data if it goes to your company account.” – Brian Fitzpatrick, Founder of Google’s Data Liberation Front
Step Three – Protect Your Well-Being
The first two steps of a layoff survival guide tend to be more proactive in nature. The third step is more defensive by comparison. This involves making sure one is in a good position should an unexpected layoff occur. One of the most important tasks involves ensuring personal data is separated from work-related information. During the remote work migration, many employees mixed personal and professional activities on work computers and devices. This is risky since any data on a company’s device is fair game for the company and could place one in a very precarious position depending on the type of personal data stored.
In addition to data protections, it’s also important to protect oneself financially for life after layoff. This means putting money away in emergency savings funds to complement severance packages and unemployment. If saving is not an option, it may mean securing loans or equity lines of credit in case of a layoff. It’s always better to gain approval for these when one has a job as opposed to after termination. And as far as health insurance claims and stock options, one should know the grace periods allowed for these filings. These additional endeavors are also important aspects of an effective layoff survival guide.
Staying the Course Amidst the Challenges
Without a doubt, investing in the aforementioned steps can be difficult, especially when faced with losing your job. Contemplating life after layoff can trigger depressing thoughts and lower self-esteem. For this reason, your layoff survival guide should also include some positive affirmations and confidence-builders. Keeping a collection of positive testimonials from clients and praise from a boss can help in this regard. Likewise, developing supportive relationships with colleagues can do the same. These are the things that can help keep you energized and motivated to best prepare, promote and protect yourself. And though you may still lose your job, you’ll be better equipped to weather the storm and emerge unscathed.