Although you can’t do anything to stop your company from downsizing and letting staff go there are some things you can do to improve your odds of not being on their redundancy list should it come around.
- At the very least, be good at what you do. Deliver on time, keep promises, beat budgets. Companies regularly rank their employees by results even if you aren’t aware of it. The top 10% are the ‘stars’ to be looked after at all costs. The middle 80% are the regular workforce and if you’re in this larger category you need to aim to be closer to the top end. The bottom 10% are deemed to be disposable and are the first to be engineered out. Performance-oriented companies don’t wait for a downturn and regularly undertake a ‘forced ranking’ where the bottom 10% are let go.
- Keep your sick leave to a minimum. Obviously if you are ill, you need to stay at home but don’t bunk off if you feel just slightly under par. Employees with high absence records tend to find their way onto the redundancy list.
- Make sure you have a good or exceptional working relationship with your direct boss who; a) likes you b) values your contribution c) can’t do without you.
- Set yourself stretching goals. Don’t be happy with the status quo but aim higher and let your manager know what you’re about. Show your enthusiasm for beating your last major achievement.
- Make sure the right people know of your achievements - being a quiet achiever is not what you are going for here. Each month update a list of what you have achieved and pick up on opportunities to discuss this with relevant managers in a way that is natural and not boastful. This is also good practice for reviews, promotion discussions and resumes.
- Appear positive, enthusiastic and flexible. No grumbling or ‘that’s not my job’. When volunteers are sought for new projects or initiatives make sure you put yourself forward.
- Be creative. This is a great way to get noticed. Come up with new ideas or new opportunities that show you are thinking about how your product and the company can perform better.
- Watch who you gossip with or better still, don’t gossip at all. Absolutely do not denigrate your seniors or other people’s seniors. And do not complain about or denigrate past employers. Anyone seen as a trouble maker has a tendency to end up on the redundancy list.
- Make yourself unique, not just doing the same duties as someone else, otherwise you risk redundancy cutbacks due to duplication.
- If you see real danger of lay-off – consider volunteering for shorter hours and/or a pay cut. Less money may hurt, but it will hurt a lot less than no money at all. Volunteering will also identify you as someone who understands the company's difficulties and who wants to help.
If you still find yourself redundant make your exit as graceful as possible taking as many good references with you as possible. Leave the door open for you to be re-hired when the good times come round again - and make sure your resume is up to scratch!
For more information or help
See our Career Planning Coaching page, email us or give us a call on 1300 97 87 66. We will be pleased to help.