Layoffs are generally a response to economic factors that are beyond an employer’s control. They are about the company doing whatever it has to in order to remain profitable in business.
Layoffs can be very traumatic, and sadly they happen all the time. The Kenyan media has been awash with news of organizations retrenching their staff.
However if you can be aware of the fact that your job is at risk it may help to lessen the blow when it does happen. It will also give you the opportunity to start making decisions and looking at your various options.
Watch out for this signs to know whether your employer could be next in line in sending employees home
1. Major technological changes in the industry
Technological innovation is welcome in any Industry since it speaks of efficiencies in service delivery. However by the time the efficiencies are achieved, many souls may have lost their jobs in the exchange program.
Anytime you see a breakout of innovation that affects how your employer does business, then it’s prudent to ask self to what extent will your role and many others be affected.
The digitization of Kenyan media houses, use of mobile money platforms to transfer money and acquire loans from banks, use of ATM machines by banks, advent of internet banking etc all speak toward one thing; Need for new skills and discarding of old inefficient ways of doing business.
2. Major regulatory changes in the industry
Beside the technological changes, the implementation of new regulatory framework in any industry presents both pros and cons. New regulations in the Kenyan insurance, banking sector and many others have meant that business has to be done differently and new rules have to be adhered to.
Some business fail to comply, other merge in order to survive the regulators axe, others just loose clients and what all this means is that employees who have been there will be let go.
Learn to analyse every new regulatory advisory properly and find out what It means to your employer and your job specifically
3. Client relationship break-ups
If you work in a company and the last few months have noticed a perfected trend of your organization breaking up with clients then do not ignore it. This might mean business disaster in the near future.
How many proposals have you or other departments won in the last 6-12 months? How many clients have you lost as a firm due to poor service delivery? How frequent are the senior personnel locking themselves up in meeting rooms do discuss delivery failure of critical client promises? How big is/are the clients you are losing and how influential are they in the market place? Have some of the loses translated to court cases?
Losing clients is a bad sign to any business. Soon your business will have to let you go since there will not be enough work for you to do.
4. Vendors grumbling on non-payments
This can sometime get a bit embarrassing. Ever been to a joint enjoying yourself with friends then you introduce yourself and what you do only for someone to tell you how and pissed they are with your organization for not paying them for services or good delivered 6 months ago.
Whenever you start hearing the murmurs and complaints from suppliers about non-payments then it could be a danger sign that the ship is about to sink and some people will have to be thrown overboard to keep it afloat.
5. Cost cutting becomes the theme
Has the travel policy been revised and travel class downgraded? Did the training budget get kicked out by the boss? Why was the other department unable to go for their planned team building excursion? Have team managers been instructed to stop all lunch hour training sessions and if any, all trainers must be in-house and no sandwiches should be bought?
Has the CEO already sent out a carefully crafted letter thanking staff for the good job done throughout the year but regretting that the organization will not be effecting any salary increase just as yet?
Well those bells are loud enough to tell you are on borrowed time.
6. Freezing on hiring
If you are in an organization where hiring has been frozen indefinitely then you need to be more alert. The workforce inflow and outflow is what keeps the company going. Suspending recruitment means the company is not ready to spend on the new resource and the role.
Certainly someone in house will get additional tasks without an additional reward.
Keep your ear on the ground while dusting your resume. Multi-tasking will be instrumental here.
7. Freezing of major projects
All managers have been summoned and asked to put on hold the projects they have been overseeing till told otherwise. All attempts to convince the leadership or the board that some few critical projects should continue have been met with an emphatic NO response. The company’s coffers could be bleeding and this will soon trickle to your file in HR.
8. Organizational Design consultants coming on board
You read it right. The boss has just sent a mail to all staff informing (and asking for your cooperation) them about the HR consultant who will be working from your offices collecting job information details from everyone or a select few in every department.
Anytime job evaluations are done against a backdrop of other negative business developments, it signifies an organization planning to reduce redundancies through lay-offs.Your exemplary performance might not do you any good at this stage.
9. Bad financial reports
You may not be a trained accountant but you should still be able to read and interpret your company’s financial records especially if it is a public listed entity.
When you realize your company “boasts” of huge liabilities than assets marked by significant losses rather than profits then that could be a bad sign that some individuals may be sacked to arrest the situation in the short run and impress the shareholders.
10. Consistent dip in stock prices
If your employer is a public listed company whose stock value has been nose diving in the face of all economic conditions, then it may be wise to think twice. The stock behavior in the market speaks volumes of the value of the organization and how the market perceives it in the context of investors looking for good returns.
11. Mergers and acquisitions
Has your organization merged with another one to take advantage of certain business dynamics and develop a competitive advantage in the market? This great move presents its own downside in the name of duplicate roles.
Certain individuals considered surplus, will have to be released from the newly formed organization in order to create the much needed operational efficiencies. Who know who those individual could be?
12. Leadership changes
A new CEO has just landed and everyone is optimistic. Not so fast. He was brought to do one and one things alone. Take the business to new heights of profitability in the way he/she knows best.
Regardless of whether you do phenomenal work, new leadership often means a new vision and direction – one that may not include your position or even your department.
New leadership may also mean new organizational structure which may not make sense to you, but it probably helps the company’s spreadsheets balance.
The entry of a new boss, may inevitably herald the exit of certain staff from the organization.
It’s always good to have a head start when layoffs are imminent, and it’s important to remember that it’s always easier to find employment before you become unemployed. So stay alert and be aware of what is going on in your workplace at all times.