Employees of a major technology company recently read about their layoff in the news. What a shock! What do they do? Panic? Hunker Down? Celebrate? Take a vacation?
What can be learned and what can be done? Here are some statements from the company, underlined, along with comments and alternatives:
- The cuts will come before the end of the year – Well that’s peachy! Just before Thanksgiving and the holidays. Questions to ask: Is their function imperative to the immediate success of the business? Can their function be dropped immediately? Are they top performers or just average?
- Layoffs will cut across all departments – That means no one is safe and someone from each department will be cut. Will they be at the top or bottom of the list?
- The cuts will occur in waves – They may be cut first, later, last or not at all
- The company is in the second phase of their transformation plan – What was the first phase? Are there 10 phases or 3? They’ll need more information.
- These moves will ensure we have the right people in the right roles – What a dumb thing to say! This means they’ve had the wrong people in the wrong roles all along
- The company will look into strategic alternatives to preserve the future – This means they’re trying to sell the pieces to someone else. This could be good for some employees.
What can be done?
Employees will need to assess the risk / reward equation. If they’re very quick into the marketplace they may get a jump on the available openings in their field of competence. The other option is to wait and see how they’re affected: Will they be cut at all? What’s the “deal” for severance? What kind of company is potentially buying their group? Will it be a positive?
Employees should contact managers or executives with whom they have worked in the past. Past managers will know the quality of their work and may be looking for someone with their skills. If not, they may know where the opportunities are since they have recently changed jobs and have a good sense of the marketplace and competitors.
Employees need to look at their situation as an opportunity to leverage skills, knowledge and ability at an accelerated pace toward their career goals. As a free agent, they can now put together an open search rather than a quiet search strategy, while being paid at the same time, as a remaining employee or during a severance period.
If you find yourself in a potential layoff position or your not sure about the viability of your current situation, please contact me and we can discuss some alternatives and strategies for you to consider.
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