Retrenchments are sadly part and parcel of any fast-paced international industry. Lay-offs are usually not personal and not a reflection of the quality of your work. Most of the time there is little you, as an employee, can do to avoid retrenchment. But you may give the followings a go to try dodging the job cut bullet.
1. Add Value
As mentioned, retrenchments are usually not personal. It’s not you, it’s the role. So if you fear your role is shrinking in importance, work out ways that you can add value within the organization. Consider your current role and come up with a few ideas of things you could start doing that could increase productivity or help the company as a whole to gain more market share, cut costs or increase profits. Present these ideas to the boss and make sure that if these strategies are successful that they are noticed.
2. Stay visible
If a retrenchment has to be made then make sure your dedication to the company is noticed. Arriving at work a minute or two before your boss is a worthwhile strategy for staying visible. Even if you just to arrive 5 minutes early, it leaves a great impression. The assumption will be made that you’ve been working hard, enjoying the work and are loyal to the company. Of course the actual amount of time you put into work isn’t always directly related to your output, but sometimes the time you put into a job becomes the de facto standard to measure how much you are doing.
3. Head down, bum up
Don’t get involved in office politics. Gossip can only harm you in the long run. Most gossip is just going to waste everyone’s time. There may be some benefit in keeping track of people’s moods and events that will impact jobs. For example, if one of your co-workers is fed up and getting ready to quit, it might not be bad to know that ahead of time. You could start subtly positioning yourself for that role. But you definitely don’t want to be the person sharing this sort of information. Gossiping will make people less likely to trust you in the future and is not an indication of leadership potential.
4. Share information freely
People often try to increase their own importance by keeping information to themselves. Don’t think you’ll get away with it. This short-sighted strategy will make people dislike and distrust you. Rather aim to be the person in the office that everyone can come to for information on everything from how a program works to where the stapler is. Don’t overplay your own importance by appearing “too busy” to help others.
5. Make other people look good
Helping other people look good won’t hurt you in return; instead it will produce a ‘halo’ effect around you. People who you’ve gone out of your way to help promote are more likely to give you credit for your work and help you when you need it. Remember that what you give out you generally get back. So give credit when it’s due. If your boss compliments you on a report you did and one of your co-workers helped, go ahead and tell your boss that your co-worker was a great help. Then tell your co-worker, “I told the boss that the report wouldn’t have been nearly as good without your input.”
Sometimes there will be nothing you could have done to avoid a retrenchment. If it does happen to you don’t let it get you down: back yourself, stay confident and open to new opportunities. Approach your ‘time-off’ with a strong strategy of networking, job-searching, learning new skills or even taking a vacation; knowing there was nothing you could have done to avoid your current situation.