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4 Strategies to Dodge the Next Company Layoff


4 Strategies to Dodge the Next Company Layoff



Let’s talk about the elephant in the company meeting room – layoffs.


I remember what it feels like to be going about your job when you slowly but surely hear whispers. Then the whispers turn into rumors with supposed dates and timelines and guesses about who’s on the chopping block this round. Then the rumors become truth, and lives are changed forever.


I remember the worry that begins to creep in when the whispers begin and the full-fledged anxiety that firmly plants itself in your chest once the whispers mature into more detail-based rumors. I remember the dread when you heard how so-and-so’s manager started putting one-on-one meetings on the calendar with each of the team members.


And I remember feeling terrible for those who were affected, and, if we’re being honest, the guilty relief that creeps in each time you’re not among them.


The experience is different when you’re impacted versus when you’re not, however, the entire process is an emotional rollercoaster for everyone. And, although you can’t 100% control whether or not you’re going to be affected by the next round of layoffs, I believe there are certain things you can do to tilt the odds in your favor.


1) SET MEASURABLE GOALS WITH YOUR BOSS THAT ALIGN


Sometimes companies indeed lay off entire teams and departments, but they also can use a large layoff as an opportunity to let go of low performers or even average performers to make space for more high-performing employees.


So, what do you NOT want to be? A low or average performer.


Now, if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re pretty ambitious and you probably don’t fall into either of those categories… however, it’s important that you can prove it - and here’s what I mean.


You can be KILLING IT at work, but if no one knows, and if you can’t prove it, it doesn’t matter.


That’s why it’s CRITICAL to set measurable goals with your boss that align with company goals.


For example, let’s say you’re responsible for social media marketing and your company has a goal to generate more leads to pass to sales. Instead of setting a generic goal like “Produce more leads for sales,” get very specific on how many YOU want to try to generate.


Look at old metrics… how many leads came from your social media marketing last quarter? Can you do it again, or even increase it by 10%? If so, set a goal like “Increase the leads generated by social media marketing by 10% this quarter”


That way, when you hit your goal, it’s EXTREMELY CLEAR that you did, and it is EXTREMELY CLEAR how it lines up with what the company overall is trying to do.


And if you didn’t hit your goal, look into exactly why, and create a detailed plan on what you will do to perform better.


2) HAVE QUARTERLY REVIEWS WITH YOUR BOSS


Here’s why this matters: again, you could be killing it at work, but if no one knows, that doesn’t help you.


Even if you set measurable goals with your manager, you need to make sure s/he knows when you hit them. And the best way to do that? In a regular, dedicated quarterly review with your boss.


If you have regular meetings with your manager, that’s great. But I still recommend setting up a SEPARATE call for your quarterly reviews… it needs to feel different and more special than what you normally do with your boss. That way, their attention is piqued because it’s something out of the ordinary… which it is!


This is a time when you share your WINS so they KNOW 100% without a doubt what a great job you’re doing. And, again, for any goals that you miss, this is your chance to take responsibility, and to show them why you think you missed the mark, and your exact plan for how to rectify it. 


This positions you not only as a high performer but also as someone with integrity who is proactive… the kind of person a company wants to keep around.


In Episode 39, I share more on The Anatomy of the Quarterly Review with Your Boss so if you’d like more information on the process surrounding that.


3) BE A MODEL EMPLOYEE


And I’m not just talking about hitting goals. I’m talking about being the kind of teammate other people enjoy working with - a team player.


Want to know a super fast way to be laid off? Gain a reputation as being someone others don’t like working with and I can all but guarantee you, if the opportunity comes to let you go, they will. If you’re creating a negative environment for others, I have no doubt you’ll find yourself on the chopping block soon enough.


Outside of being a team player, here are some other qualities of a model employee you can adopt. First, be honest and have integrity. Honesty is always the best policy and it’s something that will get you noticed by managers - even if what you have to share doesn’t feel like the best news.


By telling the truth, you save people time, create an environment where you can course-correct quickly, save the company money, and being known as someone who will be honest no matter what, even when it’s hard, is something that will gain you the attention of higher-up’s and, more importantly, their respect.


Next, don’t forget to treat your boss like a human. How you go about this will depend on the type of manager you have because if they tend to be ultra-professional it may not work, but I encourage you still to try and what I mean is to try to get to know them a bit more regarding aspects OUTSIDE of work.


Ask them about their families, learn their kids’ names, their pets’ names, or their hobbies. Asking them about things they care about will help you create a closer relationship with your boss beyond just work; it will help you foster connections that will likely help you succeed and, if we’re being honest, may help you avoid getting let go. Managers are human, and they’re less likely to let someone go that they actually like.


And last: over-communicate with your manager. They would rather have too much information than not enough. Remember to keep your updates succinct, focused, and of value; if they’re managers, they’re probably super busy so keep your updates short, and make sure they align with things your manager cares about (ideally, your progress on the goals you have set with them for the quarter).



4) KEEP YOUR MANAGER HAPPY


Your manager is your direct line to the people above them who are making key decisions like who will get laid off and who won’t, so I’d venture to say it’s in your best interest to keep your boss as happy as possible… even if that means putting your pride aside.


Listen, I’ve had managers that I wasn’t crazy about. They’ll talk about this and that and puff themselves up with importance. With these managers, I often rolled my eyes when my camera was off.


But do you want to know what I did whenever I spoke to them 1:1 or when I talked to others about them?


I would sing their praises.


I would empathize with them when they were venting. I would tell them how great they were when they said others didn’t think so. I would tell others all the good things about them, and none of the bad things.


And maybe you’re reading this thinking, “Wow, what a sellout, she has no spine,” and that’s okay if you think that.


But you know what? I’ve never been laid off. And I think a big part of that could be that I made it a point to get my managers to like me by trying my hardest to focus on the good things about them and not the bad. 


Remember what I said before: bosses are humans, too. And they’re going to be a lot less likely to get rid of someone that they like and one way to get them to like you is to keep them happy.


And, look, I’m not saying if you disagree with your boss not to tell them; again, honesty is the best policy, and, if you make it a point to get them to like you, then they probably value your input and feedback, even if it differs from theirs - at least that was my experience. And I’m certainly not saying if your manager does something inappropriate or something horrible like that not to take it to HR.


I’m talking about normal daily life interactions. Let them talk themselves up and feel important, even if it annoys you. Shoot, feed into it. Everyone likes to feel important. And never, ever badmouth them to others. Why? Because it will help YOU reach YOUR goals.


So, keep them happy. Think about what matters to them and how you can help them achieve their goals and, as a byproduct, I’d be willing to bet you’ll achieve yours, as well.


THE BIG PICTURE ABOUT LAYOFFS


Unfortunately, there may come a time in the future when you’re simply on the wrong team or department at the wrong time, and your position might vanish without warning. And for many, that’s life-changing in the worst way possible.


But, in that specific scenario, that is entirely outside of your control. You can’t tell the future and you’re probably not in the board meetings where they’re discussing which teams they’re going to dissolve so you don’t have any heads up on when you might need to make a move.


But what you CAN do is control yourself. You can take everything you learned today and implement it. You can set specific goals with your manager, schedule dedicated quarterly reviews, be a model employee, and try to keep your boss happy.


And in these ways you can position yourself as a true asset to the company by producing PROVEN results, gaining a reputation as a decent human and an employee with integrity, and focusing on the goals that matter to your manager (and their manager, and their manager, and so on…).


NEXT STEPS


I remember what it was like to work in corporate - and especially in tech - where every year you knew another round of layoffs was coming. I remember one company I worked for used to do their layoffs right before Christmas every year which made the entire holiday season and the weeks leading up to the holidays extra stressful for everyone, but especially upsetting for those affected.


And every single year I worried that I'd be affected by layoffs. But the MOMENT I hit my Emergency Fund goal and I KNEW I could survive without a paycheck for 3-6 months, I stopped caring about layoffs altogether because I knew I'd be financially okay for a full 1-2 quarters.


It’s like this magical weight was lifted off my shoulders and it not only made layoff time less stressful, but every single day of work was less stressful because I KNEW I would be okay if I lost my job with no notice.


If you don’t have an emergency fund of 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses, I highly recommend making that a priority TODAY. And if you need help getting started, I’ve got you covered.


You can use my free printable fill-in-the-blank budget template as a single place to write down all of your expenses to see what it costs you to live for one month. Once you know that, you simply multiply that number by 3 to 6 depending on how much of a runway you want to give yourself, and voila! That’s your Emergency Fund target.


The template will also tell you how much money you have left over each month after paying all your expenses, so you’ll have a general idea of how much you can put toward your Emergency Fund each month.


For me, using the template to guide my spending and saving decisions made it much easier for me to quickly build up an Emergency Fund of 3-6 months' worth of my living expenses... and I cannot tell you the amount of stress this lifted off my shoulders - especially when it came to annual layoffs because even if it took a couple of months for me to find a new job, I knew I could find something within 3-6 months.


And having the Emergency Fund, based on the information from the budget template, was key.


Remember, nothing changes without action, so if you’re worried about layoffs, it’s time to do something about it… whether you implement one of these strategies or all of them, decide what you’re going to do, and get to it. You’ve got this!


 

GET YOUR EPISODE RESOURCES!



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