The key to avoiding a layoff is increasing your value to your organization. One way to do this is by shifting out of positions that cost the company money and into positions that instead make the company money.
Revenue trumps all, which means the last people to get laid off are those who bring money to the company. To be safe, migrate toward the sales department or a sales-based role such as a cloud architect, enterprise architect, solution architect, sales engineer, or any position that could increase the company’s overall revenue. This can keep you safely employed in a down economy.
Related: Check out our list of sales job descriptions and decide on the best fit for you.
What can you do if you are not a part of the sales team? Regardless of your job position, be likable. Those who are not socially connected are typically the first to get laid off when staff cuts happen. Work on your attitude, your energy, and your enthusiasm. Show the hiring manager that you care about their team, the people on that team, and the people in their company.
Another way to avoid a potential layoff is by volunteering to be a part of bigger company projects, especially the difficult, high-profile projects that no one else wants to be involved with. Why? If you are working on a big project when layoffs must be made, management most likely will not want to lose your contribution to the project. If it is a critical project and you are a key contributor, they will not be able to afford laying you off.
This may sound counterintuitive, but if you have a special skill, teach others that skill. You might think that keeping the skill in your head provides you with job security, but the exact opposite is true. If you show your employer that you are someone who is willing to teach, coach, and bring out the best in others, then you will be perceived as someone who can help rebuild the team when the economy gets better. Sharing your skills increases your value.
If a layoff takes place and you still have your job, do not engage in any gossip that takes place in the aftermath. Do not commiserate; that is the kind of behavior that destroys morale, and the people who engage in it are often the next to go.
Overall, show your employer that you are among the best and brightest that the company has to offer. Improve and employ your leadership skills. Make it clear to your manager that you are willing to do anything to help the company achieve its goals, and let them see that you are hungry to work.
If you do get laid off, take the time to retool yourself to become the type of employee that another company will hire. Improve your executive presence, your emotional intelligence, your leadership skills, your sales skills, your business acumen, and the key skills related to the position you are seeking. Even in a down economy, there are plenty of companies who are looking to hire great people with these skills. Why? Because a down economy often provides opportunities for both restructuring and obtaining talent at a more affordable rate.
Employers want to do more than survive in a down economy. They want to come out on the other side stronger by taking care of the employees they have, helping great employees to shift to new positions, and hiring new employees to economically fill critical positions. For employees, that means taking whatever steps are necessary to be viewed as invaluable.