Staff redundancy is a common procedure for any company, which is carried out not only during crises to save resources, but also during expansion to bring fresh energy and ideas into the company.
You don't need to treat this as some kind of disaster or stigma. Sometimes this is a necessary action, which I once had to perform when Lectera entered foreign markets. After all, you must reconsider your resources when scaling - from temporary to human ones. It means that every fifth specialist becomes a victim of lay-off at least once in their life. It should be said that it is best avoided, if possible!
As the CEO of Lectera and founder of several startups, I will share with you my experience in this rather unpleasant situation. Namely, I will tell you how to distinguish real threats of being fired from overthinking and, most importantly, make sure that your boss always sees you as an important asset to the team.
Signs that you are about to be laid-off
People tend to overthink and become all worked up, and I am no exception. At the start of my career, I jumped every time the phone rang, and, picking up the phone, I was afraid to hear the dreadful "Sorry, but we need to downsize our workforce." However, after gaining experience, mastering new skills and successfully completing numerous projects, I realised that I had nothing to be scared of. Truth be told, every time you are scared and expect to be laid off, no one really wants to fire you. Actually, this never comes as a surprise, since certain signs always precede the downsizing.
Sign 1. The company representatives are talking about some changes
This is a fairly broad sign that does not always become a reason for dismissing employees. Nevertheless, if it suddenly looms large on the horizon, be on the lookout! After all, it is when structural changes begin to occur within the company, the policy or corporate culture changes, new markets and directions are mastered, that the management begins to think about changing the team while they are at it.
Sign 2. You are assigned fewer tasks
If earlier you had a say in some decisions or constantly helped with certain questions, and sometimes you could not leave for lunch being too busy, and now suddenly you are left alone - you should be on the alert. The reduction in the number of projects and requirements for an employee indicates that the employee's competencies are no longer relevant for the company, and it doesn't need them as much as before. In fine, an irrelevant employee is a useless employee.
Sign 3. Your superiors and colleagues started to treat you differently
Previously, you often had a heart-to-heart talk with your boss over a cup of coffee at lunch, but now he avoids you and doesn't even make eye contact? Or perhaps he started to constantly reprimand you for mistakes, although they can be hardly called so? Or maybe your colleagues began to whisper behind your back, cast you side looks, and smoothly crash your ideas to launch a new project or arrange a corporate party? Pay attention to what people say to you, noticing their body language. If your gut tells you that something is wrong, take a closer look at your surroundings - perhaps your instincts are right.
Sign 4. You were assigned a mentee
This is a rather controversial sign, but I think it still deserves to be mentioned. Sometimes we are assigned the role of a senior as a test before being promoted, so that we know what it is like to be a leader for someone. At the same time, we should also prepare a successor. However, in some cases, "mentoring" ends poorly for the mentor. You may be telling the newbie all the ins and outs of your job so that they can replace you. Think about why this might be the case. This sign, if occurred, is always justified, for example, as a result of conflicts.
Sign 5. You are asked to do the impossible
If you suddenly feel like the protagonist of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, then perhaps the management is trying to get rid of you in this way. Meaning, if you can't do it, they will find fault with your performance, reduce everything to your shortcomings and introduce it as the reason for your dismissal.
So, in short, these are the main signs that your work raises some doubts among the management or you may be laid-off soon. However, I would like to once again focus your attention on the word "may". Sometimes, the most seemingly experienced, loyal and competent specialists get fired. There is no bulletproof way to become 100% indispensable for your company, but you can reach that 99% mark!
How to become an indispensable employee and stop being afraid of getting fired
I never fire the next five types of employees from my team. If you belong to at least one of them, you can stop worrying about your career:
The face of the company
This is an employee who is always sent on all important business trips and to all conferences with business events. When looking at them, it becomes clear: the ocompany they work for is clearly very professional. Typically, such employees have exemplary public speaking skills, emotional intelligence and networking skills. This employee knows how to deal with the media, secretaries and difficult clients or partners, how to answer provocative questions and resolve any conflict. They are always dressed smart, look friendly and make the best first impression. No one wants to get rid of such specialists - who will represent the company then?
The team leader
Every team needs someone to follow, who can coordinate disparate professionals and turn them into a single cohesive mechanism. Remove such a link, and the whole team will crumble like a house of cards. Thus, if you can take responsibility, find solutions in difficult situations and lead people, motivating them to produce a stable overall result, you will never be laid-off. I certainly would not forgive myself for losing such an asset!
The loyal companion
Each leader needs trusted people in the team, to whom they can turn for help and delegate part of their duties. Such a work companion is a kind of personal but impermanent assistant who can be relied upon. After all, there are no brave knights without loyal squires.
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The perpetual student
If you are ready to learn 24/7, constantly upgrade new skills, attend educational courses and offer them to colleagues, as well as introduce new tools and trends into the life of the company, then you are in. Today, there is a huge demand for employees with the lifelong learning mindset in the labour market! Such employees are always relevant, in demand, and meet the challenges of the time, therefore they are the foundation of any successful business.
The all-business perfectionist
Let me tell you right away that this type of employee is indispensable only when perfectionism comes along with workaholism. No employer needs an employee who constantly works but brings no results or always makes mistakes. Yet, if you are ready to stay late at the office, pick up urgent tasks half an hour before the deadline and always focus on your work tasks, this is your chance to stay in the company. Moreover, you will build a brilliant career in it!
As you can see, this list does not include average employees, working depending on their mood and devoid of the desire to make their company even cooler and richer. Unfortunately, such employees are now the majority, which is why they are the very first to fall under the wave of lay-offs. So, if you are motivated, involved in the life of your brand, aware of the need to continuously develop your professionalism and bring real measurable results to the company, you have absolutely nothing to fear. You are in your place, and it will remain yours as long as you want it to be. And even if something goes wrong, don't worry - you won't stay unemployed for long, as any company will be lucky to have you!