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Who Survives Layoffs

November 17th, 2008 · 5 Comments

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Layoffs are coming fast and furious. The employees of Citigroup got absolutely clobbered today.

Who survives when jobs are on the chopping block? Let me use a car salesman(person) analogy here.

Let’s imagine you are the owner of a car dealership. A recession is in full swing. No one is buying cars. (And let’s leave aside the notion that your supplier of cars might be bankrupt by the new year.)

Ok, Mr. Owner, your workforce is largely salespersons, with the occasional accountant, secretary and a few management types.

Times are going to be tough for the foreseeable future. You’re gonna have to cut some people. But the question is, who is safe? Who are the people you are absolutely going to keep on the job?

They fall into 3 categories:

1) The Superstar Earner
In lean times, you’re not gonna kill the golden geese. In fact, you’re going to lean on them all the more to get you through the badness. You’re going to encourage them, pamper them, maybe even offer them raises because you know how valuable to you they are right now.
2) The Innovator
Maybe in this tough time what your business needs to do is think outside the box. If plugging away at what you’ve always done no longer gets results, then it’s time to try new things. As the owner, you’re going to keep around the folks with ideas. You’re going to maybe give a chance to those people that have crazy new ways of doing business, new contacts, new ways of branching out and making money.
3) The Cost Cutter
Maybe now is NOT the time you fire the secretary and answer the phones yourself. Right now, you’re trimming costs, right? That’s why you’re laying people off to begin with. But if you can identify employees who know how to trim the fat, it would pay you to keep them on. So if that secretary is good at trimming office supply costs, finding a new, cheaper phone system, or negotiating better advertising rates, you’d be a fool to fire her.

What is the overall lesson here?

If your job is on the line, you want to identify yourself as one of these three key types of people. It might not make your job 100% secure, but it does increase your chances of being safe if your boss can brand you as the type of worker that will help him survive the rough patch and keep his or her own job.

PS, further thought: If you’re trying to get hired during these tough times, it would also behoove you to try to convince the hiring manager that you have some of these three qualities. The only people likely to be hired right now are people that can help an organization rise out of the tough times quicker. They don’t care how you do it… make more money, find new ways of making money, or save money. But if bringing you on can accomplish some of those three things, you’d be surprised the job opportunities that open up.

Related posts:

  1. What To Do If You Survive Layoffs
  2. The Euphemistic Language of Layoffs
  3. How To Save Your Job- How To Know When Layoffs Are Coming
  4. 8 Sure Signs Layoffs Are Coming
  5. Community Service Post: Citigroup and Layoffs
  6. Yahoo Layoffs Update

Tags: Getting Ahead · Layoff Rumors

  • CK

    Here is what I see what the issues are where I work.

    Superstar – This is ussually the who kisses read the best! I think some even use a little tongue!

    Innovator – No time for inovation! That cost time and money and we are trying to cut costs! No ‘out-side-the-box’ thinking! Now get back to work!

    Cost Cutter – Let’s see who gets paid the most/least. Then we will cut the more exspensive ones (senior staff) and keep all the low-wage earners! Heck, if you can cut enough you might bet that big bonu$!

  • Brian

    Can’t say that I disagree with your assessment either. It’s pessimistic where mine was optimistic, but no less true. I guess it depends on the situation. As a boss who has faced tough times before, the 3 examples I gave would be who I would look for in tough times. But shoot, I’d look for those same people in good times as well.

  • Ruth

    I have to agree with CK. That assessment is more along the lines of what kind of “worker” was left after the layoff that I was cut in. The slackers, the kissers and the low-wage earners kept their jobs. It would be nice to actually have some company appreciate hard work, loyalty, creativity and honesty.

  • CK

    Thanks Ruth!

    What most companies don’t realize (or don’t care) is that these companies are only setting themselves up for failure.

    Innovation – When things so south is the BEST time to innovate! Why? Because chances are that is the one thing companies are going to cut back on – that and training. When the economy turns up the company will be in a better position then it was before and ahead of the competition!

    As to training, it helps keep the employees up to date and competitive in the market place. Whne many companies start cutting training, technology keeps marching on – leaving those behind. With training, the company will be keeping pace and out for a better outcome. Also it is a better benefit for the employees when most are making cuts in that area.

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